CW: loss of a child
In November last year, the Boshammer family lost their baby daughter Zara to an extremely rare chromosomal condition called Pallister Killian Syndrome. It’s in her memory that Kate and Justin have worked to raise $150,000 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Qld Division) and the Steve Waugh Foundation.
Kate and Justin, hailing from cattle properties in Dungog and Chinchilla respectively, met 15 years ago through the Angus Youth program.
So it should come as no surprise that, the two soon started their own beef business, JK Cattle Company, based near Condamine in Queensland’s Western Downs.
Initially, they spent years leasing country before they became established enough to buy their own properties, and the work this took is something they both can appreciate.
“We’ve had to lease properties to get to where we are and we’ve had lots of ‘nos’ through the whole process,” said Justin, “but generally speaking, if our values are aligned, you can get to a win-win sort of agreement because your values are similar.”
“Don’t get me wrong, there’s challenges and it can’t be just all written down, you actually have to execute on what you promise.”
“If you can figure out what gets you out of bed in the morning, just what really drives you, what you really can not stop thinking of, that’s a really cool place to get to,” said Justin.
“But also know that there are long days where you just feel like you’re not going anywhere. But you’re still making progress.”
By 2020, the Boshammers were well established within Queensland’s beef scene and proud parents of a little boy, Theo, but the birth of their second child sent their lives in a direction neither anticipated.
On the fourth of April, Zara Hilary Boshammer was born with a condition that doctors were unable to diagnose.
“She spent the first three weeks of her life in a special care nursery in Toowoomba nd then the following three to four months we were travelling to Brisbane every week for medical appointments and procedures and therapy at Queensland Children’s Hospital,” Kate said.
“It was a really tough time and we were exploring different diagnoses for her and there was never a point where we had all of the information or had any answers.”
After four months, Zara was finally diagnosed with Pallister Killian Syndrome, an extremely rare and severe chromosomal condition with no known cause or cure. The family was heartbroken.
“When we finally did come home from a long hospital stay we did have amazing quality time with Zara and and we had come to acceptance and her medical treatments had slowed down a lot so we could just enjoy a little bit more normality as a family, being at home and on the farm and in the garden.”
“It was the new normal with adjustments and different ways of looking after your baby but we had accepted, and I guess surrendered, to knowing that there are a lot of unknowns, but this was to be her life and is to be our lives.”
At just seven months old, Zara passed away.
In the days following, Kate and Justin spoke about wanting to create a legacy for their lost daughter, they began organising Zara’s Day as an afternoon in their garden after the funeral where they hosted over 200 people and held a raffle and silent auctions with the help of the community.
This day, in combination with their online donations page, allowed the Boshammer family to raise $150,000, which they put towards the Queensland Royal Flying Doctors Service and the Steve Waugh Foundation that supports children and families who are affected by rare disease.
They also used the money to fund two high flow oxygen facilities for their local hospital, where previously there were none available.
Today, the couple work hard to find meaning in their loss.
This November will be the first anniversary of Zara’s death and Kate and Justin are again hosting Zara’s Day via an online raffle and auction.
The raffle, which is open now until 14th of November, is raising funds for the Royal Flying Doctors Service, while the auction raising funds for the Steve Waugh Foundation is open from the 29th of October to the 7th of November.
Please visit www.zarasday.com.au for more information on how you can support Zara’s Day this year.