There were 64,500 reasons why workmates of Corey Byron wanted him back in Geraldton yesterday.
That’s how many dollars staff of the City of Greater Geraldton raised for Mr Byron’s three-yearold son Seth, who was diagnosed with aggressive leukaemia at Easter.
Seth has since been in Perth, undergoing treatment, with his parents, Corey and partner Ashlee Smith, by his side.
Not only is it a big sum … but a big act of kindness from people, some who haven’t even met Mr Byron.
A maintenance worker at the city depot for the past two years, Mr Byron had to take unpaid leave while he and Ashlee moved to Perth to be with their son while he undergoes treatment for the rest of the year.
Not only has the City kept Mr Byron’s job open for a year, but it came up with a novel idea of employees donating an amount of annual leave — worth a dollar figure — to assist the family.
The City had to clarify with the Australian Taxation Office that using a registered charity — such as Mid West Charity Begins at Home — allowed for tax-free donations.
On average, each staff member donated a day, with some staff donating more than one week of their annual leave.
A total of $64,500 was raised and a cheque presented to a shocked and humbled Mr Byron yesterday.
“The response and generosity of the City’s staff and councillors has been simply mind-blowing, with the level of giving well and truly passing my wildest expectations,” City CEO Ken Diehm said as a ‘team photograph’ was taken from a ‘cherry picker.’
“The level of generosity from council staff has surpassed all expectations. It has given me an immense feeling of pride when I see the generosity of staff giving up their annual leave for people in need.
“And I think it gives all employees a sense of pride when they see their colleagues band together.
“What it demonstrates to me is the staff at the City care about their fellow work colleagues, and that when people need help, like Corey and young Seth, the staff are here to help.”