Matt and Robyn Cronin have turned unthinkable heartbreak in to an education program to help young people understand the life-changing consequences of the so-called coward's punch.
The Cronin's son Pat, 19, died in 2016 after being punched from behind while helping a mate outside a Diamond Creek bar. He didn't fall or hit his head, but two hours after being punched Pat suffered a seizure and had to be placed on life support before his family made the agonising decision to switch off two days later.
"Pat was killed by a coward punch and we made a decision to say we need to do something about this. We have always been community people at heart, so we set up the Pat Cronin Foundation," Mr Cronin said.
The foundation was established soon after Pat's death, but it was only at the conclusion of legal proceedings last year that they could fully launch the three arms of their foundation - awareness, education and research.
The foundation will bring their education program to Ballarat next week, holding a session at K-Hub in Main Road on Wednesday February 19 and visiting several schools.
"We call it our Be Wise education program. We are not going to preach to people don't do this or that, we want them to make their own decisions but make a wise decision and understand the consequences of making an unwise decision," Mr Cronin said.
"Our belief is that education is key. We've got to change people's attitudes toward violence at any level."
The education sessions are aimed at students in year nine and above, and presenters often ask if anyone in the audience has ever thrown a punch.
"One punch can do untold damage. You throw one punch and don't know the outcome. If you hit a person in the wrong spot you not only ruin the victim's life but ruin your own life and then there's the knock-on effect through family, friends and the community."
Mr Cronin said the young teens were often left in "stunned silence" at the start of the presentation.
"Pat was just 19 when killed. He was a good kid, that's who he was ... he wan't a troublemaker. It hits home to the kids listening to us that he looks like one of us, a mate, a school friend, brother or team mate.
"Pat played footy, which got his name out there a bit, and they realise if this can happen to a kid like that, it can happen to anyone.
"A lot of kids reflect on the fact they have been at parties and seen things happen."
In addition to education and awareness, the foundation is looking toward furthering research to understand what makes someone throw a punch rather than going to the assistance of a mate.