A long-established charity that has spent millions of dollars helping families survive child cancer and life-threatening illness is getting a ringing endorsement from a recently-bereaved Dubbo mother.
Country Hope helped Erin Ray and her family in the days leading up to the death of their beloved son and brother Mitchell in early December 2020, despite the charity's focus on Riverina families.
Growing demand for its financial and emotional support from families in the Dubbo region brought staff of the Wagga Wagga-based charity to the city this week to meet with potential sponsors and pursue the establishment of a grassroots fundraising committee.
In a post on the Mitchell Blasts Neuroblastoma Facebook page four days before Mitchell died, Mrs Ray sent the "biggest thank you" to Country Hope.
"Country Hope have been amazing to us, providing financial assistance as well as being a willing listener and general well-being checker," Mrs Ray wrote.
"If anyone is ever looking for an independent organisation who actually make a huge difference to the day-to-day living of oncology families then please look them up and support them."
To date the charity has helped the families of five Dubbo children fighting cancer, with only Mitchell sadly succumbing to the disease.
Country Hope general manager of 13 years, Ellie Webb, said it offered financial and emotional support to families of newborns through to teenagers turning 17.
Importantly, its family liaison officers keep calling on families after treatment has concluded.
"We take care of mortgages, rents and make sure the tyres are okay on their car," Mrs Webb said.
"We pay for fuel, food, phone bills, electricity bills.
"A lot of the marriages don't make it in these very difficult journeys, so we work really hard trying to keep the families together."
Country Hope events manager Mick Small said millions of dollars had been spent on hundreds of families within a 200-kilometre radius of Wagga Wagga in the past 16 years.
Currently, there are more than 250 families on the charity's books.
Country Hope does not receive recurrent government funding but seeks and sometimes gets grants.
Mr Small said businesses were the financial backstop of the charity, offering Evolution Mining as an example.
"For all the work we do in West Wyalong, the majority of the money that is used in that area comes from them," he said.
Mr Small promised "every single cent we raise in Dubbo stays here".
Call 1800 007 880 or go to www.countryhope.com.au or the charity's Facebook page to make an inquiry or to donate.
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