Com­mu­nity ral­lies for young Jessi

Whitsunday Times - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

JESSI Clarke just wants to play like the other kids, and this week she did just that, thanks to the generosity of the Whit­sun­day com­mu­nity.

The 11-year-old was born with cere­bral palsy, leav­ing her wheel­chair bound and need­ing round-the-clock care.

When a trip to the Spe­cial Olympics in Townsville rolled around, the Clarke fam­ily was told the bus wouldn’t cater for Jessi and her wheel­chair.

“Jessi was ex­tremely up­set that she wasn’t go­ing,” fam­ily friend Paula Hovey said.

Ms Hovey tried ev­ery av­enue avail­able to get Jessi north but the need to travel in a wheel­chair left only one op­tion – a $1500 taxi ride.

“It’s quite frus­trat­ing, I couldn’t even hire a car,” she said.

Af­ter an out­pour­ing of ge- neros­ity from lo­cals Jessi made it to Townsville, with enough money left to give Jessi’s mum, who is also her full­time carer, an af­ter­noon at a spa.

“I’ve been in Air­lie for a year and I must say this has re­stored my faith in hu­man­ity, and it’s also shown me what an amaz­ing com­mu­nity Air­lie is,” Ms Hovey said.

“She was so ex­cited on Friday when she found out, she got kicked out of class three times for squeal­ing.”

With the Clarke fam­ily van “on its last legs” and $45,000 needed to re­place it, Ms Hovey said this demon­strated a need in the com­mu­nity.

“We def­i­nitely need to raise aware­ness that this com­mu­nity needs a van,” she said.

“There are many spe­cial needs peo­ple here and apart from a taxi there re­ally is noth­ing.”

To help sup­port the Clarke fam­ily with Jessi’s on­go­ing med­i­cal bills and hope­fully a re­place­ment van, do­nate to the Jessi Rae Clarke Trust (trustee Deborah Lewis) at ANZ, BSB 013 141, ac­count num­ber 9084 72067.

COM­MU­NITY SPIRIT: Jessi Clarke hav­ing a blast at the Spe­cial Olympics, thanks to the Whit­sun­day com­mu­nity.

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