Community rallies for brave little girl Piper

Jessica CuthbertGreat Southern Herald
Piper, Cayden and Franklin Collard
Camera IconPiper, Cayden and Franklin Collard

Inspirational Bali bombings survivor Phil Britten will speak in Katanning tonight at a fundraiser in honour of little Piper Collard.

Just weeks before her first birthday, Piper was diagnosed with stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma, her tiny body riddled with cancer tumours.

For the past 11 months, she has undergone rounds of chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiation therapy and an operation to remove parts of her tumours.

The treatment seemed to be going well until two weeks ago when Piper’s parents, Meagan and Laurence Collard, had their world turned upside down.

Her cancer was back.

Piper’s aunty, Bianca Wolfe, created a GoFundMe account to support the family and allow them to spend time with their daughter while they looked for alternative treatments. More than $100,000 has been raised in 10 days.

Now, the Katanning community is rallying together for the family.

St Patrick’s School will be hosting tonight’s fundraiser at the Katanning Leisure Centre from 6pm, with the support of the Shire of Katanning and Katanning Wanderers Football Club.

Principal Andrew Gammon said the Collards and the Wolfes were long-standing members of the St Patrick’s family.

“Piper’s mum (Meagan) went to the school, her two sisters went to the school and their mum Tania was the chairman of our board for a number of years,” he said.

“Tania still comes back and helps in the canteen even though she’s got no kids at the school. She’s just one of those people.”

Mr Gammon said the families had given so much to different areas of the Katanning community in. “Now it’s our time to return the favour to the family and do what we can,” he said.

Motivational speaker Phil Britten — a friend of Mr Gammon’s — will volunteer his time at the fundraiser.

As an ambassador for The Adventurers, a charity which raises money to find a cure for childhood brain cancer, Mr Britten said Piper’s story was close to his heart.

“I’m a father-of-three myself. I know this particular family are long-standing community members down there and it’s in these moments of hardship that all you can do is rally together,” he said.

“If it’s money they need or anything, you do it.

“As adults and parents we’ve already lived a life, but when a child comes into the world and doesn’t get a chance, it’s just heart-breaking. She’s already shown a fighting spirit and warrior spirit so everyone just needs to rally around her now.”

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