Thirteen-year-old Emma Walsh is in a fight for her life.
The youngster from Redhead, who celebrated becoming a teenager just a fortnight ago, was diagnosed with leukaemia in July last year and has been undergoing life-saving treatment since.
While Emma battles, her community is rallying around her, hoping to raise $100,000 to help cover the financial cost of her medical needs.
Friend Brianna Blick has set up a Go Fund Me page, and after just 50 donations it sits at a total of $10,000.
Brianna has known Emma and her family – mum Alexandra, dad Brendan and siblings Will and Isabelle, for years, all members of the Lakes United Seagulls RLFC.
When she first heard the news about Emma’s diagnosis she approached the family about organising a fundraising event to help pay for treatment.
“I heard a lot of ‘No, Thank Yous’ before I finally said please just give me the okay,” Brianna says.
“They are such a giving family, so generous, and anyone who has met Emma knows she’s such a bright, bubbly young girl.”
Emma has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).
Childhood ALL, is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many immature lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell).
“Emma’s leukaemia is described as being a tricky one that doesn’t fall into the usual categories,” Brianna explains.
In the first seven weeks of Emma being diagnosed, once commencing immediate chemo, she has experienced numerous bone marrow aspirations and lumbar punctures as well as CT scans, Pet scans and MRI’s.
She has also spent time in PICU, with liver failure and sepsis.
“She’s such a fighter,” Brianna told the Newcastle Weekly.
“She’s really touched my heart and I think she has the ability to do that to a lot of people.”
Emma is the oldest daughter of Creer Property and Sales Agent Brendan Walsh.
Fellow long-time real estate industry member Property Solutions PS101 founder Kylie Frearson is also joining the growing group of generous Novocastrians rallying to help the family through the next few months.
“Brendan is very humble, he’s a very genuine person,” Kylie says.
“As a parent myself this breaks my heart to think that such a young girl, daughter, and sister has to go through such an unimaginable situation.
“This is something no family ever wants to find themselves in.”
Kylie and Brianna are two of a list of volunteers organising a fundraising event entitled ‘Benefit Night for Emma Walsh’ to be held on Saturday 17 June at NEX.
The event will include auctions, a three-course dinner, and live music.
Just 20-minutes after tickets were released online, the event sold out, with 550 people snapping up an invitation to help.
“The Walsh family have a very long journey ahead and I’m sure they will appreciate any support,” Kylie says.
“I believe that local businesses can really help make a difference.
“We are currently seeking donations for a raffle and auction. A donation, big or small would not only mean the world to me, but it would also be greatly appreciated by the Walsh family as it will positively impact the ongoing financial costs of Emma’s treatment.”
On the weekend Newcastle surfer Jackson Baker led the charge, asking his fellow big-name wave riders to sign one of his famous pink boards whilst competing at the Margaret River Pro.
In a media interview the Merewether-based World Surf League competitor explained he would be donating the surfboard “to help pay for some of the financial costs and help the family out going through a tough time”.
Junior philanthropist Xavier Neil soon followed suit, letting supporters of his brand good.x.karma know that he was selling a limited range of products, with proceeds donated to Emma Walsh’s family.
“She is one brave cookie and her smile makes you want to smile,” he said of his friend.
“Emma’s favourite colour is pink so Mum and I have made a new limited run of pink watermelon-flavoured lip balms as well as pink soaps.”
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