Kaileigh Fryer’s bucket list helps Batemans Bay deal with tragedy

WHEN Kaileigh Fryer’s life was cut short in a Sydney car crash, she left behind a home town stricken with grief.

FITTING TRIBUTE: Michelle and Stacey Fryer, mother and sister of the late Kaileigh Fryer.

FITTING TRIBUTE: Michelle and Stacey Fryer, mother and sister of the late Kaileigh Fryer.

But the discovery of Kaileigh’s “bucket list” of unfilled dreams has galvanised the community, giving her family and friends a new sense of purpose to carry out the last wishes of a young woman taken too soon.

The teen died in a car accident on April 9 – just over a month shy of her 20th birthday. Kaileigh was the passenger in a car that crashed at Terrey Hills in Sydney, where she had been studying and working.

Sister Stacey said none of the family knew Kaileigh had a bucket list, but found it in her journal when they collected her belongings.

They had it copied and handed it out at Kaileigh’s funeral on April 22 and, ever since, friends and family have been doing their best to tick off the goals in her honour.

Donating blood, volunteering overseas, restoring a vintage car, planting a tree and eating pizza in Italy are a few items on the list, which paints a picture of a generous and determined young woman.

“She was an amazing person and her bucket list shows that,” Kaileigh’s mother Michelle said.

“After the funeral, they had a record number of people donate blood when the blood bank was in town.”

Number 50 on the list was left blank and Kaileigh’s father David told those gathered to do what they thought was appropriate.

“He said ‘don’t think about what Kaileigh would want to do, but what Kaileigh would want you to do’,” Michelle said.

Stacey is carrying out some of the bucket list herself, including learning Spanish.

“Kaileigh was a dancer and red lipstick was her trademark,” she said. “I’m also going to complete a nursing degree for Kaileigh.”

Belinda Parrish-Law, whose daughters Jessica and Rebecca were friends with Kaileigh, picked number 21 on the list – waking up before 6am for two weeks.

She’s been getting up early and, to prove it, taking and posting panoramic beach photos on a Facebook page set up in memory of Kaileigh and her bucket list.

“Kaileigh was a lovely girl who you loved having around,” Ms Parrish-Law said.

“She lit up a room. She was a beautiful girl who was always smiling and had a great love for life.

“As a mother it is so hard to think about her family losing her.”

Michelle, David, Stacey and the rest of the family, including Kaileigh’s other sisters Courtney and Christie, have been heartened by how much support they have received from the Batemans Bay community.

“I would really like to thank people in town for the support we have received,” Michelle said.

“The depth of generosity and kindness has been amazing.”

If you want to be part of Kaileigh’s bucket list campaign, head to the Facebook page In Memory of Kaileigh Fryer.

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