As with any major illness, cancer is never about just one person — the entire community can often be affected. But this works both ways, especially in a small community where everyone is willing to pitch in with their support. In a remote Australian village, many acts of kindness from the community added up to bring joy to the family of a teen with cancer.
A Quiet House
Random Acts Fundraising Coordinator Beverley Burrows-Pym, a high school staffer in Queensland, Australia, learned that Kiara, one of her students, was struggling.
Kiara’s brother, Adam, had been undergoing treatment for liver cancer far from home. Their mother was traveling back and forth to the hospital and could not spend much time with Kiara. Sadly, Kiara’s intellectual disability made it even more difficult to be apart from her mother and Adam for such long stretches.
From the beginning, Adam’s small village rallied around his family. Schools in the area provided tech tools for the siblings to continue their studies. Local companies provided assistance with travel costs. But Kiara still felt lonely when the house was empty and quiet. This, decided Beverley, was the problem she could help with.
Kiara had shared with Beverley that, even though her dad was home, she had trouble staying occupied. Beverley knew that Kiara was an avid artist, so she decided to give her an overflowing basket of art supplies. Beverley hoped the art supplies would give Kiara “something to show and talk to her brother about when they meet.”
Paying it Forward
This act of kindness was particularly meaningful to Beverley because her own husband is also in treatment for cancer. At the time of her act, he was facing yet another operation. “Knowing what he has been through,” admits Beverley, “I cannot imagine what it is like to have a child going through it.”
During their own treatment journey, Beverly’s family have themselves received support from the same community. Beverley explained that her act was a way to “pay it forward” and thank all those who have helped her own family.
A minor difficulty Beverley faced, though, was shopping in the Australian outback. Living in a small village, Beverley found that many items on her list were out of stock. Still, she managed to find what she needed. She also picked up some cosmetics for Kiara and Adam’s mother. These comfort items would be “a reminder of how much people were thinking about her.”
To top it all off, Beverley raised extra funds for the family through a “non-uniform day” fundraiser. This is a special day when students can donate a small sum to skip their uniforms and wear regular clothes.
Kindness in Common
Kiara’s father was “overwhelmed” that the community came together to support his family. Through tears, he said he was “amazed that a charity would think about people like him.”
There is an old saying that if you are feeling bad, you should do something nice for someone else. This was especially true for Beverley. She admits that “it was great to help someone else” while dealing with her own struggle. Beverley says Kiara still thanks her every time they see each other at school!
Kiara and Beverley’s shared cancer experience lent extra meaning to this act of family support. And as Beverley happily shared, “The smile on Kiara’s face made it all worthwhile.”
Local acts add up to global good
Do you have an idea for an act of kindness in your own community? Random Acts can help with that! Contact your local Random Acts Regional Representative for information on Sponsored Acts or any other help you need to turn your idea into a reality.