Blackwater remembering 'our' Ruby
RUBY Yan Chen, 3, would ride her scooter out of the Cathay Cafe, dart along the footpath to Mamma Rosa's Pizza where she would play with dough, then whiz back to her parents' takeaway stop to show them the masterpiece she had created.
It is a memory her parents Charlie and Cindy Chen will hold dear after the unexpected death of their daughter from influenza on August 10.
The loss of Ruby is still raw, but the Chens said their hearts had been softened by the outpouring of support from the Blackwater community.
The kindness shown by the community members of Blackwater, who have been "making it easier" for the Chen family, has left them "speechless".
"With our Ruby's passing away, the people were tremendous, offering their sympathy and condolences," Mr Chen said.
"It's the small towns; people are compassionate and try to reach out and give support the best they can."
Mr Chen said his wife Cindy and their son Benson, 11, had been touched by the kindness.
The day before Ruby's death, the family quickly travelled into Rockhampton to go to the hospital.
On their return, flowers had been delivered to their home and people were visiting their business, offering condolences as they spoke of Ruby.
"A customer came in and offered us money. He said he lost a daughter a year ago," Mr Chen said.
"I didn't even know his name, and he gave me support."
He said he hoped no parent would have to go through what his family had, and spoke on behalf of his entire family in thanking the community.
"A special thanks to the Village on Blain, Blackwater Tyre Centre, Blackwater Hardware, CQ Meats, Woolworths, Yarrabee, Bruce at Mamma Rosa's Pizza, Trish Broom at Anglicare, Cindy's friends and many more," Mr Chen said.
"No words can express our deeply felt gratitude, we just simply cannot say thank you enough."
A trust fund has been organised by residents for the family at the National Australia Bank. Anyone who would like to make a donation can visit the NAB at the corner of Mackenzie and Rufus Sts, where the staff will assist them.