It was devastating blow for Jennie Williamson when her son, Josh, 26, passed away while staying at a friend’s place in September last year.
Still raw from the shock of losing her son, she says she “can’t look” at his death certificate, which states his death was most likely the result of a coronary artery atherosclerosis in connection with his obesity, pending a toxicology report not likely to be completed for another 12 months.
Jennie, who is on a disability pension due to severe diabetes symptoms, didn’t have the means to pay for Josh’s funeral.
Her partner, Phil, said it was only a few weeks before Josh’s death that they were discussing funeral insurance.
“I’ve had it for years, Jen’s not long had it,” he said. “We were trying to get through to Josh the importance of having funeral insurance.
“But just like most people his age, boys in particular, he thought he was bullet proof.
“It shows the importance of having funeral insurance; we didn’t realise exactly what the expenses would be.”
Since then, with the funeral bill unpaid, family friends have been trying to raise money to cover the expense.
Sarah Daley, who used to be Jennie’s workplace supervisor, Caz O’Hearn and Julie Fearon are three people who have been selling raffle tickets for prizes donated by a long list of Lower Clarence businesses.
“Local businesses have been really good; we’ve got about 35 prizes to raffle off,” Sarah said.
“I’ve known Josh, Jen and Phil for years and I see how much they are struggling and what a shock it was for all of us when Josh passed away.
“We just want to take one of the stresses off them; to help them get rid of that bill.
“Jen’s a child care assistant and can’t do her job anymore, Phil cares for Jen.”
Caz said: “Josh was a fantastic soul and his parents are fantastic loving people, but they can’t afford his funeral because they didn’t expect him to go so soon.”
“And the sadness about Josh being so young and dying suddenly, and Jennie and Phil, they’re such good people,” Julie said.
Raffle tickets can be purchased at the Maclean Hotel, Bad Habits and Maclean Cellars; the women hold occasional stalls at Yamba Fair, too.
People can also contact Sarah (0409 130 530) or Caz (0439 501 510) for more information, to purchase tickets or make a direct deposit into a purposed bank account.