Albert Town rallies for Chuck

19:19, Apr 11 2010
Charlie Redwood with his mum Keighley Redshaw
MUM'S THE WORD: Charlie Redwood with his mum Keighley Redshaw.

The small community of Albert Town is rallying around the family of 2-year-old Charlie Redwood in his fight against cancer.

The preschooler, also known as "Chuck", was diagnosed with a malignant medulloblastoma brain tumour three weeks ago and was rushed to Starship children's hospital in Auckland for surgery.

The tumour was successfully removed and Charlie was now entering his second round of chemotherapy treatment in Christchurch, his father Rick Woodward said.

"He's doing well – he's a real little fighter. He has had one round of chemotherapy treatment and is about to start the second phase – I think it could be a bit harder this time. Obviously, we are all up and down but Charlie is holding his own." Charlie was in Christchurch with his mum Keighley Redshaw while Mr Woodward, a self-employed product manager, and the couple's 4-year-old daughter Emily visited every fortnight.

On Saturday hundreds of people turned out for a fundraising fiesta organised by members of the Albert Town community to help support the family and make it possible for them to spend more time together throughout the ordeal.

The normally quiet Albert Town street was abuzz with a garage sale, food stalls, children's games, pony rides and even a fortune teller.

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Co-organiser Rae Patterson said 10 households in the street had banded together to hold the event. The Small Frye Fund had also been established, with people able to donate money at the National Bank, and this Saturday the Albert Town Tavern's motorbike and classic car rally would also serve as a fundraiser.

"Something like this puts lots of financial stress on families. Rick has some funding to travel to Christchurch to visit Charlie but there is nothing for Emily.

"A reduction in work hours also added to the pressure," Ms Patterson said.

Manning a coffee stall at Saturday's event, Mr Woodward said the extent of community support had left him lost for words.

"It's very, very humbling. There's so many people here, I think everyone has come out."

Neighbours were also helping look after Emily and preparing meals, he said.

The Southland Times