Help the McDougalls

You know how the loveliest people seem to be the ones that get all the bad luck? Well the theatre industry is banding together to help out someone who has worked behind the scenes for many years.

Debra McDougall has managed box offices since the early 70's, and was working in a San Francisco theatre when the AIDs epidemic hit. Nearly every man she worked with in the box office was taken by the crisis, and after nursing her best friend to his death in 1996 she decided to move to Australia with her husband and daughter to start a new life.

A few years later, her de facto son in law died tragically at the age of 27. This was a huge shock to the family, and took quite some time to adapt to. A couple of years after that, while the family was coming to terms with their grief, Debra was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went through chemo therapy and was lucky enough to survive. The family was delighted, and when her daughter announced she would be getting married late last year they thought their luck had changed, but unfortunately it didn't last long"“ she got a call from a friend in the United States to say that there was something wrong with her son but they didn't know what.

They flew him over immediately (using a lot of the money they had been saving for the wedding) and took him to see a doctor. It turned out that he had two rather large brain tumours, one that had to be removed immediately. As an American citizen he was not covered for such medical expenses, so Debra and her husband paid off what they could with their savings and with the gracious assistance of Monash Hospital have arranged a long term payment plan for the large remainder.

Shortly after Deb had a fall and broke both of her ankles. She has spent the last seven weeks off work, and has now returned to the box office.

The plan was that Deb's son would stay with them while he recovers from the last operation. Having now purchased health insurance, he will be eligible to have the surgery to remove the second tumour paid for in April 2014. Debra and the family organised an application to have his visa extended up until July 2014 so that he could live with them while he recovers. This application has been denied.

That isn't fair. Debra, her husband and her daughter are all Australian citizens. Their son is not applying to be a citizen, his medical expenses are not at all being covered by the government and he isn't asking for any financial assistance or benefits from the government. He is simply applying to stay in the country so his family can look after him until he is better.

And that's where you come in! In the next 30 days Deb needs to get her son an MRI scan to prove how urgent the second operation is, and re apply for a new visa for her son. Unfortunately that is all going to cost a few thousand dollars, and having exhausted themselves financially over the last several years, they need some help.

If we manage to raise more money than necessary for the MRI scan and visa re-application, we will put it all towards paying off the McDougall's hefty medical bills.

*NB You can donate any amount you wish, but if you are claiming one of the reward levels please make sure you include your contact details when making mayment so that we can get it to you!
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Lord Thomas John Jaspers 
Brunswick VIC
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