Stella’s stall gives hope

Fundraiser: Stella Sim at February's market.
Fundraiser: Stella Sim at February’s market.

One of the regulars at Gordonton Country Market is holding a special stall this Saturday – she’s fundraising for Tiago, a two-year-old boy with cancer.

Stella Sim will sell donated food and crafts to help raise money for the Pinheiro family, whose son Tiago was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma early this year.

Tiago’s father Andre is from Brazil and moved to New Zealand with Jo, his Kiwi wife, a few years ago. They recently bought a house in Pukete, and only Andre is currently working.

Stella, who sells her own crafts at the market, also works with Andre at Fonterra. A work friend came up with the idea of raising some money to help the family.

“We were both in tears when we heard the news but wanted to do something to support them through these difficult times. Holding a stall at the Market seemed a good idea.”

At Christmas Tiago was running about, swimming, catching crabs at the beach. But in early January he started getting temperatures and within weeks was unable to walk because of pain. Since then he has undergone a number of procedures, including surgery to take a biopsy of the main tumour in his abdomen, and bone marrow punctures. He has almost completed one cycle of chemotherapy.

“Tiago is a lovely little boy,” says Stella. “For every treatment he gets a coloured bead. Black is for jabs, yellow for a night in hospital, white for chemo. All in order so you can see the changes in his therapy.”

Tiago with beads

Jo, his mother, says they don’t know what the year will bring, but she will not be returning to her job for quite some time. She is spending one or two weeks each month with Tiago in Auckland at Starship, while Andre looks after daughter Ruby, who is four. One of the first things they will need is a car for the daily kindy run – Andre’s bike won’t do it.

The stall at the market will sell items donated by others – on sale will be old-style food such as toffee apples, with new season apples donated by Fruitdale Orchard in Horsham Downs. Other treats include Turkish delight, cupcakes, sherbet dabs, peppermint creams, fudge, and homemade jams.

Handmade crafts include chopping boards, quilts, rustic furniture and art. Gourmet hampers, from Nosh, will also be raffled.  All proceeds will go to the family for day-to-day support, and to help provide a loving home for Ruby.

Jo says that Ruby understands that her brother is ill. “That he has yuckies in his tummy that need cooking to get rid of and that the medicine that is fixing the yuckies will make him very sick too.

“She is very courageous and watched Tiago have his injections this week, she knows he is brave. It is hard for her to understand why Mum doesn’t come home anymore and why Tiago gets Mum all to himself.”

Tiago, she says, has started a road to recovery. “I know we will be picked up and carried for some of this path, and other parts we will walk on our own. I have always believed that it takes a community to raise a child. I have discovered that it also takes a community to help a family in crisis.”

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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