Sally and Mark Lynch with Sally and Anthony Kasparek got tattoos to honour of their late daughter and sister Jamie-Leigh. Photo: Jay Cronan
It is a bittersweet victory.
Team Jim Jam - formed in honour of Canberra beauty therapist Jamie-Leigh Lynch who died in a car accident in March - has been confirmed as the biggest fundraiser in Australia for this year's Million Paws Walk for the RSPCA.
The team was also the biggest single fundraiser ever in the 21-year history of the event - raising $15,000 - or more than a third of the total ACT tally of $42,150.
Tattoos of Sally and Anthony Kasparek and Mark and Sally Lynch in honour of Jamie-Leigh. Photo: Jay Cronan
Jamie-Leigh's father Markus said it was fantastic for the ACT to achieve the honour in Canberra's centenary year.
"We're just blown away," he said. "The support has been amazing."
Her mother Sheila said there were many mixed emotions after losing their beloved daughter just over two months ago.
"Very happy for the RSPCA and that the money was raised in Jamie's memory but also incredibly sad and finding if difficult every day in trying to come to terms with the loss of Jamie," she said.
Her family suspect Jamie-Leigh had swerved to avoid hitting a kangaroo or another animal when her car hit a tree on Kambah Pool Road in the early hours of March 16.
Despite their grief, the family has chosen to honour their daughter by embracing life the way she did, touching many people across different continents during her lifetime. Due to her father's then-career in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Jamie was born in New York and the family had postings in Africa, Papua New Guinea and the United Kingdom.
"I've never known someone to have so many best friends," Mr Lynch said.
The Gordon family has also revealed their very personal tributes to the 26-year-old who was a passionate animal lover.
Mr Lynch, who now works for the Department of Health and Ageing, said his daughter had a sign in her room showing a wombat and the words "My Room, My Mess". He has had the wombat and words tattooed to his chest with his daughter's name.
"So she's on my chest, close to my heart and there forever," he said.
Mrs Lynch and Jamie-Leigh's sister Sally Kasparek have both had bows tattooed on their arms, as have many of her friends and family.
Jamie-Leigh used to wear bows in her hair, on her clothes, on her shoes and also had a tattoo of one.
"One of her friends at work said, 'What's this about bows?' and she said, 'I just like them'," Mr Lynch said.
Sally's husband Anthony Kasparek also had roses tattooed on his arm in honour of Jamie-Leigh whose grandfather in England always referred to her as his English rose.
And Jamie's dog Fred is now not ever without a bow.
RSPCA ACT chief executive officer Michael Linke said Team Jim Jam would receive a trophy and a plaque in honour of Jamie-Leigh would be installed at the RSPCA shelter in Weston.
He said all money raised from the ACT Million Paws Walk around Lake Burley Griffin last Sunday would go to the local shelter for lost, injured and abandoned animals.
Mr Linke said donations would also be received until June 30.
*Donations can still be made to the RSPCA via Team Jim Jam.