How one young boy's kindness inspired a community
WHEN St Peter's Jett Hansen heard on school parade last year the heart-wrenching story of Hannah Tarlington's battle with brain cancer, he felt compelled to act.
The 11-year-old hurried home from school that afternoon and asked his parents Sarah and Brett if there was something they could do to help.
While Jett did not know Hannah, he knew of her as she was in the class above him at The Cathedral College, where he is now in Year 7.
The parents of three young children themselves, the Hansens were equally moved and so the fundraiser Saturday for Hannah was born.
It became a reality at the weekend, and the Hansen family raised a grand total of $3191.60 from the event at their Rockhampton cafe, The Green Eat.
Speaking among the throng of people at the cafe on Saturday, Jett was clearly thrilled at the public response.
"It made me feel sad at the time when I heard Hannah's story but when mum and dad said we could do the fundraiser that picked me up a little bit,” he said.
"I was really hoping that Hannah was able to kick cancer's butt.
"I'm feeling really happy and excited for her. We've raised a lot of money already and it's only 9.30am.”
The Hansens donated $2 from every coffee and juice they sold on Saturday, while Queensland Yoghurt Rockhampton donated yoghurt pots with the full proceeds going to the fund.
Three of Hannah's young friends sold $1200 in tickets for a monster raffle, which features prizes donated by local businesses.
Hannah's older sister Nicole was at the cafe and Facetimed Hannah so she could see for herself the support from the Rockhampton community.
"I had a few tears this morning. It's very beautiful that everyone would come down and support Hannah and our family, people we don't even know have come down,” she said.
"I never expected a turnout like this. It's awesome, it's a really good feeling.”
And of Jett's wonderful gesture she said: "It's really amazing that such a little boy thought of doing something so nice and supportive.”
Sarah said her family was overwhelmed by the generosity and support of the Rockhampton community that had made the day such a success.
And she and Brett were understandably proud of their son.
"This is by far one of our proudest moments as parents. No amount of A-plus report cards or sporting medals can ever compare to this sort of kindness,” she said.
Sarah received a Facebook message from Hannah on Sunday night which, she said, made all the work worthwhile.
"Raising money was the main goal but we also wanted to lift Hannah's spirits, which can sometimes be the difference when you're in this kind of fight,” she said.
"We received a message from Hannah last night. She said she wanted to say thank you but she didn't know just how to say it.
"She told us she was the happiest girl in the world and that was all the thank you we needed.
"That message gave me goosebumps, it was really heart-warming.”