When they first walked into the hotel in 2017, Lemon Grove hotelier Tony Dart had no idea that an unassuming teenage girl and her mother would have such an enormous impact on him.
Bec Cooper was 16 when she and her mother Dana first entered the Lemon Grove Hotel, Wallsend in 2017 with a favour to ask.
"Bec and her mum came in and said to me, we have heard your hotel does a lot of fundraising. Would you help us?" Tony said.
"When I learned how sick she was, my first reaction was to say of course. What can I do to help?"
At just 14, Bec was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer which attacks muscles in the connective tissues, and she was immediately admitted onto the oncology ward at John Hunter Hospital.
Fast forward a few years and the selfless teenager, along with her mother, approached the Lemon Grove Hotel to help hold an event with the aim of raising money for the Zero Childhood Cancer Personalised Medicine Program, Australia's first ever personalised medicine program for children with high-risk or relapsed cancer.
After exceeding her goal of $20,000 Bec had planned to once again hold a fundraiser this year, but sadly lost her fight with cancer in December 2017.
In Bec's honour, her mother Dana decided to once again join with Tony and the Lemon Grove Hotel to raise money for those who cared for her at John Hunter Children's Hospital.
With the support of Rotary Club Wallsend/Maryland and local community groups and businesses, the Just BecCause fundraising event held this month, raised more than $16,000.
In Bec's honour, her mother Dana decided to once again join with Tony and the Lemon Grove Hotel to raise money for those who cared for her at John Hunter Children's Hospital...
"Four children from the John Hunter Children's Hospital who are also fighting this disease actually went along to local art studio Art Mania and created resin artwork that we also auctioned on the day to help raise money," Tony said.
"That was something that Bec had come up with the year before and so we wanted to do it again and honour that legacy. As it turned out one of the children was the grand-daughter of one of our locals, but we hadn't realised the connection until the day. We also did head shaves and one of our locals agreed on the spot to shave his 12 inch beard in return for a $2,000 donation which he got in less than 10 minutes."
The hotel ran the fundraising event for the family and also donated a number of raffle prizes.
"I couldn't tell you how much we have raised for members of the community over the past nine years, but it would be close to $150,000. Whether that's for cancer or farmers or any other kind of non-profit group or individual in need, we always like to help where we can. Being able to initially support Bec and her family and then help carry on her legacy has been an incredible honour for us here at the Lemon Grove Hotel, " Tony said.