How our community helped overcome the impossible
THE call came out of the blue. "You wrote about that family who's trying to get their little girl to Sydney?"
"Yep, that was me."
The Grants needed to get Thyeshya to Sydney, for vital follow-up treatment after an operation on her club feet.
Commercial flights couldn't take the nine-year-old's wheelchair. Medical evacuation organisations wouldn't help.
"Well," the bloke said. "I've got some spare cash, and I wanted to drop it in."
I was floored.
In my story, the frustrated family had called for suggestions, for anyone with a similar experience to let them know how they'd worked it out.
But my caller, Matt, didn't know about any of that. He just knew that a family in a tight spot could probably do with some cash.
The Observer office is not in the habit of having cash delivered.
"Do you think you could make out a cheque and we'll pass it on?" I suggested.
"Mate, I've got the cash on me."
"Oh... well could you seal it in an envelope, and we could deliver that?"
There was a frustrated pause. "Look, I don't have an envelope, and I reckon I'm happy to trust you."
Then firmly, "I'll bring it in on my lunch break."
At the front desk, our receptionist managed to round up an envelope.
Matt stuffed in a hefty fold of notes, and wrote on the back "WITH ALL MY LOVE". He didn't sign it. An hour later, we delivered it to the family's New Auckland home.
That was on Friday. The story had run on Thursday. And as you can read here, generous Gladstonians have been rallying ever since.
A week ago, finding space on a commercial flight, or getting help from a medical flight organisation, were the only options the Grants could see for getting Thyeshya to Sydney.
Now, Gladstone Aero Club has rounded up fuel for a chartered flight - $1000 worth donated by Shell.
A bake sale raised more, and whole camps of workers - on Curtis and beyond - passed the hat around. The charter is getting close to being paid for.
Like so many frustrating situations - disastrous fires, horrifying poverty, never-ending war zones - no-one had a simple solution for the Grants' tough predicament.
But enough good people realised they could help.