Funds have begun to flow from last year’s i98FM Illawarra Convoy to local families affected by life-threatening medical conditions – and the organisations that support them.
So far 19 families have successfully applied for funds through the Illawarra Community Foundation from the record $1.9 million raised from the November 2017 event.
These include Helenburgh’s Myers’ family, whose little boy Korbyn was diagnosed with a genetic neurodegenerative disorder last September, at just three months old.
Korbyn needs constant surveillance for seizures and choking episodes, he is tube-fed and will have a lifelong need for support for daily living.
The family spend many hours each week at specialist appointments and therapy sessions, and have welcomed the food and fuel vouchers they’ve received through the foundation.
“Unfortunately we see many children and families in our region who are affected by life-threatening medical conditions,” i98FM announcer, and Convoy founder, Marty Haynes said.
“We do however take pride in knowing we can support families like the Myers’ with funds raised during Convoy, and provide some relief to them during hard times.”
The Sharman family of Woonona have also received vouchers to help with finances, after their three-year-old son Quade was diagnosed with cancer last September.
Quade underwent surgery for a stage 2 Wilms Tumour,or nephroblastoma; which is a cancer of the kidneys. He’s still undergoing chemotherapy at Sydney Children’s Hospital.
“We have been extremely overwhelmed with the support of family and friends, we have had dinners, and fresh fruit and veggies left on our door … and many other kind points of assistance that meant the world to us and made our lives just a little easier,” Quade’s mother Kylie said.
“And now this gracious support from i98FM Illawarra Convoy and the Illawarra community. We are so very appreciative and sincerely grateful to all involved.”
A Koonawarra family have also been recipients of vouchers, to help their son James, who was diagnosed at 12 months with a rare condition called cerebral cavernous malformations.
James’ older brother Jack, and his father, were subsequently found to have the condition too.
“My sons and my husband were all diagnosed with (it),” Moira said. “The variant they all had was the most aggressive of all malformations.”
James, now 13, has been most affected – he’s needed four emergency craniotomies to remove bleeding cavernomas, has lost the vision in the right side of both eyes, has hemiparesis and epilepsy.
“The stress on Moira and the family must be immense,” said Convoy manager Mark Rigby. “Seeing your two sons dealing with this life-threatening illness and knowing that either of them could be rushed into hospital at any time, must put incredible stress on your family.”
Mr Rigby encouraged other families and individuals affected by potentially life-threatening conditions to reach out for assistance. Apply at www.illawarraconvoy.com.au