Supa IGA Sun Valley staff Brenda Kiernan, Tanya Melksham, Mark Harley, Kristy Thorne, Karen Boyer and Tracy Taylor are helping out.
Supa IGA Sun Valley staff Brenda Kiernan, Tanya Melksham, Mark Harley, Kristy Thorne, Karen Boyer and Tracy Taylor are helping out. Luka Kauzlaric

Supa staff raise money to fund workmate's brain surgery

BRAIN surgeries are part of life for Ben Valery.

The 17-year-old suffers from hydrocephalus, which means there is excessive fluid in his brain.

To date, he has had 35 brain surgeries.

Supa IGA Gladstone and Calliope stores are working to raise support and awareness for his condition, and have raised more than $6000 to go towards his medical bills.

Supa IGA Sun Valley checkout operator Kristy Thorne said the team would do anything to help out a workmate.

"He gives 120% effort for work every day. He's had headaches constantly . . . but you wouldn't even know, because he just has this beautiful big smile on his face all the time. He's a credit to the company," she said.

Over the past four weeks, they have held fundraising events and have found the Gladstone community to be incredibly giving.

"The Gladstone community always pulls through with something like this," Kristy said.

Their fundraising efforts left Ben's mum, Kelleen Windsor, almost speechless.

"This means I can pay the medical bills without worrying sick. It has been very difficult to make ends meet," she said.

"You never imagine anything like this could ever happen to you.

"I do fundraising to support our charity, but I still just can't fathom that people have done this for us."

She said the money would go towards their transport and accommodation in Brisbane, his medical bills and cover some of their rent while she was unable to work.

Ben has had the condition since birth. It resulted from a brain haemorrhage when he was born three months premature.

"We just never know, we can spend months in Brisbane or Sydney for operations," Kelleen said.

Ben is in Year 12 at Gladstone State High School.

"Sometimes he can be his own worst enemy because he won't ever give in," Kelleen said.

Donations are still being taken by all Supa IGA stores.

 

Hydrocephalus:

  • Its primary characteristic is excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain.
  • It results in abnormal widening of spaces in the brain called ventricles.
  • The causes are not well understood. But it may result from inherited genetic abnormalities, developmental disorders, premature birth, and diseases such as meningitis, tumours, traumatic head injury or subarachnoid haemorrhage.


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