Community showers Sunbury family with support

The community has dug deep after eight-year-old Bella was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer. (Supplied)

The Sunbury community has rallied behind a family that has been devastated by a cancer diagnosis for their eight-year-old daughter.

Bella first developed signs of illness in recent months when lumps formed on her groin.

Bella’s parents, long term Sunbury residents Johnny and Jess Makai, immediately sought medical advice for the abnormal growths, but were reassured it was nothing requiring urgent action.

That is until a month or so ago, when Bella started to experience dizzy spells and a consistent fever.

After being admitted to the Royal Children’s Hospital, doctors decided to remove the lumps. Following the surgery, the doctors delivered the news to Johnny and Jess that their eight-year-old daughter had lymphoma cancer and would require a months-long stay in hospital and chemotherapy treatment.

Adding to the strain of the already difficult news was the need for Johnny and Jess split their time between caring for Bella in hospital and their newborn baby, Winter.

As a self-employed painter, Johnny also had to cease his business operations to focus his efforts on his family.

Jess’ sister Jedda Hennessy said the juggling act had been difficult for the Makai family, who also have a son Melachi in primary school.

Hoping to provide some support for the family, Jess’ cousin Danielle Olson started a digital fundraiser to help them cover their daily expenses.

In less than a month, the fundraiser has accumulated more than $59,000.

Danielle said she couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the donations roll in.

“We only put the goal at $10,000, to help manage the mortgage and the daily expenses, and it was already at $25,000 within a few hours,” she said.

“Bella is very active and very creative as well. We always say that Bella is very spiritual, she’s always been a happy and healthy girl.

“We just want to say thank you, Jess and Johnny are too overwhelmed, they can’t even bring themselves to look [at the fundraiser], a huge thank you to everyone who has donated.”


Oliver Lees