School cooks up book for Sophie

SONIA BEAL
Last updated 11:30 28/09/2012
Sophie Gilchrist

Peer support: Renwick School pupil Sophie Gilchrist, 5, centre, with her supportive schoolmates, from left, Amelia Pillans, Eva Johnson, Lucy Foster, Sophie’s sister Izabel Gilchrist, Blake Packham and Riley Brophy

For Sophie
Fundraising venture: The cover of a cookbook that Renwick School and friends of the school have written to raise money for 5-year-old Sophie Gilchrist, who has leukaemia.

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After seven weeks of chemotherapy treatment, 5-year-old Sophie Gilchrist is back at school in time for the publication of a cookbook put together by schoolmates to help her family through a difficult time.

Sophie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at Wairau Hospital in July. She was treated at Christchurch Hospital's children's cancer ward, staying at Ronald McDonald House with her parents, Michelle and Bryan Gilchrist.

She returned to Marlborough at the end of August, and was back at Renwick School last week.

Mrs Gilchrist said the family's ordeal has been buffered by "overwhelming" community support.

Sophie's teacher, Sarah Tullett, said 40 pupils from the school's three new entrant-year 1 classes contributed to a cookbook to raise money for Sophie's family.

There was even a chocolate cake recipe from Prime Minister John Key.

Pupils had the choice of handwriting or typing up their recipes, and drawing or taking a photo of the finished product. Friends had also penned messages for Sophie throughout the book, which added a personal touch, she said.

Mrs Gilchrist said Sophie is receiving chemotherapy in Nelson every 10 days. Her treatment was continuing, but the future looked bright.

Her parents were pleased to see her looking like her usual self again.

"She's been really fantastic," Mrs Gilchrist said.

"Being back with friends has been quite amazing for her because she's missed that contact with people - she's missed her friends and all the normal things that happen in everyday life.

"We just want to thank the people of Marlborough," said Mrs Gilchrist, who had to give up her job to care for Sophie.

"The support from the community has been absolutely overwhelming.

"Without their support, financially, our situation would have been quite dire."

The cookbook, which will retail for $10, is due in stores either today or Monday next week.

It will be available at Renwick SuperValue, the Renwick Museum & Library, Countdown (Blenheim and Springlands) and Harcourts Marlborough.

To order a cookbook, call Rhonda Whelan on 03 578 3736.

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- The Marlborough Express

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