Residents dig deep for Andrew

GLADSTONE you've done it again.

Only three days after The Observer ran a story on Andrew Hayman's plight, the Gladstone community has pledged thousands of dollars to help him out.

Twelve-year-old Andrew was diagnosed with Osteo Genesis Imperfecta (commonly known as Brittle Bone disease) at birth. Unlike most people, his bone density becomes weaker rather than stronger.

The Tannum Sands youngster is in urgent need of funds to purchase an electric wheelchair for a greater quality of life.

Yesterday his step-father, Brad Long, said he had been bowled over by the offers of help.

"Since it's been in the paper, it's been great,'' Mr Long said. "I didn't expect what's happened.

"A lot of the people who have donated money aren't doing it for any particular reason.''

He said the response was a testament to the quality of people in the region. "We live in a great community,'' he said. "We tell the kids that all the time. We live in the best part of the world.''

Funds will be raised with the hosting of The Observer's Christmas in November Showcase on Sunday, November 28. But since Monday's story The Observer office has received dozens of offers of help in-kind and cash. One of the businesses leading the charge was Choice Petroleum, pledging on Monday to donate 10 cents per litre of fuel purchased from the Tank Street outlet.

Choice Petroleum partner Paul Ryan said the offer would apply from now until the end of November.

"As a father of four you wouldn't wish his situation on anyone,'' Mr Ryan said. "It was a spur of the moment decision to do this offer.''

Mr Ryan said it was hoped local residents would assist the fundraising campaign, with about $3000 to $5000 expected to be raised from the fuel offer.

Yesterday radio station 4CC added their support to the cause and received much needed support live on air.

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