Horse shows for good cause

Rallying around for teen's family

EMMA JAMES
Last updated 05:00 05/04/2014
In-hand Show Day
EMMA JAMES
HORSES FOR COURSES: Waitara Pony Club member Sammie Smith and Ruby take part in the In-hand Show Day, a fundraiser organised for New Plymouth teenager Jess Moorby who is undergoing cancer treatment in Auckland.

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The Taranaki equestrian community has banded together to help a New Plymouth family struggling to pay its bills while their daughter undergoes cancer treatment.

Jess Moorby, 19, was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma last October after an earlier bout of glandular fever had weakened her immune system.

She is undergoing treatment at Auckland Hospital after being diagnosed via a private clinic.

Her mother, Paula Harvey, had to leave her job at the Plymouth Hotel and move to Auckland late last year to be with her daughter, who is a former New Plymouth Girls' High student.

"The hardest part is probably the financial and mental strain, and not having a job to go to every day to keep you occupied," Harvey said who has another daughter, Lauren.

Jess finished a course of chemotherapy last month, which began in December, and starts radiation treatment later this month.

The Harvey family has been involved in equestrian circles in Taranaki for many years and the community has rallied around for them.

New Plymouth Girls' High School teacher Leah McLean, who knows Jess through Pony Club, has been organising "Just for Jess" horse shows to fundraise for her with the help of New Plymouth woman Stacey Tancred.

Jess, who had been studying in Auckland before she became ill, said she was really thankful for the efforts the women were making on her behalf.

"I'm extremely appreciative, grateful and honoured that they put aside their time to help me," she said.

So far the women have run two events and raised more than $700 for the family.

"The money we raised won't make a dent in the $30,000 it has cost them but it can go towards doing something special for Jess," McLean said.

"It wasn't so much about the fundraising, it was more about showing support for Jess."

Harvey said the support the family had received from the equestrian community was much appreciated. "It was absolutely awesome, every little bit helps.

"It's cost us over $20k so far, going to be more than $30k and that's not counting the unexpected $470-a-week for rent and other costs we have incurred over the six months."

Harvey said that Jess hoped to be able to return to university next year to study creative graphics.

People wanting to help the family can visit a donations page that has been set up at www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/justforjess.

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- Emma James is a Witt journalism student

- Taranaki Daily News

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