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04 August, 2011

Yasmin needs brain surgery but can't afford it

It is a sad and terrible indictment of the society in which we live that a woman like Yasmin McKillop might die because she can't afford the surgery that could save her life. Yasmin is a young woman, a nurse who cares for old people at my local hospital. She's one of those lovely people you take to immediately. She is married to my friend James, who is blind, and they have two young boys. And now, Yasmin has a brain tumour. The prognosis from surgeons at the public hospitals here is very poor, but there is a surgeon in Sydney who believes he can save her, if she can find sixty thousand dollars for the operation.

On a nurse's wage and James' invalidity benefits, Yasmin has no house to sell, no savings to draw on. Her family are just ordinary, working people. That kind of money is so far beyond the reach of normal people that it must seem completely hopeless to her family and friends.

In desperation, her sister, Mia, has launched an appeal. Mia is not a media-savvy campaigner with far-reaching networks into the circles where money like this is easily found. She's just a young woman who lives and works in a small, country town who loves her sister and is doing all she can for her. She has put up a Facebook page. She is talking to local people and local businesses - in Stanthorpe, one of the poorest towns in the whole of Australia. That's why we need to do something to help Mia raise that money and save her sister.

I know most of the people who read my blog are writers and working people too. I doubt we could raise that much money between us, but we can raise some, and there are plenty of other ways we can help. This is what I would like each of you to do.

1. Visit Mia's Facebook page and donate something to the appeal - even if it is only $5 - the price of a cup of coffee. The link is also at the bottom of this post.

2. Use the Facebook and Tweet this links at the top of this post to spread the word to your social networks. You can also Digg the post, or use StumbleUpon or any other sharing tools you like. Do whatever you can to help Mia get the message out to the world that Yasmin needs help.

3. Mention the appeal on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, MySpace, Twitter, and anywhere else you have an audience.

4. Write a blog post on your own blog - even if it is just one sentence with a link to Mia's appeal page, it might just help.

5. If you know a journalist, mention Yasmin's plight to them. A 'human interest' story like this might just be something they, or a colleague, are looking for. If the story made it into a State or national newspaper, or was mentioned on a popular radio or TV show, it would take the appeal to a level where anything is possible. Even if you don't live in Australia, mention it anyway. Generosity doesn't stop at national borders.

6. Write a letter and send it to your local newspaper, your local radio station, your local Rotary Club, anywhere you can think of where people might be willing to help.

I'm sorry to ask. I'm sorry to live in a society where I have to ask. Please help Yasmin and her family. Please do whatever you can.

The link to the appeal is

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