INDIGENOUS, gay and locked in a torrid battle with cancer, Sarah Williams knows what it means to fight.
Three months ago, the Wagga woman penned an impassioned letter to Riverina MP Michael McCormack, sharing her story in a bid to convince him to support same-sex marriage.
Just weeks later, she lay in a Sydney hospital bed, staring into the abyss after being given a terminal cancer diagnosis.
The ravenous disease had returned hungrier than ever, invading her organs and sapping her body of energy and hope.
She needed a miracle and she found it in the form of a “Hail Mary” surgical procedure which bumped up her chances of survival to 50 per cent, a coin toss hope of living that sits in her family’s mind like a shard of glass.
Despite still being trapped in her darkest hour, Ms Williams has found strength from the support of a community.
A Facebook page, “Sare’s journey”, has been deluged with Wagga well-wishers and a GoFundMe page has helped raised thousands of dollars for medical bills.
Last week, however, the rising tide of support had to contend with the rising tide of nature.
During the ferocious downpour on Friday, Ms Williams’ Kooringal home suffered extensive damage. It was a bitter blow for Ms Williams and her partner, who were left with an insurmountable clean-up bill.
Enter a team of local tradies. In an inspiring show of support, the newly established Wagga Community Blitz crew reached out to the couple and offered to repair the home, free of charge.
Over four days, the big-hearted tradies will paint, plaster and replace floorboards, and even build a sandpit in the backyard for the couple’s three children.
The gesture proves that hope can spring from life’s darkest corners.
That it came the day after the world was exposed to the worst side of human nature in Paris makes it even more heart-warming.
Despite atrocities committed across the globe and rampant uncertainty in so many parts of the world, we should never forget the extraordinary power a community can wield.
This is the essence of community: locals helping locals at a time of crisis. And there are few more worthy locals than Sarah Williams.
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