Monthly Archives: March 2016

Revving up for the Grand Prix

It was nothing but fast cars and arcade action for the boys that attended the Very Special Kids Mates Weekend in March.

The weekend kicked off with some tasty eats at Grill’d Malvern followed by a visit to Crown’s Galactic Circus for some ten pin bowling and fun interactive games!

The boys then got revved up for some pedal to the metal action at the Formula One Grand Prix on Saturday to watch the qualifying final. This was definitely the highlight of the weekend and it was made possible by the Australian Grand Prix Corporation – a big thank you for your generosity and support!

Very Special Kids would also like to thank Grill’d Malvern and our amazing volunteers who made the Mates Weekend a raging success.

Mates Weekends are designed to bring together children who have high cognitive ability and are facing similar physical challenges.

From 20 to 21 May more than 1,000 participants will run the 24 Hour Treadmill Challenge to raise funds for children in 24 hour care at Very Special Kids Hospice. To sponsor a runner visit


Our friends at Grill’d showing their support!


Watching the Formula One’s race around the track!

Teeing off to raise more than $22,000

A keen group of golfers took on the wild weather while pitching and putting their way to raising more than $22,000 at the recent Very Special Kids Golf Day at Southern Golf Club in Braeside.

The morning started off as a wet day more suited for ducks, but it didn’t take long for the rain to disappear and the birdies to start flowing out on the course. Seventy-eight golfers played on the day, which was proudly sponsored by OHM Australia, a leading accounting and business advisory firm based just down the road from Very Special Kids in Malvern.

Following the round of golf, Geoff Cox of Coxy’s Big Break hosted a fundraising dinner that provided lots laughs, entertainment and some hot auction items up for grabs.The highlight of the dinner was an interview with Jamie Padfield – the father of Charlotte, who passed away in 2011.  Jamie talked about the important support his family received during Charlotte’s life and the importance of the Very Special Kids Bereavement Program, particularly for his daughters Emma and Isabel.

Jamie shared his appreciation to everyone who contributed to the golf day.

“I sincerely thank everyone for joining me on the course and helping to raise much needed funds for a great cause. I know first-hand how important this respite care is for the families. Sharing my family’s story isn’t always easy, but I felt so welcomed to the stage so by Coxy and everyone, made all the difference – it was a wonderful day.”

What Easter means to us at Very Special Kids

Easter can mean many things to different people. For some, it has a special religious or spiritual significance and symbolises a time of new life, while for others it can mean a well anticipated break from work, a chance to spend time with family and friends or a great excuse to indulge in chocolate bunnies!

At Very Special Kids, our people come from a diverse range of backgrounds and we spend Easter in a variety of different ways. Here we share how we will be spending Easter this year:

  • Easter for us is about having time away from the daily grind. Every year we go to our favourite place with our favourite friends. Our shack has no electricity, no mobile phone reception and no technology. The kids run, play and get muddy. The adults walk, chat and get calm. The best part is that there are so many places to hide the Easter Eggs on Sunday morning that we can have dozens of Easter Egg hunts and no-one gets bored.
    Jane Baker, Office Manager and PA to the CEO
  • I always think of Easter as a time for “new beginnings” and so I use the opportunity to make new changes in my life. Also of course lots of chocolate bunnies!
    Jessica Davey, Fundraising Lead – Trusts and Foundations
  • It means school holidays and time away from work, but specifically taking the kids to the beach and having an Easter egg hunt out in the garden in their long pyjamas and Ugg boots. I generally acquire a stash of Haig’s chocolate; the world’s best chocolate. It’s generally just good times.
    Andrew Cole, Executive Manager Fundraising
  • My parents came to Australia after WW2 and they brought with them some lovely traditions for Easter. My mother would boil eggs in different (natural) colours and they would be placed in little nests that were then hidden in the garden. There would also be a little gift to celebrate the ‘new life’. We also attended church to remember the sacrifice that was made. Chocolate eggs were not in the equation at that time, but as a lover of chocolate I am glad that changed.
    Marianne Collins, Family Support Team
  • Not much I can say except Hot Cross Buns (they have to be fruit) with butter and an excuse to wear bunny ears – I have two pairs setting on my desk ready to be worn next week!
    Tegan Head, Administration Officer
  • My children are all grown up now so I love spending Easter Sunday morning with my 5 nephews doing an Easter Egg Hunt. At the end of the hunt, we put all the eggs in one basket and divide them up equally; otherwise the bigger boys would take all of them! My sisters and I head into the kitchen and cook up a storm – usually roast lamb with all the trimmings. Mum comes over and forgets we aren’t 12 anymore and gives her 3 daughters a Humpty Dumpty Easter Egg – every year, no fail (even if we ask her not to)! It’s a great family day with lots of food, wine, family and fun.”
    Lou Cooney, Friends of Very Special Kids Coordinator

On behalf of the team at Very Special Kids we wish you a safe, enjoyable and relaxing Easter.

