By Luke Voogt
Jade Daly will spend her 18th birthday hosting Leukaemia Foundation’s biggest night in Geelong to honour her aunt.
“I find supporting the work the foundation does for families like mine more rewarding than a night out,” the Drysdale teen told the Indy.
Doctors diagnosed her aunt Allison Daly with myelofibrosis, a rare form of blood cancer, last year.
Allison recently underwent a bone marrow transplant and began chemotherapy two weeks ago.
Jade said her aunt was devastated that she would miss her five-year-old daughter’s first school concert in a couple weeks’ time.
“She’s really strong. But it’s hard for her because she wants to be active and do all the things that she can for her daughter.
“It’s sad for me to hear my five-year-old cousin saying ‘I don’t want to leave mama’ and get upset, so services such as accommodation near the hospital are really a great support for us.”
Jade, who studies event management at Gordon TAFE, volunteered to run this year’s Geelong Light the Night.
She said that the Leukaemia Foundation provided “amazing” services for those battling the disease and their families.
“It gives me more determination to make this event more successful.”
The event is not the first time Jade put birthday plans on hold for a good cause: she made an appointment to give blood on her 16th.
A busy schedule of volunteering meant a big night out would have to wait, she said.
“I’m volunteering at the (Surf Coast Light the Night) the next day so I don’t have time.”
Geelong’s Light the Night will take place at Steampacket Gardens on 22 September.
Jade urged Geelong residents to help her raise money for blood cancer research and celebrate those fighting leukaemia by visiting www.lightthenight.org.au.