Board riders to raise money for tiny Reef

At just 17-months-old, little Reef Gilmore has already had to endure more than most.

The Austinmer youngster, diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, is currently undergoing chemotherapy, which could have a significant impact on his life.

Today , a fund-raising event dubbed "Ride for Reef" will aim to raise $20,000 to help his parents Nathan and Tahleah with ongoing medical costs.

"I'm overwhelmed by it, I didn't expect it to get this big," Mr Gilmore said.

"I guess it won't sink in until [today]."

The day, organised by the Sandon Point Boardriders Club, features plenty of fun for the whole family, including a surf competition, live DJ and an auction.

President Jason Gava said the club usually held a charity event each year and jumped on board with a few of Mr Gilmore's friends to put it on for "one of their own".

"They really need our support," Mr Gava said.

"It's a very social day, it's all about going in the event rather than the competition."

It has been a tough few months for the family since the diagnosis of Ewing's sarcoma, a rare bone and soft tissue cancer, was made in April last year.

The family first thought something wasn't right when a lump was discovered in Reef's neck.

Having experienced gastroenteritis and whooping cough prior to the discovery, they were told it could be an inflammation of his glands - but didn't take that for an answer.

"We were worried enough to do something about it, we could have been naive," Mr Gilmore said. "We found it and luckily we did something."

Reef has been undertaking treatment in Sydney that has managed to clear him of the cancer, but ongoing care will be required to ensure it does not return.

"[It's] so far, so good," Mr Gilmore said.

At the end of the chemotherapy cycle, he will require a five-week stint of radiation and, due to his young age, the side effects of the treatment will be extensive.

These include a shortened neck or no neck, an affected voice box and thyroid gland, brittle bones and the choroid artery not forming properly.

He will need to take blood-thinning medication for the rest of his life and will more than likely need to have a stent put in.

Reef may never be able to play sport or go surfing with his father, and will need physiotherapy for the foreseeable future.

"He might not be able to have a little boy life . . . that's my biggest fear," Mr Gilmore said.

"I don't want to be chasing him around telling him he can't do things."

The "Ride for Reef" will be held at Sandon Point, with 10 surfers in the water for one hour in an expression session format this morning and a single fin tag team event this afternoon.

A silent auction and raffle, including a number of special one-off single fin boards, unique pieces of art and numerous gift vouchers, will coincide with the surf presentation at Beaches Hotel, Thirroul, from 6pm.

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