Giving to Sophie's family

Words cannot describe how it feels to have that kind of support

SONIA BEAL
Last updated 07:12 07/12/2012
Sophie Gilchrist
Scott Hammond

Renwick school pupil Sophie Gilchrist, centre, with classmates Mea Salton, left, and Teabo Norati. Sophie’s classmates yesterday presented her parents Michelle and Bryan Gilchrist with a cheque for $7000 they raised by producing and selling a cookbook

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The parents of 5-year-old Renwick School pupil Sophie Gilchrist were overwhelmed yesterday when her classmates handed them a cheque for $7000.

Sophie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in July.

Michelle and Bryan Gilchrist were at Renwick School yesterday morning to receive the money her classmates had raised through helping put together a cookbook for the family.

"We're overwhelmed," Mrs Gilchrist said, fighting back the tears. "The Marlborough community have shown such amazing generosity to our family.

"Words cannot describe how it feels to have that kind of support from them."

The children all contributed to the cookbook, which went on sale in early October. Their recipes include chocolate chip muffins, jammy dodgers, lemon squeeze and apple pie.

Sophie's teacher Sarah Tullett said they had sold more than 700 cookbooks to raise $7000.

"I bought 10," classmate Amelia Pillans said yesterday.

Ms Tullett told the Gilchrists yesterday no-one would like to be in their position. "We wouldn't wish it on anyone, and we thank you for letting us be a part of it."

Sophie has been having chemotherapy treatment in Nelson and Christchurch.

The Gilchrists had to be in Christchurch for six weeks after Sophie was diagnosed, staying at Ronald McDonald House.

Mrs Gilchrist said they were grateful for the financial assistance, which would go toward paying their bills.

Sophie's treatment would continue for about two years, and she had a 95 per cent of being cured, her mother said.

Sophie isn't going to school because the treatment had both tired her out and lowered her immune system, making her more susceptible to infections, Mrs Gilchrist said.

They hope she will be back at school fulltime by the end of March.

The Gilchrists hope to have Sophie home for Christmas after her next round of treatment finishes in Nelson on December 22.

"We can't make any plans - we just have to take every day as it comes. But it will involve family."

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- The Marlborough Express

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