How to do Easter arts and craft

The Easter holidays are a fantastic time to get crafty! Very Special Kids embraces the creativity and expression involved in art to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of children.

Our on-site Art Therapist helps our very special kids create beautiful paintings and crafts using their emotional, sensory and motor skills. Here we share with you our Easter craft fun and provide a how to guide for creating your own crafts at home.

Art Therapy is a new complimentary therapy program at Very Special Kids offered to children with a life-threatening condition, facilitated by qualified Art Therapists provided by The Art Cabriolet. The program is also facilitated for children receiving end-of life care to explore their feelings and create memories that will live on for their families. Our Art Therapy aims to positively engage children and young people from diverse backgrounds and abilities, and from a range of developmental stages, offering an outlet for expression and give voice to their feelings and concerns.

The program is new to Very Special Kids Hospice and uses art methods and interventions to aid in the treatment of a condition or disability, providing children with opportunities for self-expression and emotional release.


Special angels take the cake

Celebrating birthdays and other special events in the lives of your family members is something that is to always look forward to.

When your child has a life-threatening condition, these occasions can be filled with even greater meaning, and the need to celebrate every moment becomes paramount. Making or purchasing a special cake is something that can be difficult to arrange, no matter how much you would like to.

That’s where Cake Angels can come to your rescue! Cake Angels is an organisation that provides cakes to kids in Victoria with life threatening illness through the help of 400 volunteers.

Cake Angels volunteers have been providing themed cakes to Very Special Kids for our Sibling Days and Bereaved Sibling Days since 2011, so we know how creative these cake-making-volunteers can be. The siblings have loved ‘Detective cake’, the ‘Flintstones Cake’ and the recent ‘Water Slide Cake’.

So who is eligible for a Cake Angels cake? If your very special child, or another child in your family, has a birthday, please contact your Family Support Worker about your eligibility to receive a Cake Angels cake. Please allow six to eight weeks prior to the occasion when making this request.

Family fun in beautiful gardens

The peaceful and spacious grounds of Cranbourne Botanic Gardens provided the perfect backdrop for families to enjoy a relaxing family outing at the Family Day for Gippsland and Peninsula regions.

The relaxing day allowed families to take a break from daily challenges, spend time together and connect with other families experiencing similar circumstances. Children delighted in having their faces brightly painted, played happily on expansive playgrounds and created beautiful art to take home.  Families shared a delicious barbecue and scrumptious salads for lunch, which was washed down with mouth-watering cakes and slices.

Special thanks to Cake Angels for providing yummy treats to share and to Nanni Art and Face Painting for giving her time and materials to run art activities and face-painting. Thanks also to the dedicated volunteers who assisted with craft activities and preparing lunch for the families on the day.

All aboard for family fun

Fun was all aboard at the Very Special Kids Family Day for the North West region at Diamond Creek Miniature Railway.

20 families delighted in miniature train rides throughout the day operated by volunteers from Diamond Creek Miniature Railway.  Children adored having their faces brightly painted by Fairy Mary and enjoyed creating beautiful art.

Families shared a delicious barbecue lunch and indulged in delectable train-themed cupcakes, biscuits and slices provided by Cake Angels. Parents and volunteers were treated to complimentary refreshments from a coffee van.

For families, it was a chance to relax and spend time together away from everyday challenges and connect with others experiencing similar circumstances.

Special thanks to Diamond Creek Miniature Railway, Cake Angels and Fairy Mary. Thanks also to the volunteers who helped make North West Family Day a memorable day for all who attended.

Celebrating 30 years of Very Special Kids

Very Special Kids celebrated its 30th anniversary in style with 264 guests channelling their 80’s spirit for a gala event at The Park in Albert Park.

Donning mullets, teased hairstyles and brightly coloured taffeta dresses, guests gave generously by bidding on a fantastic range of auction items, purchasing raffle tickets and pledging 30 bed nights for children to stay at the Hospice. The final fundraising total for the night was an amazing $162,000.

Hosted by MC Brigitte Duclos, guests were entertained throughout the night by a live comedy set from Lehmo and happy snaps in the photo booth, and danced the night away to music of the ‘80s performed by BigCityBeat.

Special guests Jasmine (15) and Lucy (16), both supported by Very Special Kids, discussed the special bond they share after meeting at the Very Special Kids Hospice and provided insight into living with a life-threatening condition. Many in the crowd were moved to tears as Lucy performed an original song to standing ovation.

The Very Special Kids 30th Anniversary Gala would not have been possible without the generous support of Major Sponsors; Telstra, CMC Property Services and Melbourne Events Group. Special thanks also to Supporting Sponsors IGA Liquor, Lion, Redbank Wines and Helping Hand Group.

Thanks also to the dedicated team of volunteers who assisted in making the 30th Anniversary Gala a night to remember.