Support continues to build for Stoker family
By DAVID BANCROFT
VETERAN charity fundraiser Bernie Barron described it as a 'very gratifying experience'.
He had just walked the business houses of Prince Street, Grafton, seeking donations for a charity fundraising auction to support the Stoker family.
Mark and Cindy Stoker, who have just moved from Brushgrove to be closer to medical facilities at Maclean, have both been diagnosed with brain tumours and have limited life expectancy.
Cindy, who has a number of other tumours, has a life expectancy of only a few months. Mark's is longer, but his condition is incurable.
The couple has four children aged between six and 14 who, at some stage in their young lives, will have to face life without either parent.
On hearing of their plight, Member for Clarence Steve Cansdell and the service clubs of the Clarence Valley banded together to raise money to help the family.
One of the main fundraising initiatives is a monster auction to be held at the Grafton Showground on July 31.
Mr Barron, of the Grafton Lions Club, yesterday visited about 80 businesses seeking support for the auction and had only one refusal.
"Everyone said 'yes, we know about that ... it is terrible'," he said.
"They were very keen to help.
"A lot of shoppers, who saw me with posters, just came up to me with donations.
"It makes you feel pretty good to live in a place that is so generous."
But Mr Barron said the family would need all the help it could get, and urged others in the community to make tax deductible donations to the Stoker Family Trust at any branch of the Bananacoast Credit Union or, if they had goods they could donate for auction, to contact Kim Dahl Real Estate on 66423666.
The Grafton Rotary Club also intends to provide all the proceeds of its charity golf day to the appeal and the service clubs of the Lower Clarence are organising their own fundraisers for the family. Details of those have not been finalised.