After 12 years, Adventist Senior Living Jewells Lifestyle Community has finally cracked the $50,000 fundraising mark for the Cancer Council Biggest Morning Tea.
Since 2006 retirement village residents at Jewells Lifestyle Community have continued to fill their kettles, bake cookies and cakes and gather friends, family and community as part of their annual contribution to the Cancer Council fundraiser. Over the years they have been amazed by the goodwill within their small community as they have watched their cumulative fundraising tally continue to grow, finally surpassing the very impressive $50,000 mark this week.
“It is just extraordinary”, says village resident and organiser Penny Gawthorn. “As a small community we started with just 13 guests in 2006, raising just over $300. Now we have grown to over 100 guests and regularly raise over $4000 at each event”, she said. “It really is humbling to know that we have raised so much to support those whose lives are affected by cancer”, she added.
This year was a very poignant event for Penny. Over the past year the village lost two of its own to cancer. Both Bruce Keenan and Pat Nolan were not only members of the village, but also two of the original supporters of the Jewells Lifestyle Community Biggest Morning Tea. “Today was dedicated to the memory of both Bruce and Pat”, said Penny, wiping away a tear. “They would have been extremely proud of our achievement”.
Penny puts months of hard work into ensuring the event is an annual success and one very much looked forward to by all the village residents. She says it is the story of cancer survivors that make her work all worthwhile. One such story is that of local musician and village friend, Peter Dixon.
Today Peter is father to two beautiful little girls. Were it not for the contribution of Cancer Council research he would have been unable to freeze his sperm close to 30 years ago and then use it 23 years later to father his first child, and again a year later to father his second, making it the second longest period of time in the world that sperm has laid frozen before the successful parenting of a child.
“It is those stories”, says Penny, “that give me joy in organising these events”. Without the Biggest Morning Tea some of these stories would not have such happy endings”, she added
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