Relay for Life fundraiser Debbie Kurikka with her children Joshua, 5, Aiden, 7, and Emily, 10. Aiden lost an eye to cancer.
Relay for Life fundraiser Debbie Kurikka with her children Joshua, 5, Aiden, 7, and Emily, 10. Aiden lost an eye to cancer. Alistair Brightman

Relay for Life entrant has fundraising success via Facebook

SOCIAL media often gets a bad rap but when used to help others, it can work a treat.

When Hervey Bay's Debbie Kurikka - mum to eye cancer survivor Aiden - decided earlier this year that she would enter Relay For Life, she had no idea the response she would get from the local business community and online.

"The support I got straight up from the businesses I approached was unbelievable - they didn't hesitate," she said.

"Most of the businesses I contacted through Facebook and if they didn't donate a prize for auction, they made a cash donation."

Aiden was three when Debbie and husband Tim noticed in a photo that he had a white glow in his left eye - a sign of retinoblastoma.

Tests confirmed Aiden had a tumour and after 18 months of treatment, the family made the decision to have the eye removed to prevent the possible spread of the cancer along the optic nerve.

Four years later, Aiden is coping well with his restricted vision.

"Aiden has adjusted to single eye vision really well, considering the fact that he only has one eye and he has no perception of 3D objects. Everything is seen in 2D," Debbie said.

"But he takes part in sports at school, and has adjusted to his limitations really well. And he wants to play soccer next season."

Debbie said she was overwhelmed by the number of prizes offered by local businesses - so much so, she didn't know what to do with them.

A friend suggested auctioning the prizes through a page on Facebook, which proved a simple but effective way of raising money.

"I have also received cash donations made by friends and family, who live locally, interstate and internationally," Debbie said.

"Some of the friends, who have donated, I haven't seen in person since I left school in 1988. And others I have never met and only know through Facebook."

Debbie is part of the team Yarrilee Crusaders and Co, a group of Yarrilee State School students, parents and teachers doing the Relay For Life together on September 14 and 15 at Seafront Oval.

To donate or join the team, head to www.relayforlife.org.au, click on Sponsor or Join and search by name or location.

You can participate in the Facebook auctions by searching for the page Bid in the Bay (all new) and joining the group.



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