QLD_CP_NEWS_VICFLIGHT_01DEC20
QLD_CP_NEWS_VICFLIGHT_01DEC20

‘This is everything’: Sisters’ emotional at airport reunion

A CAIRNS woman battling cancer has been emotionally reunited with her Melbourne sister on the first flight back into the Far North as the Queensland border reopened.

Leone Wignall, 58, was forced to undergo surgery almost two months ago, just two days after her husband Alan, 65, needed emergency spinal surgery.

The Redlynch couple applied multiple times to allow Mrs Wignall's sister Marlene Gourlay to come and assist them, but to no avail.

But tears flowed as the close knit siblings found each other in the arrivals hall of Cairns Airport on Tuesday morning, having not seen each other for over a year.

 

Leone Wignall from Redlynch has an emotional reunion with her sister Marlene Gourlay from Melbourne as she arrives a Cairns Airport. Picture: Stewart McLean
Leone Wignall from Redlynch has an emotional reunion with her sister Marlene Gourlay from Melbourne as she arrives a Cairns Airport. Picture: Stewart McLean


"This is everything," Mrs Wignall said.

"We were so excited we couldn't sleep last night."

With Mr Wignall immobilised after his surgery on an infected disc, the couple said they had been forced to rely on Cairns Hospital home visits which proved their "saviour".

"I was supposed to be the hero and look after her," Mr Wignall said.

They said the moment they heard the borders may reopen they booked Mrs Gourlay's flight, prepared to wear the cost if it didn't happen.

Natalie McDermott from Melbourne is embraced from her niece Taliah Clough, 17, and sister Vanessa Clough from Trinity Park as she arrives at Cairns Airport. Picture: Stewart McLean
Natalie McDermott from Melbourne is embraced from her niece Taliah Clough, 17, and sister Vanessa Clough from Trinity Park as she arrives at Cairns Airport. Picture: Stewart McLean

The siblings, who are extremely close, normally see each other about twice a year, but the situation became more dire when Mrs Wignall fell ill.

She will undergo a second surgery for skin cancer in the coming weeks with Mrs Gourlay set to stay for about four months to assist.

 

 

Their family was not the only one to enjoy a teary airport reunion with Trinity Park woman Vanessa Clough and her daughters Kiarna, 17, and Taliah, 17, finally seeing their Melbourne-based family again.

"They were meant to come in April," Ms Clough said.

"It's just been a tough year, not even just COVID related.

 

Marlene Gourlay from Melbourne, centre, is greeted by her sister and bother in-law Leone and Alan Wignall from Redlynch as she arrives a Cairns Airport. Picture: Stewart McLean
Marlene Gourlay from Melbourne, centre, is greeted by her sister and bother in-law Leone and Alan Wignall from Redlynch as she arrives a Cairns Airport. Picture: Stewart McLean

"Normally you can just jump on a plane and go support your family."

Cairns mum-of-three Kryssi O'Hare and her family also welcomed her dad Eamon from Victoria to meet his newest grandchild, six-week-old Elijah.

The Queensland border is now to open to all of Victoria and New South Wales, however Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has deferred a decision on whether the South Australia ban will be lifted.

Following the first Melbourne flight this morning, two flights are also scheduled to touch down from Sydney today.

Originally published as 'This is everything': Sisters' emotional Cairns Airport reunion



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