Truckie’s hardest road
AS a child, everyone at Mooloolaba State School knew Chris Beer for his flaming red hair, memorable surname and having no right ear, due to microtia.
As an adult, the wider community know Chris for the years he spent helping the region’s underdogs, using his ute to collect items or carry out tip runs for pensioners and those who were doing it tough and only charging the cost of the fuel to do it.
But now the man who made life easier for countless people across the Coast has had to reach out for help.
Chris was diagnosed with melanoma after a scab on the right ear he’d had partially created through 13 surgeries turned out to be malignant.
A truck driver by trade, the 42-year-old said the combination of having the sun beating down on the right side of his face and his fair complexion had sown the seeds for the cancer, which specialists found had made its way onto the bone through a tumour.
Determined to carry on with life as usual for the sake of his children India, 13, and Tarquin, 10, Chris has maintained a positive attitude.
“It’s happened, there’s not much you can do but battle it and go from there,” he said.
Now that he has recovered from the eight-hour operation to remove the tumour from the right side of his head, Chris is set to have some teeth removed from his top jaw to prevent tooth decay caused by the six weeks of intensive radiation therapy he will undergo next month.
Chris has just started work with Dave’s Transport and although they are holding onto his job for when he is fully recovered, Chris has had to take time off to go through treatment and was struggling to keep on top of the day to day bills, including rent.
“At the moment, I am receiving some help from Centrelink, but I get $660 a fortnight and by the time my $500 a fortnight rent comes out, there’s not a lot left to keep me and the kids going,” he said.
“Between now and the end of August will be the hardest part, I will be driving to Brisbane five days a week for six weeks and it is costing me $40 a day to go down to Brisbane and pay for parking just to get a dressing changed.”
Knowing her brother would not ask for help, Chris’ sister Leanne Baldwin set up a Go Fund Me account, asking people to donate what they can to help Chris pay for his rent and living expenses while he was undergoing treatment.
“I hate asking for help only because I know there are a lot of people out there who are worse off than me,” Chris said.
Leanne said they had already raised enough money to pay for three weeks worth of rent and she hoped to be able to provide more peace of mind for Chris and their children by boosting the tally as much as possible.
“As much as he doesn't like to ask for help, he won’t be able to do this financially on his own,” she said.
“We have been overwhelmed by the response so far.
“Chris would do anything for anyone else in a heartbeat and he has paid it forward on a lot of things in his life, so we hope that community spirit will now get behind him and his children.”
Thomas Matyas was one of those on the receiving end of Chris’ good will.
He has set up an online auction of a mobility scooter on the Sunny Coast and Glasshouse Mountains Community Notice Board.
Every cent from the auction, which ends on July 31, will go to Chris.
To donate, visit https://www.gofundme.com/2rgwckv4 or to participate in the online auction, join the Facebook group to bid on the post.
Alternatively, you can donate directly into Chris’s fundraising account under the name of Leanne Baldwin, BSB 638010 Account number 12810975.