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DSI Underground members stand together to support child cancer victim

November 16, 2022

About 130 AWU members and management at DSI Underground in Newcastle have come to together to support a workmate’s family whose three-year-old daughter is battling cancer.

DSI worker and union member Jason Jovcevski’s niece Marley was diagnosed with Bilateral Optic Nerve Gliomas on June 8 this year. Optic Nerve Glioma is a slow-growing tumour that forms around the nerves that carry information from the eye to the brain.

DSI delegate Mick Ghoulmieh says her parents Matt and Sarah O’Neil had to make the toughest decision: surgery for Marley and all its risks; or chemotherapy and its unpleasant side effects. They chose chemo.

Matt, Sarah and Marley

Now, with Sarah having just had a baby, Matt trying to work from home while caring for his family, and with Marley’s newborn sister facing tests for similar cancers, life has become pretty rough.

“Marley has since lost all her hair,” he says. “Being the warrior that she is, with her love for rainbows and since becoming a big sister, she has the biggest battle of her life ahead tackling cancer head on.”

Jason initially decided to put a charity ride on for Marley, with no idea if it would attract success from friends, family and the public.

But support was overwhelming and led to an onsite BBQ fundraiser on November 10.

Mick says despite its modest size, DSI is a big fundraising site, and this was no different, with workers supporting the BBQ, backed by management, who donated food and allowed staff time to take part.

Day Shift crew at DSI Underground

“Marley has just had chemo, her mum has just had a baby, and dad’s at home juggling things around,” he says. “What more reason do you need to put your hand in your pocket to help?”

“Even if you don’t have kids yourself, Marley’s story is enough to pull on your heartstrings.”

The site BBQ alone has already raised $1720. Now it’s on to the next stage of the campaign, the Ride for Marley, which is open to anyone with a motorcycle.

AWU NSW Branch Secretary Tony Callinan says he’s proud of how members have pulled together in a time of crisis.

“Our hearts really go out to Jason’s family. It’s such a massive battle they’re facing, and to see the team at DSI step up, put their hands in their pockets and pitch in to help out a mate, is fantastic.”

“To even get management on-side, pitching in, it’s just another bonus.”

Afternoon shift at DSI Underground pitching in

Mick says the response to that has also been fantastic, with more than 50 riders already signalling that they will come along.

Riders should meet at 2 Kinta Drive, Beresfield (opposite the BP service station) at 10am on November 26, before heading to Shoal Bay County Club and then the Racecourse Hotel at Wallsend.

There will be donation buckets at the BP and the Racecourse Hotel, and all proceeds from the site BBQ and ride will be handed directly to the family on the day.

And if you can’t make it on the day but would like to help Marley and her family, a Gofundme page has been set up: Just go to Marley’s Battle to donate.

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