A MORISSET Park girl’s leukeamia diagnosis has been the catalyst for an extraordinary outpouring of community support that has so far raised more than $10,200, with a month still to run.
Jacinta Gomez, 12, was diagnosed with leukaemia on April 27. She’s undergoing chemotherapy, and has spent lots of time at John Hunter Children’s Hospital, in Newcastle.
Therese Blair (of Bonnells Bay Public School) and Tracie Brown (Cooranbong Public School) are friends of Jacinta’s mum and dad, Kirsten and Rick Gomez.
The friends set about organising fundraising to help ease the family’s financial burden, and the disruption to their working lives.
But Kirsten and Rick respectfully declined the help, instead asking for any money raised to be donated to the John Hunter Children’s Hospital Paediatric Oncology Ward.
“Rick and I were dead set against anything being done for us,” Kirsten, a teacher at Wyee Public School, said.
“We’re not the only people on this journey. We weren’t the first, and we won’t be the last.”
But she said the response to her friends’ campaign had exceeded all expectations.
“It has been more overwhelming than the diagnosis, in a way,” Kirsten said.
Therese said: “What started off as a small gesture of our local Western Shores Learning Alliance (WSLA) schools doing some fundraising soon turned into something on a much larger scale.”
The friends set up a Cupcakes for Kids with Cancer fund, on behalf of the hospital, and promoted it on Facebook.
“And now schools from around the state, companies, and sporting associations have all jumped on board,” Therese said.
Kirsten said the generosity had been incredible, and had strengthened the family’s “positive little cocoon”.
“I feel we aren’t fighting leukaemia as a family, but as a community,” she said. “These people don’t know us as a family, but they’ve been willing to rally around.
“I came home one night and there was an esky full of food on the front door step.”
- To help, see the Cupcakes for Kids with Cancer page on Facebook.