Heartbroken family say 'thank you' for love and support
IN RESPONSE to widespread community support after the tragic passing of his wife, a Wollongbar man has paid the support forward.
Josh Cleary and his daughter Bella Joy, 2, have donated $1500 to the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service after losing wife and mum, Renee, to a brain haemorrhage, because of the service's dedication to helping others.
Renee was airlifted to the Gold Coast on March 25 and put in the intensive care unit in an induced coma, before passing away nine days later on April 4.
The community has rallied behind the Cleary family offering love and financial help, which Josh said has been "incredibly, amazingly overwhelming".
Part of this includes a Go Fund Me Page which has raised $10,933 by 133 people in one month, and a trivia fund-raising night hosted by the Cherry St Bowling Club which raised $10,856.10.
"It turned into a really big night and I'm just trying to pay it all forward with donating to the helicopter because it was Renee's second trip in it," Josh said.
"In 2012 she had something very similar ... and she walked away from that pretty much with brain damage but you wouldn't pick it.
"She went back to living 100 per cent a normal life, back to work and got an extra seven years and then it all came around again.
"It's one day at a time and one foot in front of the other at the moment, and I just want to thank everyone."
He said huge help and support had come from people including family friend and neighbour Tara-Lee Buggy, Danielle Cadwell and the rest of his street, the West Tower Tavern Social Golf Club, Cherry Street Bowling Club, Mandy Nolan for hosting/MC the fundraising night, Blanches for their bus services, Josh's work and colleagues and the wider community.
To the helicopter service, Josh said, "Just keep doing what you're doing".
"One day I might need them, one day Bella might need them, and we always donate what we can.
"The first time Renae went in the helicopter I wasn't in a financial enough position to give and now with all the support and help I've had I wanted to pay it forward.
"My brother-in-law also did his own donation because he thought one day he might need the service too."