Dad’s group tackles tragedy and mountains together

Check out the full article here.

The article is about Brad Watson’s experience when his son Archie died at age two, in 2013, of a rare genetic condition, and his time spent at Tŷ Hafan, a Welch children’s hospice center. Brad discussed how his preconceived notions about palliative care was challenged when seeing the positive spirits of the children at Tŷ Hafan. There is also a support group for dads — the “wolfpack.” It is comprised of fathers whose children are either cared for at Ty Hafan or have been in the past – and it aims to provide practical as well as emotional support.

“If it wasn’t for this group, I don’t know where I’d be.” – Brad Watson

Below is a quote from a member of the “wolfpack,” Garrett Jenkins.

“It’s not just about talking about feelings – it’s about giving practical support and first-hand advice on a range of things. Say for example, if someone wants to find out about getting something like a specially-adapted wheelchair, they can ask one of the other dads rather than trawl through the internet for ages. It’s also about having fun and forming friendships, with others who know what it’s like to go through their situation. It gives them the chance for some respite and to be themselves again. We’ve done everything from paint-balling, to going to watch the rugby and football.

At one point in time, the dad’s were joking about scaling mountains together — and the next thing they knew, they were completed the “5-peaks challenge,” which, in addition to strengthening their friendships even further, they also raised £30,000.

There has been a increased focused on men’s mental health over the past year…and it seems that attitudes are changing and stigma is decreasing around men reaching out for help, being vulnerable, discussing their emotions, and leaning on others to work through issues.

“Every Tŷ Hafan dad has his own mountain to climb when caring for a child with a life-limiting condition – hopefully things like our five peaks challenge will support and inspire others.”

This is a great example of a CADRE of dad’s coming together and providing support through the tough times of fatherhood. Padre Cadre members, do you have any examples of how you, and other dads, have come together as a group to build friendships and be there for one another as you navigate fatherhood? Let us know.

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