COMMUNITY SUPPORT: The family of Lismore teen Georgia, 16, who has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer is
COMMUNITY SUPPORT: The family of Lismore teen Georgia, 16, who has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer is "overwhelmed by the wonderful support" of the community who are behind a fundraising event at the Lismore Workers Golf Club on Friday March 15 at noon. Supplied

Centrelink refuses to help leukaemia teen

UPDATE, 4.15pm: THE government has now responded to claims that Centrelink has refused help to Lismore's Georgia Bennett, who  is suffering from a rare and aggressive form of leukaemia.

Department of Human Services general manager, Hank Jongen, said his department appreciated it was an extremely difficult time for the family.

"Due to privacy, we are unable to provide comment about people's specific circumstances," he said.

"However, we can advise that we have been in contact with Mrs Bennett and will continue to do what we can to support her family to seek appropriate support."

Her case is the latest in a string of high profile incidents where very ill members of the public have been turned away from getting government help. 

In one case, a Queensland army veteran with a degenerative spinal disease, PTSD and memory loss was forced to apply for 20 jobs a month to get assistance. 

Original story: WHEN times are tough, the Lismore community comes together to help each other, and none more so than when a family faces a child diagnosed with a deadly disease.

So when Georgia Bennett, 16, was diagnosed with an extremely rare and highly aggressive form of leukaemia known as Blastic Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Neoplasm (BPDCN) on October 1, 2018, friends of the teen and her family stepped up.

This Friday at the Lismore Workers Golf Club, 144 people will tee off at midday to help raise funds for her life-saving treatments.

LWGC president Tim Gilmore said lots of local businesses and individuals had backed the March 15 event.

"We have a full field of 144 people," he said. "So many people and businesses have been incredibly supportive with many prizes ranging from signed State of Origin and Wallabies jerseys, a custom surfboard and so much more.

"People are welcome to come by, have a drink, buy a raffle ticket or bid at an auction item."

Her mother Kylie, who is by her daughter's side at the Queensland Children's Hospital, said she was overwhelmed by the community's support.

"We are currently in day plus eight since the bone marrow transplant," she said on Tuesday.

"Georgia's brother Nick turned out to be a compatible bone marrow donor, he's giving her his immune system."

The family and supporters have have created a GoFundMe Page to cover the costs of Georgia's treatments and so far more than $13,000 has been raised of the $50,000 target.

"Centrelink have twice rejected Georgia for a Healthcare Card saying she not sick enough," Mrs Bennett said.

"It took Centrelink two months to tell us we were rejected again for a carer's allowance."

Mrs Bennett said she's been incredibly frustrated by Centrelink and the tortuous red tape involved.

"I know we are not alone and other families are facing the same drama," she said

"There needs to be change in how Centrelink deals with families who are incredibly vulnerable while trying to navigate all the hoops to care for their child, no family should be put through this."

Mrs Bennett said her specialist felt in her opinion Centrelink are, "making it harder in the hope you give up."

"We will never give up on Georgia," she said.

"We are very grateful for the Leukemia Foundation for their amazing assistance."

It's been an emotional time for the family, particularly since Mrs Bennett said Georgia's best friend Shari Rose, 16, passed away in January from cancer.

Mrs Bennett said she's staying positive about her daughter's chance of recovery.

"Georgia is my hero," she said.

"I'm so grateful for every day."

Member for Page Kevin Hogan said he's contacted Centrelink to request they contact the family to revolve the matter.

Centrelink have been approached for comment.

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