American writer Max De Pree once wrote that communities were places with a “common bond of interdependence, mutual interest, interlocking contributions, and simple joy”.
And joy, despite the obstacles of a blood cancer disease and an horrific burns incident, was in abundance at two Mountains fundraisers last week.
Former Blue Mountains City Councillor Kerry Kime was honoured at a fundraiser for 180 people at the Springwood Sports Club.
Organisers said they could have filled the club again, with many people turned away on the night.
And Wentworth Falls resident Andrew Jakeman —the former owner of Jakemans Framing —had 40 friends gather to raise money at the Blue Mist Cafe in Wentworth Falls.
The goal of the fundraisers was to help with medical expenses —both men have a long road ahead.
In recent years Mr Kime had his leg amputated from a blood cancer disease. Mr Jakeman has third degree burns below his waist after being involved in a fiery collision with a truck on the Great Western Highway at Blaxland shortly before Christmas.
Andrew Jakeman was unable to be at his evening - medical staff at the Royal North Shore Severe Burns Unit have only recently been able to help him sit up and feed himself in his hospital bed, but Kerry Kime delighted family and friends by making a heartfelt speech at the Springwood evening.
“We’re on such a high, I couldn’t sleep,” Mr Kime, a former Springwood butcher, told the Gazette the day after the event. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the community’s generosity,” wife Colleen Kime added. “It’s the best night we have had in a very long time... in the last ten years, Kerry has had nine lives.”
Over the years the Kimes have been involved in council, the Sister Cities Committee, netball, swimming, Springwood Foundation Day and much more. The Kerry Kime fundraiser raised about $20,000 which will go towards a new prosthetic leg as well as other medical expenses and home modifications to cater for his disability. Items auctioned by MC Mark Warren (son of broadcaster Ray) included boxing gloves signed by Kostya Tszyu and a signed NSW Blues State of Origin jersey.
The fundraiser for Andrew Jakeman raised $6000. His wife Sandra Jakeman told assembled guests she and Andrew were “overwhelmed”. Blue Mist cafe owner Alan Brown closed his doors to the general public for the night, donating his venue, staff and all the food.
Organiser Gary Seeger told the Gazette “I don’t think it matters whatever the difficult or tough times, when it’s a small village community; goodwill blossoms. “Andrew’s had a very bumpy ride and he still has a hell of a way to go. We’re celebrating Andrew’s strength, determination and courage... the tickets sold out quicker than a Stones concert,” the record producer added laughing.