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Thursday, 21 November 2013
Page: 1105


Mr ENTSCH (Leichhardt) (10:35): Madam Deputy Speaker, I congratulate you on your elevation.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mrs Griggs ): Thank you.

Mr ENTSCH: I rise today to speak about a very, very special young woman in my electorate and welcome the opportunity to share some of her story in this place. Kim Jenkins is a local mum, married to George. They have three beautiful young daughters, Matilda, Molly-Jo and Claudia, all aged between 6 and 11. I first met Kim in 2011 when she was diagnosed with a rare spider-web-like tumour in her brain. During this extremely stressful time, I always found her to be a courageous and determined woman, and a loving and attentive wife and mother. After a massive community fundraising campaign enabled Kim to get specialist medical treatment, she achieved remission and was able to get on with her life.

Unfortunately, in March this year, I received a very distressing phone call. Kim told me that the tumour had come back and it was now inoperable. She asked if I could help out with a very special challenge. As I said, she has three daughters, who share a very small room in their two-bedroom home—they are in very cramped conditions. She had been wanting to extend the building for some year but due to her illness and the costs associated with that illness they had not been able to do so. Kim's mum, Marie, had moved in with the family to support George and keep an eye on the kids.

Kim very bravely acknowledged that the kids would have some very difficult times ahead. What she desperately needed was some space for the kids, in a way that would allow her mum to be there from time to time to support George in the future, should she not be there. George had been far too proud to ask for help, wanting to eventually do it himself, but Kim realised that she might be running out of time.

My first thought was one of these renovation rescues that we see on the TV all the time. I thought this was a chance for our community to do such a thing, but possibly on a lower profile. I formed a project committee with three very special people. Kath Kinneally is a local mum and businesswoman with whom I had worked very successfully fundraising to send her daughter, who had a tumour behind her eye, down to Dr Charlie Teo in Sydney, who was able to deal with that successfully. Kath was an absolute dynamo in that and was very keen to come on board. Builder Ron Easterbrook, from East Build Designer Homes and a friend of the Jenkins family, wanted to play a key role in this project as did Rob Arthur, from Chris Van Dyke Building Designers. Rob took on the architect, project management and quantity surveyor roles. He wanted to see what he could do with that space. I spoke to Cairns Regional Council Mayor Bob Manning. He wasted no time in pledging council's support, providing site plans and waiving council fees.

The committee and I then called on the community for donations of everything possible, from building materials and people with the necessary skill sets, to furnishings and landscaping services. We know how generous the Cairns community can be: I cannot name the 70-odd individuals and organisations who assisted. We have been humbled by the amazing donations that have come through. People have volunteered their time, funds and prizes, contributed an enormous range of building materials and household goods, and arranged minibreaks and provided publicity through the local television and the Cairns Post. We cannot thank them enough.

Today I am pleased to announce that the extension to the family home to provide the extra two bedrooms, a new bathroom and space for Kim's mum has now been completed. The girls can have their new space. This will certainly provide Kim with great peace of mind. She has done amazingly well through this project, considering that back in March she might have only had a couple of months to live. To conclude the renovation rescue we have invited everyone to be involved in the thankyou sausage sizzle on Saturday, 30 November at Trinity Beach, hosted by the Cairns North Rotary Club. There will be a few words from the committee and Kim's family and an opportunity to meet people and businesses who have supported it.

Finally, I saw Kim briefly the other day. While her brain tumour has had a profound impact, I have to say that I am full of admiration for her determination and spirit. Kim, stay strong. We are thinking of you. We love you. You are in our hearts and you are in our prayers.