It’s a weekend that has proved that old-fashioned compassion and community spirit can be harnessed by the most modern of technology.
On Saturday The News front page reported the story of Clare Baillie, a mum of four who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Originally it was colon cancer, but now the disease has spread to other parts of her body and after being told it was inoperable, Clare has decided not to undergo any more courses of chemotherapy.
Rather than prolong her life but be in considerable pain – and spend a lot of time in hospital – Clare said she would rather be around her family as much as possible.
To mark this, her friends launched a campaign to raise enough money to send her and the family to Disney World, a cause that we wholeheartedly backed.
The result has been stunning.
As Clare says, speaking this weekend after being discharged from hospital, it’s hard to put into words how it makes her feel. As well as many strangers across the area helping where they can, celebrities have joined in.
Vinnie Jones has pledged $5,000, Portsmouth-born Jon Stretton-Knowles will chip in £1,000, and so on. And Football for Cancer, the ever-growing local charity, has also promised to contribute.
It’s a wonderful community effort, and a testament to what can be achieved with organisation and drive.
And while the family say that there is still some fundraising to go – to cope with the cost of travel insurance and suchlike – they are delighted that the trip has in effect been secured by this weekend’s efforts.
Some people may recognise Clare because she took up the cause of Lucy Jenkins, a friend of hers who also had terminal cancer, last year, looking to send her and her family to Disney World. Sadly Lucy died before the holiday could happen, but that takes nothing away from Clare’s selflessness.
And while fundraising nowadays is based more on the hashtag and less on the tin-rattle, it proves generosity, consideration and kindness are eternal.