Farm fundraiser gives back to support Beyond Sight Auxiliary

Little Jack Hooke loves nothing more than being a farm boy and exploring the outdoors on his family’s property East Loddon Merino Stud in rural New South Wales. You would not realise the ordeal this smiley two year old has been through if not for his missing right eye.

In October 2019, parents Marcus and Cass Hooke noticed a slight turn in Jack’s eye and decided to get it checked out. Shortly after doctors relayed the devastating news – there was a tumour growing on his retina. The condition, known as retinoblastoma, is a rare form of childhood cancer.

The family packed up and moved to Melbourne four and a half hours from their home in order to receive the very best treatment and care from staff in The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Oncology and Ophthalmology departments. Over 10 months, Jack underwent multiple rounds of chemotherapy to try and fight off the cancer, but ultimately his right eye had to be removed.

“It was difficult time for our family, seeing Jack so sick. The chemotherapy knocked him around, it was an awful time,’ said Dad Marcus.

“Thanks to the dedicated care of the RCH team, Jack is now happy, healthy and cancer-free and will soon get a new prosthetic eye fitted.”

To express gratitude to the RCH for saving their son’s life, Marcus and Cass Hooke offered one of their best rams for a charity auction at the recent spring sales. The family were able to raise $2,700 which will be donated to Beyond Sight Auxiliary, supporting the RCH Ophthalmology Department and raising awareness for retinoblastoma.

“We chose to support Beyond Sight Auxiliary as they fund equipment that helps to diagnose and treat retinoblastoma earlier, ultimately saving more lives. When Jack was first diagnosed there were so many unknowns and we had so many questions. Beyond Sight also put money towards educational tools which can make a difference to other families going through what we went through,” said Marcus.

The Hookes continue to support the RCH with an online fundraising page and hope to hold more charity sales in the future.

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