Bears rally behind Sells family

By Beth Newman

Corey Sells and partner, Ann, are always the first to try and help out with football club fundraisers, but they never thought they’d be the beneficiaries of one.

When their daughter, Chloe, was diagnosed with lymphoma last November, Kenmore football club and their Masters affiliate, Souths Sharks became an invaluable support for the family as they embarked on a difficult journey.

The pair were initially reluctant to accept fundraising offers, more used to offering their hand to  others’ causes, but Sells’ teammates wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Kenmore’s thirds playing coach, Mark Gilbert, arranged a series of auctions, including a donation from Collingwood football club of tickets to their match against Carlton in June, with a get together this Friday night in conjunction with the thirds’ first game.

On Friday night, the club will donate $1 from every drink and burger sold, as well as auctioning off some remaining prizes.

The cause has raised $6,500 so far, but Sells said the dollars were only a very small part of the impact the club has had.

“Tattoo-clad footballers will come over with shopping bags of cooked dinners for the deep freeze, or they’ll come over and mow the lawn,” he said.

“Just with those kinds of little day-to-day jobs, they’ve been a massive support.”

Sells said the initiative was reflective of how much the club cares about its community.

“It’s been a really humbling experience for us,” he said.

“I don’t even know how to articulate the support they’ve given us on so many levels.”

“A lot of people who aren’t involved in footy clubs don’t understand what they’re like and we’re just surrounded by a bunch of really good people.”

Sells has spent many nights in hospital with Chloe as she wages her battle, but maintains a positive attitude, that is reflective of his daughter’s own determined nature.

“I always try to be positive, our family’s just like that.”

“It’s no good for Chloe, us moping around. We have to be positive.

The Sells family have endured a long road so far, with Chloe’s cancer spreading to her brain, but a trial drug from the USA has seen her improve dramatically.

There are still some tough months ahead for the family, who are waiting to find out if Chloe’s younger brother, Braden, is a compatible stem cell donor for her.

Gilbert only met Sells last year, but said the family had been an inspiration for the club.

“Chloe is so positive and strong and she’s been amazing,” he said.

 “Corey’s one of those people who would do anything to help someone out.

“We just wanted to do anything we could to help.”

Gilbert said the club’s Rd 1 opponents, Woodsmen, had helped to get behind the efforts.

Sells said he and his family were so appreciative of the way the community had rallied to help them.

“I’m so grateful to Mark and his wife, Dana, and the whole club at Kenmore and the Souths Sharks.

“They’ve been fantastic the way the whole footy community has gotten behind us.

For more information about Friday night’s fundraiser, Gilbert has set up a Facebook event, “Chloe Sells Fundraising Event.”

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