Mum's brave sacrifice for sick son after devastating year
TRACEY Hillier would do anything for her children - even donate an organ.
The Maryborough mum is preparing to go under the knife next month to give her son a second chance at life.
It is not the first major sacrifice Tracey has made for those she loves, having endured a heartbreaking 12 months.
A year ago, Tracey's husband Justin lost his brother to cancer.
He was a single dad of six and when he died, Tracey and Justin took in his children, aged between four and 16, to care for.
But their own son, Alex, was becoming gravely ill.
He has suffered from kidney disease since he was a child and was told he would soon need to go on dialysis.
Alex, 23, now undergoes dialysis for five to six hours, three times a week at Hervey Bay Hospital.
With Justin becoming the full-time carer of the children, Tracey was working two jobs to keep the family afloat.
When Alex was told it was likely he would need a transplant, Tracey immediately asked for testing to be carried out to see if she could be his donor. The tests showed Tracey was a compatible donor and is set to donate one of her kidneys to her boy next month.
His family travels to the hospital with him every week, but hopes to free him from the machines when Tracey gives him one of her kidneys next month.
Tracey will need to take time off work and pay for accommodation in Brisbane while she and Alex recover from their surgery and undergo the necessary tests to ensure they're both healthy enough to come home.
That process will take at least six weeks and the price of a room near the hospital will be $5000.
To help ease their burden, family friend Gaynor Schonrock offered her help.
She knew Tracey and Justin would never ask for anything for themselves, but she wanted to make sure they wouldn't have any financial worries while recovering in Brisbane.
"They really have been through the wringer," Mrs Schonrock said.
"Tracey isn't one to put her hand up and say 'I need some help'."
She started a GoFundMe page for the family to help raise $5000 toward expenses.
So far $920 has been raised to support the family.
Mrs Schonrock is hoping others will dig deep and help, no matter how small the amount.
"You just think, how could so much happen to one family in such a short time?" she said.
To donate click here.