Illawarra tradies and businesses have rallied around a Dapto family in their hour of need.
For Charlene and Justin Ebbs, the completion of their dream home has been overshadowed by their daughter’s desperate fight for life.
In May, Kalani completed one of the most intensive chemotherapy and radiation regimens ever delivered to an Australian child to treat her rare brain cancer.
Last month though, the couple was given the heartbreaking news that tumours on Kalani’s spine and brain stem had returned, and were growing rapidly.
The two-year-old underwent surgery and on Friday will embark on a clinical trial in a last-ditch attempt to stop the cancer in its tracks.
It’s been a devastating time for the couple, who have two other children, but a surprise gift from kind-hearted businesses has lifted their spirits.
Four years ago, the Ebbs bought a block of land at Horsley but in the last 18 months they’ve spent their time and energy on saving their child. Finances have been tight with hospital expenses, and time off work.
While they’re just about to be handed the keys to the new home, it’s not fully completed – there’s excavation and landscaping to do, fences to be erected, flooring to be laid and electrical work to be done among other things.
On Wednesday the couple was lured to the home by Mrs Ebbs’ sister, Deanna Karton. Unbeknown to them, Ms Karton had also invited the 15 tradies and businesses who have pledged products or services to make the house a home.
“I’d started to feel disconnected from the house – it was supposed to be our family home but every time I’d walk into what was to be Kalani’s room I’d wonder ‘Is my baby girl even going to be able to enjoy her new bedroom?’, Mrs Ebbs said on Thursday.
“With Kalani’s relapse I just haven’t had the energy to think about the house so my sister said she’d organise it, and get all the quotes for the work that was needed.
“When I got to the house I had no idea what was going on. When all was revealed about how all these people have come together to donate resources and time, some of that connection to the house that I’d lost, returned.
“Now it will be a reminder of the love and support from the community for Kalani – which is what has helped me and my husband deal with our situation and enabled us to focus our attention on Kalani.”
Ms Karton said she had been overwhelmed by the generosity of businesses, including Bright Electrical Group and Illawarra Landscape Maintenance.
“This will allow Justin and Charlene to make memories with their children rather than working on their house. It really is a priceless gift that the community has given.”
Thanks to the businesses who have helped out
- Advanced Gardens and Landscaping
- Ashley Furniture Homestore
- BCA Building and Construction
- Better Floors and Blinds
- Berry Wholesale Nursery
- Bright Group Electrical
- F&D Hezemans Excavations
- Illawarra Landscape Maintenance
- James Brown
- Kennards Hire Unanderra
- NJC Carpentry and Concreting
- Shaw Landscaping Group
- Superior Blinds and Awnings
- Wayne and Nicole Wood roofing
- 21st Century Tiles
Meantime another friend has organised a Christmas for Kalani fundraiser on December 8 at Jamberoo Resort. Get tickets here.