A LOCAL not-for-profit organisation assisting Tasmanian families affected by cancer, visited schools on the Eastern Shore to launch its annual community fundraiser day.
Homely Retreats is a respite service for Tasmanians affected by cancer that provides weekend respite in the form of a complimentary holiday to families with a parent undergoing cancer treatment.
The organisation was established by Jay Chipman in 2018 after her own battle with cancer in 2014/15.
“I had young children at the time and spent most of the year in hospital, so the times I was out of the hospital it was really important that we created quality family time for the children,” she said.
“It creates huge challenges for families because a parent is often in hospital, so there’s a lot of financial difficulties and lack of support for the other parent – we try and provide a glimmer of hope by offering them that respite.”
As part of their annual community fundraiser day, Homely Retreats engaged with students from primary schools on the Eastern Shore by asking them to dress in blue and bring a gold coin donation.
The schools included South Arm, Clarendon Vale, Lauderdale and Rokeby.
Ms Chipman said they received an amazing response from the students, raising more than $1,900.
“It was around a donation per student so that’s really positive and basically everyone was in blue, so people were taking notice and willing to help,” she said.
“The reason we chose primary schools was because we want to empower children to show that they can help in the community themselves and they don’t have to be an adult to show their support – they can do their piece in the community and show their support for fellow Tasmanians as well.
“We’re hoping more schools will become involved over the years so we can grow the fundraiser and grow our services.”
Clarendon Vale Primary School principal Carolyn Murray said the school got involved in the fundraising day as a way to give back to the community.
“We’ve got a few staff members that have been in situations that this organisation is supporting, so it’s really nice to support something that might help them in the future,” she said.
“It’s really important because cancer isn’t going anywhere, so we need to support families and people who have it as much as we can because it’s a really hideous process to go through.
“The students were so excited and our student representative council was really good at passing the message to each class so they knew what it was about and that it wasn’t just a dress up day.”
Bayview Secondary College was involved in helping plan the fundraising day by communicating with feeder schools, sender letter to the schools, talking to students and visiting the schools to judge the best dressed and collect donations.
“I wanted to get involved in the community and help families that were suffering with cancer,” Bayview Secondary College student Kyra Benbow said.
“I think it’s an important cause, especially in our small community, because of how many people it impacts and how little support there is for families that are going through it.”
If your family needs respite and has a parent affected by cancer, they can apply at https://homelyretreats.com.au/.