Community rallies behind terminally-ill Gemma

Beachlands local Gemma Malins has been told she has months left to live.

The Pohutukawa Coast community has rallied together to raise money for a terminally-ill woman.

As the Times previously reported, Beachlands local Gemma Malins, 28, was diagnosed with stage four melanoma in 2019.

On May 25 Gemma was taken to Auckland Hospital by ambulance.

“I had extreme stomach pain, couldn’t move and couldn’t walk,” Gemma says.

“I waited six hours to be seen, was given pain relief and waited until the next day to have a CT scan.”

Two days later the doctors broke the devastating news that the treatment wasn’t working.

The tumours are continuing to grow in Gemma’s lungs and stomach which is causing the pain.

“The worst thing is I can’t tolerate much pain relief,” Gemma says, “because it makes me feel sick and unwell.”

The doctors told her there are no other treatment options left.

“This is really scary for me and my partner, Brandon,” she says. “All we can do is have faith and believe that miracles can happen.”

Gemma is raising money to complete her bucket list.

The bucket list includes swimming with dolphins, horse riding, taking a campervan to Cape Reinga and riding a Ferris wheel.

“We are raising money to create memorable experiences for Gemma and her family,” Brandon says.

Previously kind-hearted locals were planning on announcing a fundraising concert in July to raise money for the expensive treatment Gemma had to undergo to fight her cancer.

The recent diagnosis has changed those plans.

On Wednesday June 9 the Pohutukawa Coast Let’s Do Lunch team held a Breast Cancer Fundraising high tea. Parts of the proceeds raised have been donated to Gemma to help her fulfil her bucket list.

There was also be a raffle that included prizes.

The lunches are held on the second Wednesday of each month at Beachlands Hall.

“The purpose of the lunches,” Jodi Litherland, a volunteer with the community lunches, says, “is to hold tight to a sense of community that is such an important part of living here.”

Additionally there was a Facebook group created for a silent auction that was donated by members of the Beachlands and Maraetai community. All the auction proceeds went to Gemma.

More than $9000 was raised at the breast cancer high tea – $3750 in the raffles and $5716 for Gemma. Ray White Beachlands paid for Gemma and Brandon to stay at the Cordis in Auckland City and have dinner.

Gemma said that multiple people offered her ‘amazing opportunities’. Three people offered her horse riding experiences and another local woman offered to take her and the family on a boat cruise”.

“A heartfelt thank you to everyone who contributed in any possible way,” Litherland said.

“We are so very grateful for our fantastic community.”

Gemma echoes the sentiment. “The community support has been amazing and I am so appreciative.”