Community aid eases the pain

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 29/11/2013
liam crutcher
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/ Fairfax NZ

KIND DONATION: Phil and Wendy Crutcher, with their son Liam, accept a cheque for $2905 from Countdown duty manager Debra Cameron, left, and store manager Trish Chittock.

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Everyday essentials are not the only things people have had on their minds when supermarket shopping in Church St in Timaru.

The community donated $1905 through a Countdown initiative in support of Timaru toddler Liam Crutcher earlier this month.

Fourteen-month-old Liam was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a cancerous tumour on his liver, when he was just nine months old.

He has since had the tumour removed, along with his gall bladder and two thirds of his liver. He has also had chemotherapy.

Liam's parents, Wendy and Phil, were amazed by the support of their community.

They arrived at the supermarket to accept their cheque yesterday. It was made out for $2905 after head office agreed to match the amount raised dollar for dollar, up to $1000.

The in-store fundraising initiative was part of Countdown's Giving Local programme. Shoppers gave to the cause at the checkout, while others donated directly to the family, duty manager Debra Cameron said.

Mrs Cameron's son, Connor Dellabarca, 11, busked for the cause, raising $85. Raffles and sausage sizzles were also held. A member of the public also donated 10 bicycles to be sold, with money from the sales going towards the initiative.

Mrs Crutcher said the money would go a long way to helping the family get back on their feet.

The Crutchers had put their mortgage on hold, but were still left with the accruing interest. They also had a mounting credit card bill, having been forced to use it to pay their other bills, Mrs Crutcher said.

She said Liam's ongoing treatments at Starship children's hospital in Auckland meant their income took a hit. "It relieves the pressure now we are back at work and having to start paying those bills and things," she said.

"[The money donated] just restores your faith in the community. It's nice to think people will give up their own time to help you without being asked."

Liam is now back home, treating those he meets to plenty of smiles.

"It's looking like he won't need any more chemo ... but we don't know if he's going to require any more treatment yet. We'll just have to wait and see."

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- The Timaru Herald

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