Iluka comes to the party

Main: Paige Humphreys enjoyed a ride in the helicopter, along with other lucky children. Inset: Iluka resident Leona Jackson (with special specs), who organised the fundraiser, is pictured with Paige’s family and Canadian helicopter owners Ian (5th from left) and Rhonda (far right), who are touring on their catamaran, Samara, which also transports their helicopter. Images: Contributed

On Sunday May 7 the people of Iluka and surrounds dug deep into their pockets, raising $7,665 to help pay for a life-saving operation for 11-year-old Paige Humphreys.
Iluka resident Leona Jackson set out to put on a low key event at the Iluka Bowling Club, however, “it escalated from there into a big fundraiser, as local Iluka and Yamba businesses have come forward with wonderful donations,” she told the Independent before the big day.
Ms Jackson heard about Paige’s plight at a fundraiser she attended in Lismore and decided that she would like to do something to help Paige have her operation in Chicago, USA.
Freelance journalist Glenn Jackson wrote to the Independent: “Sunshine on a beautiful Sunday had the markets buzzing, with a very touching crowd all wanting to help out with the activity and later gathering in support at the Iluka Bowling Club.
“Thanks to the many people who supported and made this day an enjoyable one for Paige and the Humphrey family; it all makes a huge [positive] impact on their outlook.”
The highlight of the day for some who attended was the “amazing scenic helicopter flights above the township of Iluka”.
Paige suffers from portal vein thrombosis, which Chicago-based doctor, Richard Superina, describes as “a relatively rare condition”.
Expanding on the condition’s rarity he says in a video on Paige’s gofundme webpage: “We don’t really know what the incidence of portal vein thrombosis is.
“Even if it was one in 10,000 children, no individual hospital could garner the experience we have by operating on people in their local catchment area.
“The only way to get experience is to have people come to you from far away, and that’s what has happened to us.
“We’ve become pretty much, I think, the leading centre in the world for this kind of condition.”
In a message on Paige’s gofundme page, her father, Andrew, writes: “Thanks to the bowls club and all the businesses who kindly donated some really amazing prizes, to Leona Jackson for her amazing energy and organising the event.
“Thanks to Ian, Rhonda and Rotowing helicopters for the helicopter flights.
“Thanks to all the entertainers, musicians and performers and, of course, to everyone who participated, donated and helped in every way – including a massive $1,000 from Steve Jackson – you are all helping save my daughter’s life. Thanks so much.”
To date, $124,748 of $328,700 goal has been raised over the past six months; for more information go to www.gofundme.com/PAIGE-HUMPHREYS

Over the past 15 years Geoff Helisma has reported on all things Clarence Valley; telling stories about the tireless work of volunteers in community groups at one end of the spectrum, to investigating relevant local, state and federal government issues at the other.