Melbourne Dad Overcomes Hardships to Win Victorian Father of the Year
At The Dad Website, we’re big on dads. So while it’s an extra big shout out to every Australian dad on this day, Father’s Day, we pay tribute to dad of three Sam Chew, from Clayton (south-eastern Melbourne), who on Friday was named the 65th Victorian Father of the Year.
Sam has been the rock for his three children Jenson, 8, Jeremy, 5, and Nara, 2, since his wife and childhood sweetheart Grace tragically passed away in 2019. Grace was seven months pregnant with Nara when she suddenly collapsed due to preeclampsia, a condition that causes sudden high blood pressure during pregnancy. She was rushed to hospital, where Nara was delivered by c-section and placed in intensive care while Grace was put into an induced coma. Sadly Grace passed away two weeks later.
Sam was left as the sole carer for three young children, including a premature newborn. With no family or wider support network in Australia, Sam did everything from night feeds, to school drop offs and home schooling, on top of going to work.
But Sam wouldn’t have it any other way. “I’m just their dad and don’t want the kids to miss out on anything they want or need.”
“Sometimes life can be tough, but so are we.”
The 38-year-old was nominated by his children’s early learning centre director Kashmira Bhathena, who said, “I want to celebrate and recognise Sam’s commitment to his children as he is a man who never asks for help or shares his struggles despite having faced some of the worst experiences one can go through.”
In her nomination, Kashmira said, “Sam considers his children a gift from his beloved Grace. It was Grace’s dream to come to Melbourne, start a family and provide them with the best life possible. Sam is doing everything he can to follow through with that dream.”
The pandemic has been difficult for many people – and Sam is certainly no exception. He has had difficulty finding a flexible job that allows him to juggle taking care of the kids and earning a decent wage to support his family. He has held various jobs over the past two years and currently works for an indoor plant delivery company. He says Jenson has stepped up despite only being a kid.
“Jenson is older now and he understands more about our family circumstance. He’s recently started helping out a lot more around the house which makes me emotional because I don’t want him to lose his childhood and grow up too quickly, but I am grateful for the help.”
Lord Mayor Sally Capp presented the award over Zoom on Friday 3 September, stating that despite not being able to present the award in person, she was honoured to celebrate such an extraordinary father.
“Every year I am in awe of the nominees, but this year is truly inspirational.”
Since 1956, The Father’s Day Council of Victoria has chosen a Victorian Father of the Year, to celebrate and recognise the important role fathers and father-figures play in family life. For almost two decades the YMCA has partnered with the Council to present the award. This is the first year the two have merged under the Y banner to focus on celebrating all types of father figures.