Ugly award tops off hotel fundraising 

FUELLED by the tragic plight of one of their own, the team at The Area Hotel has come second in the state in this year's Ugly Bartender competition.

But the fundraising efforts haven't stopped there, with staff still furiously raking in the dollars for three-year-old David Fineanganofo, who is currently undergoing treatment for leukaemia.

David's father Paul, who works at The Area Hotel, has been forced to take a break to be with his family in Sydney while David battles the disease.

Led by licensee Jason Torresan, the team has managed to raise $11,500 for the Ugly Bartender competition - putting them in second place behind the Tweed Heads Golf Club.

The money will go towards helping support regional families impacted by blood cancer through the Leukaemia Foundation.

In addition, the hotel staff have raised $23,500 specifically for the Fineanganofo family.

"As soon as we got the news, we wanted to do whatever we could to help," Mr Torresan said.

"We set out to try and raise $20,000 so we're pretty happy.

"A lot of business houses have helped out in a big way - we're really fortunate in this community because people are able to give."

Since September, Mr Fineanganofo and his wife Sally have been living at Ronald McDonald House in Sydney.

Their one-year-old son Noah has been staying mostly in Griffith with his grandparents.

Mr Fineanganofo said he had no words to describe the depth of his gratitude for everyone's generosity.

"Words can't explain how grateful we are for the amount of help and support we've had, enabling both of us to be here with David while he goes through his treatment," Mr Fineanganofo said.

"I'm just gobsmacked - you never expect to find yourself in this situation but so many people have offered so much, it's unbelievable."

After struggling through a bout of pneumonia about three weeks ago, David is back on his treatment plan and has recently finished his second block of chemotherapy.

The Area Hotel has one more fundraising event planned for the year - a mammoth Christmas raffle with hoards of prizes on Friday, December 20.

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