Truckies turn out to throw party of a lifetime

ON BOARD: Tommy and Melissa Whelan with Steve and Lisa Welch, Jorge’s parents, at Jorge’s 10th birthday convoy in Jimboomba.
ON BOARD: Tommy and Melissa Whelan with Steve and Lisa Welch, Jorge’s parents, at Jorge’s 10th birthday convoy in Jimboomba. Sean Owens

WHEN Lisa Welch put out a call for help on the Scenic Rim Facebook Sell It site, what happened next shocked her.

Her request was simple. She wanted a truck brought to the family's home on Saturday morning for her 10-year-old son Jorge's birthday. And she was willing to pay for it.

By the end of Saturday, Jorge had gone for a ride in Tommy and Melissa Whelan's Western Star, and witnessed a convoy of 214 trucks rumble down the Mt Lindesay Hwy, organised by another local, Gavin Summerville.

The family was also $1315 better off thanks to the generosity of the truck drivers, who passed the hat around.

Why all the fuss? Jorge was born with brain damage after Lisa contracted a virus when she was just 12 weeks pregnant with him.

Today he suffers from epilepsy, autism and is non-communicative.

It was an unforgettable birthday for Jorge, whose birthdays often passed as non-events.

"His birthday is hard. He can't eat party food because he's on a special diet to help with his epilepsy, and he doesn't like to be around a lot of people," Lisa said.

"It's really hard with Jorge, he likes toys that are for a one-year-old.

"But whenever we drove past a truck we noticed he got excited."

That was what led Lisa and her husband Steve to put the call out for a truck to mark their middle child's 10th birthday.

With two other children as well as Jorge, the day-to-day struggles for the Welch family are enormous. Jorge is still in nappies and on a special diet that costs the family $500 a month.

Before he was put on the special diet Jorge was suffering up to 200 seizures that could not be controlled by drugs.

"He's a large impact on our lives, but we wouldn't have it any other way," Steve said.

Gavin, who organised the convoy, said it was just one of those "spur of the moment" decisions after his wife noticed the Facebook post for help.

"I replied and said I'd take him for a ride, but Tommy Whelan had already offered, so I thought let's have a convoy," he said.

"I expected 10-20 trucks. We ended up with 214. Jorge was beside himself, it was magical, absolutely priceless."

For the Welch family, Gavin is amazing and they think there needs to be more people like him in the world.

"He's organised it all," Steve said.

For Lisa, the day was about making memories with Jorge.

"I was most excited about the truck coming to the house and the memories I've got from that," she said.

Truck driver Tommy and his wife Melissa arrived at the family's home at 10.30am on Saturday, and the look on Jorge's face was priceless as he spotted the Western Star.

"We're just overwhelmed and so lucky to be a party of this," Tommy said.

"We've both got three kids and you'd do anything for them. This is just about coming out and putting a smile on his face, and it's just perfect."

You can follow Jorge's story by liking Jimboomba Jorge on Facebook. More pics online at

Topics:  convoy jimboomba trucks

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