WE WERE THERE: Hear 4 Alana
WHEN Bundaberg's Reid family needed $97,000 to send daughter Alana for life-changing surgery in the US, the NewsMail was there to drive the fundraising effort and carry it through until they reached their goal.
Alana was not quite 4 when the Reids launched their fundraising campaign through the newspaper in August 2012.
Born with a condition called microtia, which means small or absent ear, Alana's ear canal was too narrow to be able to hear properly, and the type of surgery that could help her live a more normal life was available in the US.
The Bundaberg community took the cute little redhead into their hearts and held all sorts of fundraisers to make her dream come true, from quiz nights and cent sales to songwriting competitions and raffles.
Twelve months and a great deal of generosity later, Alana was flying across the world with mum Emma, dad Shane and brother Bailey to be operated on at the California Ear Institute.
Just before her fifth birthday she received the best possible present - the gift of hearing.
Mrs Reid, who is now a reporter for the NewsMail, said her family would never have been able to help Alana hear without the support of the newspaper and the community.
"When the flood hit Bundaberg halfway through our fundraising, we thought there was no way we could keep going when the community needed so much help. But people still supported us," she said.
"Today people in the street still recognise our little girl and, even though Alana may not realise what all the fuss was about, we will be forever grateful the town banded together and gave her the gift of hearing."
The NewsMail is always there to cover the breaking news and issues that mean something to the community. Follow our We Were There series online to look back on some of the stories that have shaped us.