Parents take a stand against knife crime


Lucy Bowden

Michael and Kerri-Lyn Stewart, at their home in Buddina, have founded The Balin Stewart Foundation

Two Buddina parents are fighting to raise awareness about youth knife crime after their son, Balin, died in a stabbing incident earlier this year.

Michael and Kerri-Lyn Stewart founded The Balin Stewart Foundation with the catchphrase #BinTheBladeForBalin, which aims to educate kids and persuade anyone who owns a knife to “bin it”.

The Sunshine Coast couple say most kids who carry knives don’t fully understand the effect their actions could have on others.

“Our lives will never be the same,” Mr Stewart said.

The Foundation has been spreading awareness of the prevalence of knife carrying within the community with the goal of preventing more knife-related deaths.

“The majority of people think it’s gang-related or drug-related … that wasn’t the case with Balin,” Mrs Stewart said.

“It was a school boy fight that went terribly wrong.”

Balin died outside his home in Buddina on January 20.

In September, the charity held the Balin Forever Festival at Night Quarter to honour Balin and highlight the need to address knife crime.

Mr Stewart said it was important to take action.

“We feel like we are in an uphill battle,” he said.

The husband-and-wife team emphasised the need to make people aware of the statistics.

“People think that the knives they are carrying are machetes, flick-knives and that,” Mrs Stewart said.

“It’s the basic steak knife in your top drawer.”

Mr Stewart said he encouraged parents to be accountable and do a “self-audit” by knowing how many knives were in your kitchen and have a conversation with your kids if one goes missing.

Balin’s legacy lives on through the charity, with his parents using their new-found platform to encourage people to live life to the fullest.

“Live your life like Balin,” Mr Stewart said.

The Stewarts said Balin was outgoing and adventurous, and said he would talk to anyone.

“It’s like he knew he was here for a good time, not a long time,” Mrs Stewart said.