Despite ringing the bell to signify the end of his treatment at Westmead Hospital earlier this year, Xaviah Stimpson’s family received the devastating news just months later that his brain cancer had metastasised in his spine, with Xaviah referred to palliative care.
Now, his teachers at Oxley Park Public School are doing everything they can to support the family, topped off with a fundraising event that’s set to be fun for the whole community.
Leanne Ritchie has been coordinating the event with the school’s Parents and Citizens Association, stating that doing the fundraiser was an easy decision.
“The idea came from our P&C – they wanted to do a fundraiser for Xaviah,” she said.
“We did one last year with big raffles and our Footy Fever day, and this year, after hearing that Xaviah’s cancer had returned, we, as a school and as a P&C, wanted to do something to support the family.”
Together, they came up with the idea for a movie night at the school this Friday, October 13, with over 30 market stalls and food trucks also to be set up on the night.
Ritchie said she has been overwhelmed by the support she’s received from the school and broader community.
“Our Parents and Citizens Association have gotten on board, all of our staff are on board and will be here on the night giving up their time to run this event at the school for the family, and any proceeds that we make will go straight to Xaviah’s family,” she said.
“We’ve been given cash donations from a company called Tetris, who have generously paid for half of our movie screen. People have also donated all of the food – so the sausages and onions and sauces and bread are being donated by local businesses. That just means we can try to make as much money as we can for the family.”
Though she said they have no monetary goal, Ritchie said that everyone is aiming to put on a fun night for the family.
“Ultimately, we just want to provide a night for Xaviah and his family to come together with the community to know that they’re really supported by our families here,” she said.
“Financially, anything we make would be amazing for them!”
With invitations now sent and flyers dispersed, Ritchie is hoping to see everyone at the school on the night.
“We’ve got plenty of families that have already purchased tickets, and tickets will be available on the night,” she said.
“It isn’t just families from Oxley Park, it’s open to the general public as well. People can come down from 5pm, the movie will start at about 8pm when it gets dark.”
Cassidy Pearce is a news and entertainment journalist with The Western Weekender. A graduate of the University of Technology Sydney, she has previously worked with Good Morning Macarthur and joined the Weekender in 2022.