Woonona lights tell sweet tale of charity

For Woonona grandparents Michele and William Harvey, the reason for decking their house with lights and decorations goes well beyond Christmas cheer.

The Peppermint Circuit house. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The Peppermint Circuit house. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Joined by their Peppermint Circuit neighbours, the Harveys use their impressive display to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation, a cause close to their hearts.

On Boxing Day 2006, their seven-month-old grandson Lewis Sargent-Wilson was diagnosed with an acute form of leukaemia.

Luckily Lewis's two-year-old brother Billy was a bone marrow match for the baby boy and braved a painful transplant to save his younger brother.

Now seven, Lewis has finally been declared cancer-free.

To say thanks for the generous support their family received during Lewis's treatment, Mr and Mrs Harvey have placed a donations bucket outside their dazzling lights display for the past three years.

"Last Saturday when we put the sign up Lewis came up to me and said 'Nan, is this about me?' and I said 'No, mate, it's not about you but it's because of you'," Mrs Harvey said.

"We had such an amazing outpouring of support when he was diagnosed that we just want to do the same - and Lewis has been the most diligent little helper in collecting money."

In the past week the family have raised over $1000 and hope to top last year's total of $4300.

Mrs Harvey said she was overwhelmed by the support of Peppermint Circuit residents who have turned their street into one of Wollongong's must-see Christmas-light destinations.

"When we started to do the lights a few years ago it was just the few of us, and then I asked our neighbours if they'd mind if we put out a donations bucket for the foundation," Mrs Harvey said.

"This year pretty much our whole street is involved and all the kids, including my grandkids, get dressed up in costumes and have their own little donations buckets out on the street.

"It's just the nicest street in terms of the people who live here - it's called Peppermint Circuit and it really is sweet just like the chocolate."

Readers can enter other Illawarra houses in the Mercury's Light Up Our Christmas competition, showing off some of the best light displays of the season.

Go to www.illawarra mercury.com.au to fill out the entry form by 4pm on December 20.




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