THE name Pippa stood out in large letters for a special girl who flew high above St Joseph’s Primary School in Warrnambool yesterday.
And it was a beaming Pippa Rea who watched down from her vantage point in a helicopter as her school friends stood and waved on the oval.
The 10-year-old, who has an aggressive form of cancer, was enjoying her first helicopter ride thanks to generous supporters of the Robert Connor Dawes (RCD) Fund, a Melbourne-based organisation dedicated to battling brain tumours.
Her mum Virgina Rea said Pippa had been through some treatment in Melbourne to extend her life, but they did not know if it would be successful.
“We’re now making the most of each day,” Ms Rea said.
Each night before she goes to sleep, Pippa makes a list of things to look forward to the next day.
Thursday night’s list included wrapping Christmas presents, taking part in a Kris Kringle at school, enjoying the helicopter ride and having a happy day.
“It’s a special way to take one day at a time,” Ms Rea said.
“It doesn’t have to be big, it can just be making a friend.
“We’re trying to focus on the positives because there’s so many negatives in the world. It was a gorgeous day — just perfect.”
The helicopter ride was made possible through the fund’s founder Liz Dawes, whose 18-year-old son Robert died from a brain tumour in April last year.
“He was very strong, very philosophical and he inspired a lot of people,” Mrs Dawes said.
The RCD Fund not only reflects Robert’s initials but also aims to support research, care and development.
Pippa was the first patient to take part in music therapy and yoga sessions under the organisation’s care section.
Pippa, a grade four pupil, has been trying to get to school for a couple of hours each day.
Yesterday morning she was there to join her mates in a Christmas gift exchange and told the class about her impending helicopter ride.
Principal Michael Gray said the school decided to head out onto the oval when Pippa flew over early yesterday afternoon.
Pippa’s brother Patrick and his grade six class came up with the idea of spelling her name out by lying on the ground.
“The kids were excited,” Mr Gray said. “She’s been through a lot and it was just a great way to support her.”