Gladstone pitches in for Baby Bella's brain cancer battle
ON Friday morning the staff of Gladstone Area Water Board gathered to have fun for a serious cause.
Pirate Day Friday is an annual event created by The Kids' Cancer Project and is a fundraiser close to Robin Berthelsen's heart.
"Our baby daughter Bella was diagnosed with brain cancer as a baby," Ms Berthelsen said.
"She was one of two babies born in Gladstone around the same time who had the disease."
More than 100 Australian children die from cancer each year and one in four of those deaths is from brain cancer.
"We met a lot of other families in the same predicament during Bella's treatment," Ms Berthelsen said.
"The survival rate for this illness hasn't changed in over 30 years.
"Brain cancer research gets five per cent of money channelled in from cancer donations and only half that goes to kids brain cancers.
"That's why these fund raisers are so important because lots of money needs to funnelled into research."
Bella has had two rounds of treatment and is in a monitoring phase.
"The worry doesn't go away though," Ms Berthelsen said.
"Her cancer is notorious for recurrences so we're not under any illusions."
Ms Berthelsen said it would have been nice to have come home to a normal life, to go back to work and enjoy Bella being a little kid.
"But it would have been remiss of us to carry on with our lives and not try to make a difference," she said.
Which is why she is busy organising a variety of fund raisers such as Pirate Day to help children and families still struggling with the disease.
"I've also set up an online portal, the Bella the Brave Facebook page, and also sell sports apparel," she said.
"Since I started late last year I think we've raised close to $20,000 so far.
"People are very willing to contribute to a good cause, but considering there are so many causes out there, you just gotta keep at it.
"But the one thing we've found all through this journey is the kindness of strangers and family wanting to help."