IT WAS a bond forged first during detention at Sunshine Beach State High School and it is now inked on Aaron Richardson's arms.
And also indelibly in his sporting psyche.
For Aaron the words - "Never, never give up" - harness the unstoppable spirit of the late and greatly missed Sam Naudin.
It was the mantra of the Noosa mother-of-two, who may have lost her dogged battle with cancer early this year, but continues to bring out the best in the people she inspired.
None more so than 26-year-old Aaron, who will channel Sam's tenacity and sense of purpose on November 23 when he braves the night waters off West Australia to try and become the first person to swim from Rottnest Island to Cottesloe Beach.
Aaron will make the swim attempt on his birthday.
Sam lived for her kids and triathlons and never let her four-and-a-half year illness defeat her competitive nature.
She was active up until the end of her life, and was raising thousands of dollars for charity along the way.
She also became a life guide for many and, for Aaron, Sam always went above and beyond, challenging him to get the best out of himself.
"I first met Sam when I was going to Sunshine High - she was a teacher at school and I met her when I was doing detention - we hit it off straight away," he said.
Sam was always encouraging him to get out and be active.
Aaron's goals back then were all related to football, which took him to Western Australia to play and work offshore - until he badly broke a leg.
Sam naturally approved of his dabbling in triathlons, but last December when she was almost physically spent, she found the willpower to instil a new drive in Aaron.
"She was the one who got me to take triathlon more seriously - the last thing she said to me was to ask me to do this race in New Zealand and she would be there for me," Aaron said.
"Sam passed away in January - I'm about to head over to the World Triathlon Age Championships (to be held in Auckland October 18-22)."
And at the end of the month he will be in familiar territory for both himself and Sam - tackling the 30th Noosa Triathlon - before his big moment of truth in the swim from Rottnest Island to Cottesloe Beach.
Aaron said his bid to raise $30,000 for Breast Cancer WA was all about channelling Sam's passion to get the best results for himself and for others.
"I have adopted Sam's never, never give up mantra and all her words of wisdom will keep me strong," he said.
All of Aaron's details are on the breastcancer.org.au website under the link 'What's Happening' or by phoning Breast Cancer WA on (08) 9324 3703.
Aaron is hoping Noosa gets right behind him for the 20km epic swim starting at midnight.