Local family overwhelmed by Staycation win

Local couple Sheree and Chris Wheelan, along with their son Lucas will enjoy Carols by Candlelight in style this weekend after winning Griffith City Council’s Quest Carols Staycation Competition.

Mrs Wheelan and her family were nominated by a close family friend who has witnessed their struggles over the last 18 months.

Lucas, the Wheelan’s two year old son was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic disorder affecting the lungs. Due to COVID-19, Lucas has been forced into isolation to reduce the risk of infection, putting a strain on him as well as his mother.

Council teamed up with Quest Griffith again this year to offer one lucky resident the best seat in the house, with an overnight stay in a balcony apartment, complete with grazing and dessert platters to enjoy the Carols in comfort.

More than 40 nominations were received, with Sheree Wheelan being selected from an overwhelming number of inspirational entries.

Upon finding out she had not only been nominated, but had won the Staycation, Mrs Wheelan said knowing someone even nominated them (and that person also has had their fair share of struggles this year) let alone the Mayor being touched by their story, truly made her feel grateful for so much love, kindness and thoughtfulness in her friend and the Griffith community.

“After having Lucas 2 years ago and finding out he has Cystic Fibrosis (shocked is an understatement), it’s been hard, but adding COVID to the mix and having to keep away from social events makes my heart break knowing my little man misses out on so many exciting activities, playdates and just getting to have a normal life especially now he is older and starting to understand,” said Mrs Wheelan.

“This Staycation is such a blessing, we can enjoy the Carols without the added stress of worrying if anyone is sick and experience a family night without all that extra worry…..but mostly see Lucas experience what all the other kids get to, seeing his face light up, and the enjoy in his eyes means more to my husband Chris and I than anything in this world.

“When you look at Lucas you wouldn’t ever know he is our CF warrior, whatever life throws his way he has taken in his stride with a smile on his face. As his parents we are the same and don’t try to show the hard times because we honestly believe there is someone doing it harder in the world than us! From the bottom our hearts, thank you Griffith City Council and Quest!

Griffith City Mayor, Councillor John Dal Broi, said he was once again amazed by the response to the competition.

“It was very difficult to select a winner because they were all so worthy, however the situation the Wheelan Family were in, made it hard to go past – I am so happy that we can provide a safe environment for them to enjoy the Carols,” Councillor Dal Broi said.

“This initiative from Council and the Quest and the number of entries shows how important it is to brighten someone’s Christmas like this and spread some cheer to someone who is really deserving.”

Quest Griffith Franchisees Yannick Mew and Sophie Sun were delighted to be part of the competition again this year, with Ms Sun saying they are pleased to be able to bring joy to the Wheelan family.

“Griffith is such a wonderful and welcoming community, and we are pleased to be able to assist in making someone’s Christmas a little more special by donating the apartment,” said Ms Sun.

“We look forward to welcoming Sheree, Chris and Lucas and hope they enjoy the experience this weekend.”

Carols by Candlelight will be held Saturday 11 December and is a free, un-ticketed event. Due to the current Public Health Order, only those double vaccinated can attend, children under 16 who are not vaccinated must be accompanied by a double vaccinated adult.

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