The generosity of the region’s Christmas lights viewers has provided a windfall for Warracknabeal’s Elli Martha Community Fund.
The Jonasson family has been decorating their Coral Avenue home with Christmas lights for the past 14 years. Clinton Jonasson had been improving on his luminous creation each year but this time, he got the idea to raise money for the Elli Martha charity.
“I saw how some city homes were raising money for charity by charging people to view their Christmas lights creation,” Mr Jonasson said.
“I know we get an incredible amount of cars stopping to check out our lights so I thought, why not support the Elli Martha fund,” he said.
“We put out an ice cream bucket with a sign on the front nature strip and we couldn’t believe the response.”
Clinton’s wife Tennille said they had initially hoped to raise somewhere around $400-500.
“The closer it got to Christmas, the more the bucket filled and we finished up with $1028,” Mrs Jonasson said.
“It was a wonderful result and we are amazed at the level of support,” she said.
“There was one time just before Christmas where we collected $180 in one night.”
The Elli Martha Community Fund is a community initiative that raises money for families from our region who are required to travel long distances for medical treatment for their children. It was inspired after the death of five-year-old Elli Martha Butuyuyu in 2014 from an inoperable brain tumour.
Elli’s parents Dr Franklin and Hanna were made aware of the difficulties for young rurally isolated families with a child receiving medical attention in big cities. With community support they launched the fund to help other families in similar circumstances.
Representing the Elli Martha fund, the Butuyuyu family said they were thankful for the extraordinory generosity of the community and praised the Jonassons for their initiative.
Hanna and Franklin Butuyuyu said they wanted to express on behalf of the fund, their utmost gratitude to everyone who made the Jonasson’s Christmas lights fund raiser such a resounding success.
“We also want to thank everyone for the various fund raising initiatives supporting the Elli Martha Fund throughout 2017.”