IT WAS Patrick Coombes’s preschool’s turn to rally behind their little mate, incorporating a fundraiser into its annual open day this month.
Staff and children at Manilla Community Preschool were devastated when they heard four-year-old Patrick – a student at the preschool – had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour earlier this year.
“He was here with us on a Thursday and diagnosed that Saturday with his brain tumour,” director Jenny Bridge said.
“It was such as shock for us as well as the family.
“So beautiful and healthy one minute and then sick with this inoperable brain tumour the next – it’s a devastating turn of events, really.”
A sausage sizzle, jumping castle and face painting – normally free of charge – were offered up for a gold-coin donation, with all proceeds going to the Patrick Coombes Family Appeal.
Lucky dips for the kids and a raffle added more to the kitty, which Mrs Bridge estimates to be a few hundred dollars.
“The weather was just beautiful. The day was lovely and well supported by different members of the community as well as our preschool family,” she said.
Mrs Bridge said the Coombeses were valued members of the community and always worked tirelessly to not only support the preschool and St Michael’s school, where Patrick’s sister now attends, but any local event.
Unsurprisingly, then, it’s not the first community-related fundraiser for little Patrick.
The whole town banded together last month for a concert at Pioneer Park, raising more than $5500 to help the family financially while they are away from home.
Patrick is undergoing treatment at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital and returns home on weekends.
Mrs Bridge said staff and children alike dearly missed the “delightful little boy” and were keeping their fingers crossed for his timely return.
“The kids certainly do miss him very much. We have photos everywhere,” she said.
“Patrick is still one of our preschool children and we’re hoping after his treatment at Westmead – that treatment should finish in a couple of weeks – he’ll be back for next term.”
Meanwhile, there is another fundraiser for Patrick – this time via his mum Emma’s employer, Kensell’s Holden, which is organising a night at Oxley Bowling Club on October 12.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Patrick Coombes Family Appeal can do so by contacting the Manilla Community Mutual Group Bank.