National knitting effort helps Holly's vision come to life
IT'S every girl's dream to receive flowers, but the hundreds of crocheted roses coming for 13-year-old Assumption student Holly Aspinall send a special message.
The soft, fuzzy flowers are an emblem of solidarity for people such as Holly, who suffer from the debilitating disease cystic fibrosis.
The life-threatening illness affects several organs in Holly's body, primarily her lungs and pancreas.
More than 1000 other children in Queensland also suffer from cystic fibrosis.
Raising awareness for the cause, the soft buds will adorn one of Warwick's huge palms at our famous winter festival, Jumpers and Jazz in July.
Holly and her family have been blown away by the support after a social media call-out went ballistic.
"It sort of blew up in our faces,” Holly said.
With a vision to increase awareness and raise money for Cystic Fibrosis Queensland, the Aspinall family asked people to help crochet roses for their tree.
Aiming for about 65 roses, they were stunned when support started flowing in from all around the country from as far away as Tasmania.
"It's looking like we're going to have around 600 or 700 roses,” Holly's mother Jody said.
Catherine James is one of the local supporters who has knitted about 86 flowers so far.
"This is my first Jumpers and Jazz tree, but I thought it was a worthwhile cause for our Holly,” Mrs James said.
The final product will be a palm tree covered head-to-toe in hundreds of knitted roses.
For Holly, the response a sign her illness is being acknowledged in the community and broader Australia.
But there is still a long way to go.
Cystic Fibrosis is not recognised under the National Disability Insurance Scheme, despite the need for lifelong multi-disciplinary care.
Mrs Aspinall is hoping the tree will prompt Federal Member for Maranoa David Littleproud to lobby have cystic fibrosis recognised by the NDIS.
"Especially for people in rural areas, it could help with subsidising regular activity sessions that will keep Holly healthy and out of hospital for longer,” she said.
"A lot of the fund raising flows into Brisbane and metro communities and rural families often have to pay privately for things they would otherwise get in the city.”
There is also a large campaign to have the drug Orkambi listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, a decision which will go to a federal parliament vote in late August.
But the response from the community to the CF tree is a sign of progress in itself.
"The more awareness we put out there I am hoping leads to more support for services and recognition,” Mrs Aspinall said.
Want to donate to Holly? Warwick Credit Union in Palmerin St is a collection point for roses.