Family ‘overwhelmed’ with support after cancer diagnosis
THE Blackall community has raised close to $17,000 for one of its own who was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer during the pandemic.
Stephen Negus, 50, and his wife Linda knew something was wrong in December.
The father of two started getting tests and scans when he dropped about six kilos in two weeks and was constantly lethargic, which was far from his usual upbeat self.
Mr Negus was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer on his liver on March 20, a rare form of cancer that forms tumours and can aggressively spread to other parts of the body.
His 21-year-old daughter Sophie Negus says her dad, who is a council ranger, is a “big bushy” and loves animals of all shapes and sizes.
“It was really hard to take in,” she said.
“He’s always such an independent person who can do everything for himself.
“It’s really hard to wrap your head around that something like this is happening.”
Sophie said her dad was always keen to lend a hand to anyone in need, whether it be family, friends or anyone in the Blackall community.
“His home had an open door for anyone who was keen or in need of a chat, have a laugh and enjoy a drink to remind them life is good,” she said.
When news of the diagnosis spread through the community, the family was inundated with requests to help and kind gestures, which lead Sophie to start a GoFundMe page.
The family was overwhelmed when the donations kept coming in, with the page reaching $16,936 within weeks.
“We just couldn’t believe it,” she said.
“Mum and dad were very overwhelmed with how generous people were.
“It’s just awesome to see the change people can make when everyone gets together.
“Everyone really felt at ease that they were helping in some way.”
Others donated fuel cards, grocery cards and transferred money directly to their bank accounts to help out.
Sophie said the money raised would give them one less thing to worry about over the coming months, and would supply travel costs, accommodation, food for the animals at home and any unprecedented costs along the way.
“Words can’t described how thankful we were,” she said.
“Mum was in tears, she was so overwhelmed and so appreciative for what everyone had done. They definitely didn’t expect it.”
Although Mr Negus doesn’t like travelling far from home, he and his wife will leave the dogs, cows, chickens and goats at home and head to Rockhampton to undergo surgery and carry out ongoing treatment.
“He’s a bloke that enjoys just the simple things in life and being given this horrible news, has certainly shocked us all, but we know he can make it out the other side,” Sophie said.