A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for the four children of one of the women who died in the “horrible unexpected tragedy” involving a three-vehicle crash on the Barton Highway near Canberra on Friday.
More than $21,500 has already been raised through the campaign which was started in response to the horrific accident which left two women dead and six injured – including a 12-year-old girl in a serious condition who was airlifted to Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney.
Pam Valencia, 36, and Sheena Katrina G. Landagan, 34, both died in the accident which occurred about 7.45 am at Wallaroo last Friday (May 25) and involved a collision between a Toyota Landcruiser and a Dodge Journey, with one of the vehicles then crashing into a Mazda 6 station wagon.
Both the women who died were passengers in the Dodge Journey, which was driven by Pam Valencia’s husband Jimmy. The couple’s four children were also on board, including 16-year-old Jelia, 12-year-old Jana (who was airlifted to hospital), eight-year-old Jaime and 22-month-old Jasmine.
A close friend of Pam Valencia who set up the GoFundMe campaign, Joana Caoleng, said they were on their way to Melbourne to attend an El Shaddai church event but never made it.
Ms Caoleng writes on the GoFundMe page that Ms Valencia “leaves behind her husband, her parents, siblings, family, Filipino community in Australia and a multitude of friends, but most heartbreaking that she leaves behind three young daughters and a son.”
According to Ms Caoleng, 12-year-old Jana suffered a massive brain haemorrhage, underwent surgery and is currently in an induced coma. The other children and their father were treated for more minor injuries, with 16-year-old Jana injuring her back and needing a brace.
“We want to ease the financial burden that comes with losing someone so suddenly,” Ms Caoleng writes on the GoFundMe page.
“This campaign fund will help to take care of the children and perhaps help establish for each of them for their future.”
Ms Caoleng described Ms Valencia as “a devoted and passionate mother” who, together with her husband, always made the best of any situation.
“Their fervour for life is infectious, and their personalities can light up the darkest places. They have moved mountains for their family, friends, and loved ones throughout their lives, and are no stranger to adversity.”
The Valencia family migrated to Australia four years ago with the aim of starting a new life after a decade in Singapore. Mr Valencia is an intern pharmacist and The RiotACT understands that he also heads up the El Shaddai cell group in Canberra, with the family having a strong faith.
“Jim has to be on leave for work to pay attention to his wife’s funeral and to be by his daughter Jana’s bedside for an uncertain amount of time. As a mother myself, it hurts to see them so distraught and heartbroken over this horrible unexpected tragedy,” writes Ms Caoleng, who is very grateful for the support the campaign has received so far.
The Department of Foreign Affairs in The Philippines has extended its condolences to the families of Ms Valencia and Ms Landagan, with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano saying: “Our thoughts and prayers go to the loved ones of two of our own who lost their lives in this tragedy.
“We join the Filipino Community in praying for the quick recovery of those injured,” Secretary Cayetano said, adding that the DFA is ready to extend any possible assistance that the families of the women may need.
Ms Landagan worked as a nurse in Canberra and only moved to Australia six months ago.
She is remembered in the Facebook post shown below.
NSW Police report that the driver and sole occupant of the Toyota Landcruiser which was involved in the accident was a 65-year-old man who suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to Canberra Hospital.
The driver of the Mazda 6 station wagon, a 58-year-old female, and two male passengers, were uninjured.
Officers from The Hume Police District, with assistance from the Crash Investigation Unit, are continuing to investigate the incident.
Anyone who would like to contribute to the GoFundMe campaign for Ms Valencia’s family should click here to go to the page. The campaign’s target is to raise $50,0000.