THE Christmas spirit shone just that little bit brighter this year in the lives of seven local families who are caring for a sick child.
The families received fuel and grocery gift vouchers from the Bike Riders and Tourers of the Illawarra and Shoalhaven (BRATs) at the Shoalhaven Hospital on Monday.
The donations were made in memory of a BRATs member lost to cancer in 2011, affectionately known as Poppy (Bill) Carroll.
Shoalhaven Hospital children’s ward administration officer and BRAT member Sharon Robson said the group wished to donate the money to a worthy charity and knew it was the perfect opportunity to give families from the hospital some much needed support over Christmas.
“A few of us from BRATs work here at the hospital as well and we thought the donations would really help out these families with travel and food needs,” she said.
One of the vouchers was given to Mr Brett Fletcher from Sussex Inlet, the father of patient Georgia Fletcher who suffers from neuroblastoma.
He said the donated fuel and food vouchers from BRATs will help them out immensely, particularly with their long trips to Randwick, where young Georgia frequently undergoes extensive treatment.
“We will need to travel back to Randwick before the end of the year and Georgia will need to have a bone marrow transplant,” Mr Fletcher said.
“We are so grateful for the support we have received. It really relieves the pressure.”
Ms Judy Davies from Nowra and mother of 17-month-old patient Lilly-Rose Middleton-Davies also received donations from the BRAT members and said she thought the donation was absolutely beautiful.
“I just felt so shocked when I was phoned to say they wanted to give the vouchers to us,” Ms Davies said.
“The vouchers will be a huge help throughout the Christmas period.
“We are constantly going to appointments at Westmead Hospital for all the major things.
“I was so pleased to see the BRAT members here today, with their shirts on give up their time for us,” she said.