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South Auckland rocks!

JAY BOREHAM
Last updated 08:11 14/09/2012
Sth Akland
JAY BOREHAM

GO MANUKAU: Lily, 3, Hailie, 9, baby Molly with mum Susan and Jackie Mead are all stoked with their new bikes and want to give a big shout out to Manukau.

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All 8-year-old cancer patient Jackie Mead wanted was her bike back.

Instead she and her sisters have been overwhelmed by the generosity South Aucklanders have shown after their bikes were stolen while the family was out collecting money for the Cancer Society's annual Daffodil Day appeal.

Jackie's outraged mum Susan contacted the Manukau Courier last week after scrap metal scavengers took the bikes.

But she's had her faith restored after being overwhelmed by the response from Courier readers.

"It has been truly amazing. I am humbled by it all - South Aucklanders rock. Thank you so much for your kindness, it has been really awesome."

Calls came flooding in from readers who wanted to help out after reading about the plight of Jackie's family in last Thursday's issue.

There were multiple offers of bikes with many children offering to sacrifice their own rides for the Mead girls.

And after they were told the bikes had been replaced, readers still wanted to find ways to help.

The family has been shocked by the response.

"South Auckland does take care of its own - it really really does," Ms Mead says.

"We got more response from this than when we pleaded for Jackie's liver."

When Jackie was 2 her parents turned to the national media in a last-ditch effort to get their girl a transplant when health services said she couldn't have one.

Public sentiment at the time forced the health service to give Jackie the operation but only one person had contacted the family to give support.

"A lovely lady from Christchurch sent Jackie her support and a book," Ms Mead says.

Normally the family shies away from publicity because of the way it was treated the first time, Ms Mead says.

But the theft was the final straw after years of pain.

At eight weeks old Jackie was left brain-damaged and blind after being given the wrong medication for a liver disorder. Then at 2 she was given a hepatitis B-infected kidney transplant which led to cancer.

Alongside medical woes the family has been plagued by multiple burglaries.

Even when gifted an escape to Australia by the Make-A-Wish Foundation family members returned home to find their house burned down and car stolen.

The theft of the bikes brought those bad memories back, Ms Mead says.

But with the support of South Auckland the family is now looking forward instead of dwelling on the past.

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- Manukau Courier

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