Sale of ram gets donated to RCH

By Daniel Hughes

The $2700 sale of a Merino ram will be part of a donation to the Royal Children’s Hospital ‘Beyond Sight’ Auxiliary.

Marcus Hooke and brother Tom, donated the ram from their sheep sale on Monday.

The brothers manage the East Loddon Merino Stud at ‘Warwillah Station’, Wanganella.

Marcus chose to donate to the Beyond Sight program in appreciation of the care shown to his two year-old son Jack earlier this year.

Jack has spent nearly 12 months fighting a rare form of cancer after being diagnosed with Retinoblastoma in October last year.

To stop the cancer, Jack’s right eye was removed about five months ago.

Marcus was grateful to the hospital that took care of his son and saw their ram sale as a way to ‘‘give something back’’.

‘‘It was a successful sale on Monday with our chosen ram fetching a good price from a family in Victoria,’’ Marcus said.

‘‘The Royal Children’s Hospital does such a good job helping kids and families in similar situations to ours.

‘‘Donating back to help the hospital will mean other children and their families receive the help they need, which makes all the difference.’’

Retinoblastoma is a tumour arising in the cells of the retina, and is caused by a gene that controls the growth of cells in the eye.

The removal of Jack’s eye was a last resort after the failure of two different treatments to eliminate the tumour threatened his life.

Jack has been fitted with a prosthetic eye, which will be replaced at regular intervals as he continues to grow — becoming less frequent over the rest of his life.

There will also be regular check-ups, to ensure the cancer does not return.

The fundraising has not stopped with the sale of the ram, with Marcus and wife Cass also encouraging further help for their RCH foundation donation page.

With funds already raised including the ram sale, it brings their fundraising to $4500.

‘‘We have had a lot of really good support from the community; people at the ram sale were also pledging donations to our page on the Royal Children’s Hospital website,’’ Marcus said.

‘‘Anything people can donate makes a big difference. We are going to combine everything on the charity page with the ram sale and make the donation soon.’’

To donate, visit