THE candles on top of Brandon Matthews 21st birthday cake today do not represent a celebration, rather a sombre reflection.
Murdered on January 8, 2012 in Ipswich, the Tannum Sands teen will forever remain 18 as his loved ones are left to carry on his memory.
Mother Paula Matthews will mark her son's birthday today by placing balloons in the garden she created after his death.
"It would mean the world to me if he were here today," Mrs Matthews said.
"It is supposed to be a day where I wake up and sit with him as he opens his presents. Instead all I can do is visit his garden and place flowers and balloons there."
In a stoic stand against the violence that tore their family apart, the Matthews family is hosting a fundraiser in lieu of a party for their beloved son and brother.
It is their way of transforming the emptiness in their hearts into positive action.
To be held on Saturday in honour of the Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group, Brandon Matthews' 21st will be unlike any other.
Multi-draw raffles, silent and live auctions and live entertainment from The MANGS and Associates will enliven the PCYC, with doors opening at 6pm.
The Matthews family are determined to incorporate the happiness of a 21st into the evening, to give Brandon the party he deserved.
"We will cut the cake at 7pm, and then the celebrations can begin," said Mrs Matthews.
Tickets are $5 for Brandon Matthews 21st Birthday Fundraiser for QHVSG, and limited tickets are available at the door.
Guests are encouraged to don fishing attire, or a loosely worn tie in remembrance of Brandon's personality and style.
And for those who will not be attending the fundraiser, a mere reflection on the effects of violence is a small gift to give to the Matthews family, in the hope that it never occurs again.