Dave Drewett with Heidi Simpson of Coutts Crossing Pre School. The school raised $4500 at its family fun day to help Dave’s son James. A fashion parade held in Grafton also raised $3000 for the appeal.
Dave Drewett with Heidi Simpson of Coutts Crossing Pre School. The school raised $4500 at its family fun day to help Dave’s son James. A fashion parade held in Grafton also raised $3000 for the appeal. Adam Hourigan

James' story captures hearts

"ISOLATION" is learning at 3am on New Year's Eve your four-year-old son has a brain tumour then leaving your home town, friends and family to live in Brisbane for treatment.

"Horrific" is seeing your son paralysed down his left side, unable to talk or eat.

But it's a renewed "faith in human nature" that now drives the Drewett family to battle for their son James's recovery.

"I didn't think I was going to get back from Brisbane in time," James's dad Dave Drewett said.

"But when I came down the road to Coutts Crossing Preschool on Saturday, I couldn't believe the number of people that were there. I was gobsmacked.

"I didn't fully understand the extent of the support we had until that moment."

A family day at Coutts Crossing, as of yesterday, had raised $4300 for the family. More than 200 people attended.

But that was just one of the fundraising events held to help the boy who has captured the hearts of many in the Valley.

As well as a fundraiser at Grafton TAFE, former colleagues of mum, Mary, organised a fashion show at the weekend, which raised more than $3000.

"We were there when James was first born," one of the organisers, Lee Hall, said.

"It's horrendous they've been through so much.

"One of the ladies who made the welcome speech broke down. We're like a little family."

James has regained the ability to walk and his quality of life has improved since those horrific months in January and February, but next week he starts his first session of chemotherapy.

"They say we're in the eye of the cyclone in the middle of two treatments," Mr Drewett said.

It will be a long road ahead for the family, which hopes to return to Grafton after the chemotherapy.

But money raised will go a long way to helping support James in his recovery.



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