SUPPORT from all corners of the Ballarat community is helping John and Denise Siermans through the darkest time of their lives.
As tomorrow marks the first anniversary of the murder of their only daughter Sharon, the Siermans want to acknowledge the emotional and financial support from not only their family and friends, but also from complete strangers.
The murder of Ms Siermans, 29, on April 6 last year in her Doveton Street South home by parolee Jason Dinsley rocked Ballarat and left her then four-year-old son Aron without a mother.
Young Aron was in the house when his mother’s killer bludgeoned her to death. He woke the next morning to find his mother’s battered body.
The love of his family and friends is helping Aron deal with the myriad of emotions he is going through. He is in the care of his grandparents, who describe him as their little ray of sunshine.
Emotional support and unconditional love for their grandchild was easy for the Siermans. How they were going to financially look after this little boy was, however, a major concern.
That is where the Ballarat community came to the rescue.
In February this year a cocktail party and auction raised $100,000 to be put in a trust fund for Aron’s future. All goods and services and prizes were donated and many of the 250 people who attended were complete strangers to the Siermans, but felt they needed to help this little boy who had touched the heart of a city.
Event organiser and family friend, Matthew Tol, said tomorrow’s anniversary would not be a celebration, rather a commemoration.
“I think (the Siermans) just want (the first anniversary) over ... it’s part and parcel of moving on,” Mr Tol said.
“The first year is always the hardest ... Sharon’s first birthday without her, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Aron’s birthday, his first day at school and the first time he brought home the award for being the star pupil. Aron’s mum should have been there for
The court case against Ms Siermans’ murderer, which ended just days before Christmas last year and saw Dinsley sentenced to at least 32 years behind bars, took its toll on the Siermans family.
“The court case has given them some closure, but their pain will never really go away,” Mr Tol said.
It is, however, the support from Ballarat and beyond that is really helping the Siermans.
“John and Denise cannot get over the support being given to them. It is this behind-the-scenes support that reaffirms there is goodness in most people.
“However, it is disappointing it takes tragic events, like Sharon’s murder, to enable people to express themselves. Why can’t we be like that all the time for the good of the community? It would be good if the city could channel that spirit all the time,” Mr Tol said.
“Many sectors in the Ballarat community, from those who have a lot, to those who have not got much, all wanted to help (with the February fundraiser).
“It is truly inspiring what the Ballarat community can do. It’s not all about the money, it’s about support in all different ways, shapes and forms.
“This support is helping (John and Denise) to emotionally deal with what has gone on. It hasn’t lightened the load, but it has made it easier (for them).”
At least once a week, Aron visits his mother’s grave and kisses her headstone.
Tomorrow he and other family members will do the same and leave a bunch of flowers outside the home Ms Siermans shared with her son.