By PHILIP CHANDLER
Who said Queenstown doesn’t have a heart?
Local woman Stacey McDonald’s blown away at the response when she asked Queenstown businesses to help an Aucklander with stage 4 skin cancer enjoy a trip of a lifetime.
She’d put her plea on social media with a link to a story on Gemma Malins — who was
eventually diagnosed last October — in which she said her bucket list included a family trip to Queenstown to see snow and to go horse riding.
‘‘I thought, ‘look, I could do that, we could organise something’,’’ McDonald says, ‘‘and [the response] just went nuts.
‘‘I really couldn’t believe it — the businesses of Queenstown, we’re all doing it tough, yet I was totally overwhelmed and humbled.’’
Malins and her husband Brandon — they married last December — flew into Queenstown last Monday, on her 28th birthday, and they then enjoyed three free nights at the five-star Sofitel and the next five at Southern Lakes Escapes.
Heli Glenorchy took them to the top of the Remarkables so Gemma could sample snow
for the first time, and Moonlight Stables granted her horse riding wish.
Between times they were treated to the likes of iFLY Indoor Skydiving and Onsen Hot Pools, free meals and wine tasting and other gifts and a photo shoot at Jack’s Point with Lily & Rose Photography.
Brandon, who celebrated his 21st here last Sunday, says ‘‘it’s been a privilege to get
Gemma down here and complete her wishes’’.
‘‘We’re so grateful to all the people who have put this together, and especially Stacey, who organised the whole trip.’’