Sunflowers for Jess fundraising campaign builds for quadriplegic former lifesaver

A freak surfing accident means that, according to doctors, it is unlikely Jess Collins will ever be able to walk again - but her determination to defy her injury and keep fighting is inspiring people everywhere.

The former St Josephs, Merewether, St Pius X, Adamstown and St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton student hit her head while surfing at Snapper Rocks – instantly paralysing her below the neck and she is now classified a quadriplegic.

Despite the extraordinary challenges the 24-year-old, former Australian surf lifesaving representative faces, her continued strength, determination and outlook on life has inspired all who have shared her presence.

Jess is determined to defy her injury, and once again stand tall and face the sun – and the Sunflowers for Jess campaign aims to help her do that. As part of this campaign, the Sunflower Festival at Newcastle City Hall will be held on Saturday 9 February to raise funds for Jess.

The night is open to all and will be a celebration of Jessica Collins’ strength and bravery in the face of adversity, while also raising money to support her rehabilitation.

Tickets are on sale for this event here and include a six-hour beer-and-wine package, fine food created at our live cooking stations, live bands, DJs, raffles and auctions - but above all else, a chance to support and catch-up with Jess and the Collins family.

To also raise funds for Jess, there is a raffle for a brand new Toyota Yaris which has been donated by Burton Automotive Maitland and Port Stephens Toyota. The winning ticket will be drawn at the Sunflower Festival.

All proceeds from the raffle will help to fund Jess' recovery and rehabilitation.

Raffle tickets can be purchased here.

Please join us in supporting Jess.

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