Queenstown Inc rallies round


Local businesses and individuals have “spoiled rotten” a cancer-stricken five-year-old and her Northland family holidaying in Queenstown.

Charlie Powell is fighting a rare grade 4 brain cancer and has already endured three surgeries and radiation treatment in less than two years.

Trying to maximise her daughter’s life, her mother Sarah Powell wanted her to experience snow and, because she loves wolves, dog-sledding.

She didn’t waste time booking a holiday when she found the dog-sledding season didn’t have long to run.

“And because of the nature of her brain cancer, she mightn’t be here next year.”

Journeying from Dargaville, Sarah, Charlie and her three older siblings arrived in Queenstown on September 8 and spent a week at the Child Cancer Foundation’s Arrowtown holiday home.

Sarah had also asked a local Facebook ‘friend’ Shane Mark, whom she’d never met, for must-do suggestions while they were here.

Mark in turn told friend Amber Jamieson, who took to social media to ask for help.

Jamieson was inundated with offers.

As a result, Sarah and her family took up more than 25 offers over the past two-and-half weeks including hot air ballooning, jetboating, restaurants, cookies, T-shirts, nails and flowers, along with acc-ommodation at “a completely discounted rate”.

Sarah says a painter and decorator even shouted them a helicopter ride which included a snow landing.

“The only issue was trying to manage her sickness in conjunction with living it up.”

What Queenstown did for her family was “crazy”, she says.

“I just want to make sure everyone realises how grateful we are for the opportunities we’ve been given and the memories it’s allowed us to create.

“We’ve been absolutely spoiled rotten.”

Charlie’s already had six brain tumours removed but still has two more.

After the family flew out yesterday, she was due for an MRI scan in Auckland today.

Charlie’s progress on Facebook, ‘charlieschallengenz’