Mum's dying wish: How you can help
THIS Christmas may be Nicole Flood's last with her children, Jai and CJ.
The Rockhampton mother, who has been battling brain tumours for years, was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer behind her knee at the start of the year, and was told by doctors that she had only six months to live.
The cancer has led to Ms Flood's leg being amputated and metastases in her lungs, with over 50 cancers found within them.
On Friday morning, she was rushed to hospital to have a cannula inserted for her chemotherapy.
But her first priority is her children.
"We first met Nikky approximately 12 months ago through her son, Jai, and Jai has been a part of Project Booyah," said Senior Constable Joe Ramsay.
The police-run leadership and mentor program was designed for at-risk youth struggling at school, at home or within the community.
"To try and get them back on track, try and get them re-engaged with school, or re-engaged with the community or maybe work, whatever way we can help them."
The program has been running in Rockhampton for two years, with teenagers like Jai, 15, taking advantage of "learning, decision making and problem solving exercises, resilience training, policing strategies and family inclusive principles."
"He was just nominated by the school that he was going to... with his mother being really sick, he was just getting a little bit off track with his studies and his work, so that's why the school got in contact with us," said Sen Const Ramsay.
Project Booyah has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money and to ensure Nicole's children will receive help where needed, as well as things such as supplies and meals.
Through Project Booyah's Step Program, Jai completed a certificate II in hospitality at CQU, a certificate that provides the teenagers involved in the program with a "position where they have to speak to people, where they have to interact with the public so they can't just hide ... they have to actually be involved and improve their communication skills, which they all manage to do."
Child mental health organisations such as Headspace have also come on board to lend a hand to youngsters dealing with mental health issues, on top of the Step Program's incentive in building self- awareness and making them take notice of how they deal with themselves and others.
"It does go up and down, we are dealing with ... kids who find school difficult or who find people difficult, but the graduation rate for this group will hopefully be 100 per cent," Sen Const Ramsay said.
"With all other groups it's been around 90 per cent in Rockhampton and then having them re-engage with schooling, work or other education facilities, we're looking at about the 90 per cent as well. So, for Rocky, we are going really well."
When Jai graduated Project Booyah this year, Nicole was in Brisbane hospital, watching his graduation via a video link while recovering from the painful removal of her leg.
But she has refused to take the cancer lying down.
"As far as Nikky goes handling the cancer, it's a secondary thing," Sen Const Ramsay said.
"She battles it with all her might and she doesn't take any crap from it, so to speak. She wishes she could kick it in the butt. But always her priority, whenever you speak to her, is always about Jai and all about CJ and getting things right for them before she goes.
"She just wants to forge some good memories and some good things in place for them.
"So we're trying to keep Jai on track and make sure his studies are going well, support CJ as well, try and find her a job - she is finishing grade 12 this year."
CQU donated a table at their Melbourne Cup lunch to raise money for the family, and with repairs needed on their mower, their car, as well as a couple of other things around the house, the family needs all the help it can get.
"We're not going anywhere," said Sen Const Ramsay.
"We'll be there to help Jai and CJ as much as we can for moving on to the future, whether that's helping them with their studies or helping them get a job, whatever the case may be."