Former resident and jockey Cheryl Rogers felt the support of hundreds, when punters turned out for the Bulls and Barrels charity rodeo in Roma last weekend.
A crowd of over 600 got involved in the action at Bassett Park, but the real fighter is Cheryl who has been battling cancer since she was diagnosed six months ago.
“Everyone was so supportive… it was just amazing hat a small community could do that,” says Cheryl’s husband Stuart who was there amongst the action.
The brains behind the event was former Charleville resident and long-time friend of Cheryl, Mark Patterson, who says Cheryl is the sort of person who always puts others before herself.
“I know in my own heart that if I was in her shoes or you were in her shoes, she would do the same thing, even if you were a complete stranger.”
Cheryl has had battled with health problems her whole life, suffering from renal failure since she was 18 years old.
But it wasn’t until a routine check up six months ago, that Cheryl found out she had bowel cancer as well.
Thanks to early detection, 42 year-old mother of three is now cancer free, but the treatment effected her kidneys badly.
“The treatment that she received from the cancer destroyed the rest of her kidney,” says Mr Patterson.
With only one-quarter of her kidney functioning properly, Cheryl needs an organ transplant but now must wait five more years before the donation can be viable.
“It’s law worldwide that once you have any form of cancer you cannot have an organ transplant for five years… so basically this dialysis has to keep her alive,” Mr Patterson says.
Cheryl has been on dialysis treatment at Toowoomba Base Hospital since October last year, and coming home to Roma would mean transforming her house for the appropriate equipment.
“They’re looking at putting a dialysis machine in the house so she can do her own dialysis because they don’t have anything like that out here, no trained people or the facilities,” says Mr Rogers.
Cheryl’s family is hoping to have her home by April, but the cost of getting her back will be significant.
“It’s going to cost a ridiculous amount of money to bring Cheryl home because they’ve got to pretty much transform their whole house with machines and water testing… it’s got to be completely hygienic,” Mr Patterson says.
That’s where the help of the community comes in.
Calculations are still being finalised to determine the funds raised on the weekend, but the bar takings alone were over $9,000.
Mr Patterson says all the proceeds will go towards helping Cheryl get back home.
With over 100 competitors, the rodeo was the first Bulls and Barrels event to be held in the South West in a number of years, and the turn out didn’t disappoint.
Cheryl wasn’t able to make it to the event, but sent a public message of thanks to the entire crowd for their support.
“She’s just such a positive person, she’s got the fight in her you know. That’s the best thing about her.”
Cheryl turns 42 this Sunday and Stuart plans to visit her in Toowoomba to take her out to dinner.
But despite the distance, she knows she has a whole community behind her back in Roma.
“She was shocked and couldn’t understand it… Cheryl’s always the sort of person that does everything for everybody else and doesn’t expect anything in return.”
“There’s so many people that she’s looked after and I just thought that it was only fair that I got a few mates together and we put this event on and try and raise some money.”
John Maris & Wayne Baker have continued on the good work to help out the family, organising a charity bike ride from Roma to Augathella on March 5, followed by a karaoke night.