May 18, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Rotorua whanau raise funds for lifesaving surgery (Daily Post)

3 min read

Rotorua’s Billie-Jo Pomare and her family are pinning their hopes on radical surgery to save her brother from brain cancer. Now all they need is $80,000 to pay for it.

Doctors have told the family there’s nothing they can do for 21-year-old Peter Pomare but they want to send him to Australian neurosurgeon Charles Teo, dubbed a miracle worker, to remove his brain tumour.

The potentially lifesaving surgery will cost $80,000, so friends and family of Peter are trying to raise the money.

Fundraising events are being held in Rotorua and Australia, where the former Rotorua student now lives.

Early last month, Mr Pomare was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The former Western Heights High School and Reporoa College student, who now lives in Australia with his wife, Angie Pomare, and two children, had been suffering from headaches. He had a scan at Rockhampton Hospital and doctors found a cyst. A biopsy was taken and he was diagnosed with a brain tumour seven days after his second child was born.

Billie-Jo, 30, and Mere, 19, who still live in Rotorua, and another sister Kohine, 23, who lives in Auckland, are devastated and want to do all they can to keep their brother alive.

“It’s not right, it’s unfair.

His baby was only born just before he was diagnosed. He is young and has so much to live for. He is such a good person. He is strong, fit and healthy and apart from asthma he didn’t have any health issues,” Billie-Jo said.

There are plans for Mr Pomare to undergo at least six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation to try and reduce the size of the tumour.

His family had spoken to the neurosurgeon, Australian-born Charles Teo, but needed $80,000 to pay for the surgery.

Dr Teo has received a lot of media attention as something of a miracle worker.

According to the Australian of the Year website, he has an international reputation for performing radical surgery on brain tumours that other neurosurgeons consider inoperable. Patients come to him from all over the world.

Mr Pomare has had two surgeries at Brisbane Hospital to relieve pressure on his brain. He had promised his wife when he was better they would get married, but went downhill after his second operation two weeks ago.

Doctors told family then he only had hours to live but he managed to pull through and the couple married in hospital.

Mere went to the wedding and said it was very emotional.

“It was the saddest thing I’ve ever seen because he doesn’t deserve to die,” Mere said.

The couple’s second child, Taiamai, was christened the next day.

Mere said her brother mostly slept, and was only awake for about five minutes at a time.

Billie-Jo said her brother had improved this week. He had asked for food and had spoken to his parents, Ben and Maria Pomare, who flew from Rotorua to be by his side about a month ago.

“He hadn’t spoken to them for about a week as he was too ill and too weak.”

Doctors at Brisbane Hospital said they could not operate because of where the tumour was and how aggressive it was, Billie-Jo said.

However, she said Dr Teo had told them that if Mr Pomare was in a stable condition he would consider operating on him to remove the tumour. The family also want him transferred to a private hospital.

The cost of the operation is $80,000 and another $20,000 to keep him in a private hospital.

The three sisters are planning to raise as much money as they can by shaving their heads on June 18 at Rotorua’s Crash Palace at midday.

“We have got nothing to lose… He is our blood. We would do anything for him. The whole family is clinging on to a miracle happening,” Billie-Jo said.

A friend of Mr Pomare is also organising a fundraising event at the wildlife park where she works in Australia and where Mr Pomare has volunteered.

Anyone wanting to find out how they can make a donation or sponsor the women for shaving their heads can phone 0800 378 372 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 0800 378 372 end_of_the_skype_highlighting (ERUERA).

Many thanks to Abigail Hartevelt and the Rotorua Daily Post for this important story and whanau, if you can please DONATE and get involved in supporting the Pomare whanau.

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