Queenstown wraps family in love

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Overwhelmed: Elaine Iketau, who was diagnosed with cancer last month, with hubby Daniel Milo and kids Lorielle, left, 6, and Lalakai, 9

A mum of two diagnosed with terminal cancer just over a month ago has no words to describe the generosity of Queenstowners.

Elaine Iketau, 31, arrived in the resort on Monday with new hubby Daniel Milo, and kids Lorielle and Lalakai, for a dream holiday through the Race4Life Trust.

She’s overwhelmed by the support of local businesses who have gifted freebies to make the trip possible.

The family from Auckland has been luging at Skyline, visited Queenstown Ice Arena, been put up in a posh pad at Peppers Beacon on Lake Esplanade and eaten at numerous restaurants.

They’ve also been amazed by the warmth of strangers in the hospo industry.

Staffers have “spoilt” them and she reckons saying thanks just doesn’t cover it.

Milo describes the trip on TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak as extravagant.

“I had to go and thank the [Walter Peak] chef as it is the nicest food we have ever had. We are thankful and grateful for the hospitality of Queenstown.”

It hasn’t been easy as they come to terms with the reality of why they have been given the opportunity.

“This is great and all but it is hard – it is tough and we’ve had a few teary eyes,” he adds.

The couple have never been to Queenstown and Iketau describes flying in as dream-like.

They’ve been together 11 years and got married in Auckland last Saturday.

She’s suffering from stage four pancreatic neuroendocrine carcinoid cancer.

The outlook isn’t good.

Surgery isn’t an option for the rare cancer. Her only hope is getting specialist therapy which isn’t available in New Zealand.

The family needs to raise $50,000 for the treatment, which can be performed in Australia.

Iketau started chemo on Sunday and despite feeling “tired and spewish” has been able to enjoy her time in Queenstown.

Hubby Daniel describes her as a fighter.

But Iketau has been told there is no cure and she hasn’t been given a timeframe for how long she has to live.

“Medically it looks like the odds are stacked against me.”

Race4Life wish coordinator Alex van Tuyl says the trip acts as a distraction.

“When they are out enjoying their experiences, their sad circumstances fade away and they live in the moment and enjoy making special memories.”

Lone Star franchise owner Dave Gardiner, one of those who stumped up a freebie, says local businesses are happy to help where they can.

“Business is one thing but when you are dealing with a life-threatening illness it is rewarding we can look after them.”

To help Elaine, visit her Givealittle page: givealittle.co.nz/cause/life4mywife

louises@scene.co.nz