Suzy Perissinotto rallying support for the Dean family at Jetts Gympie health club's local fundraiser, July 1, 2016
Suzy Perissinotto rallying support for the Dean family at Jetts Gympie health club's local fundraiser, July 1, 2016 Scott Kovacevic

Community rallies behind Dean family

Statement from Alexis Dean's family: Suzy Perissinotto reads a statement from the family of Alexis Dean
Statement from Alexis Dean's family: Suzy Perissinotto reads a statement from the family of Alexis Dean

Community support has swelled behind the Dean family this week, with people from all over Queensland donating after the tragic loss of 12-year old daughter Alexis in a house fire this week.

Suzy Perissinotto, manager of Jetts Gympie health club which held a fundraiser for the family today, said the response has been overwehelming.

“We walked into businessess this week and said ‘Can you donate something for raffle or to the family?” Ms Perissinotto said.

“And they said ‘Take whatever you want’, basically.”

Ms Perissinotto organised the fundraiser with the help of Katherine Hammond, whose son is in the same school year as the Dean’s youngest, Jimmy, with Jetts serving as a donation point for goods.

Donations haven’t been limited to goods and furniture, though, with someone even offering to build the Deans a house for free.

The impact of the tragedy has been wide-spread, Ms Perissinotto, with the wider Queensland community offering to help, too.

“I had a lady ring up the other day she goes ‘I’m from Yeppoon, I’m holidaying in Brisbane and saw it on the news, I’m driving through on Sunday morning, can I drop something off?”

Along with a raffle to raise funds, Jetts Gympie offered a sausage sizzle at the event, with people not only buying meals for themselves, but also for friends and colleagues who couldn’t make it themselves.

Jetts Gympie’s efforts aren’t the only ones being made by businesses in the local community.

Adrian Steen, who runs a local scrap metal business, has raised more than $1,000 over the last few days for the family.

For Mr Steen, while all small businesses are doing it tough, at the end of the day it’s a matter of perspective.

“I feel the people involved in this situation are doing it a damn sight tougher than me,” Mr Steen said.

“So they deserve all the help they can get.”

A Go Fund Me page, started after the tragedy, has raised more than $20,000 for the Dean family.