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Lifesaving Christmas gift

CHIDLOW mother of three Jan Rawstorne is preparing to fly to the eastern states next month for a lifesaving operation to remove a rare brain tumour.

The operation comes with a hefty price tag of $95,000, but the community has raised more than $80,000 from a massive Christmas hamper raffle that will cover the cost of the neurosurgery, hospital, flights and post-surgery accommodation.

Chidlow Growers Mart owner Kelvin Inder-Smith, better known as Blue, said a number of surgeons in Western Australia had refused to perform the surgery because of the tumour’s location deep inside her brain.

“Jan has had a horrendous time,” he said.

“She is very fortunate that neurosurgeon Charlie Teo, who is one of Australia’s top neurosurgeons, is willing to operate.

“But the cost needed to cover the surgery was well beyond the reach of Jan and her family, and it was hard for Jan to tell people she needed help.

“But some ladies at the shop put together a committee and organised a series of fundraisers with all proceeds donated straight into Jan’s fund.”

Blue said since Jan’s diagnosis the community has held raffles, cake stalls, silent auctions, an op shop party, sausage sizzle and quiz nights to raise funds for the surgery.

He said Jan was unable to secure any government funding for her operation.

“She is not able to get any funding from the Government for her illness and I’ve written letters trying to source funding for her to have the operation but I didn’t have any luck.”

Ms Rawstorne was diagnosed with the pineal cystic tumour in the centre of her brain in November 2014. She was told by her doctor she needed to get the growing tumour removed sooner rather than later. Ms Rawstorne said she was overwhelmed by the support from the community.

“The efforts by locals to help fund the cost of my operation has been bigger than Ben Hur,” she said.

“The doctors here in Perth didn’t want to touch me because the surgery is too invasive and there is the risk of stroke.

“However I went and saw Dr Teo in August for a consult and he is very confident it will be a successful surgery.”

Blue said he was proud of how the hills district had rallied together and raised $80,000 from the Christmas raffle.

“The hamper has everything you could possibly want for a fantastic Christmas,” he said.

“There is a boat, a barbeque, $180 seafood voucher, leg ham, wine and loads of other goodies for the Christmas table,” he said.

“People can buy a ticket from Chidlow Growers Mart for $5. The hamper will be drawn on Christmas Eve.”

Donations can also be made to a GoFundMe account and a Hero Saver Account in Jan’s name. Account number 009-5620 and BSB number 306-974.

By Sarah Brookes

About Sarah Brookes

Sarah is an award-winning journalist (2016 WA Media Awards - Best Three Suburban Newspaper Stories) who has covered our Mundaring and Kalamunda editions since 2011. She went to Eastern Hills Senior High School before studying chemistry and biology at university. Staring down a microscope two years into her degree she realised a future in science wasn’t for her – journalism was. Sarah lived in Europe before re-settling in Darlington, where her family has lived for three generations, with her two children. She has worked for various government agencies and Media Monitors. Sarah is a media junkie who loves talkback radio and devours the weekend papers.

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