Monthly Archives: November 2016

Viva Energy raises $120,000 for Very Special Kids

A $100M maintenance project involving over 1000 people at Viva Energy Geelong Refinery has raised $120,000 for Very Special Kids.

For every day there were zero safety incidents during the 60-day maintenance project, Viva Energy Australia made a minimum $2,000 donation to Very Special Kids to help local families who are caring for a child with a life-threatening condition.

The funds received from Viva Energy Australia will provide 15 families in the Geelong/Barwon region with a full 12 months of services from Very Special Kids. This includes 24 hour specialist nursing care at Very Special Kids hospice in Malvern and all year round support from a trained Family Support Practitioner based in Torquay.

One of these families is the McKiernan family from Corio who turned to Very Special Kids to help them care for their 14-year-old son Bryce who has kabuki syndrome and kidney disease. Because of his conditions, Bryce experiences epileptic seizures, has very low energy and is fed through a tube.

The level of care Bryce requires creates additional challenges for his parents Stacey and Darrin, as well as their other children Tori (20), Riley (18) and Hollie (12).

“Very Special Kids have been amazing” says Stacey, “the kids love going to the Family Days, but for me the most important support is from Peggy, our Family Support Practitioner. Having someone there who listens and cares is a massive help.”

The McKiernan family access a range of support services provided by Very Special Kids including include emotional support and guidance from a trained Family Support Practitioner (Peggy Hogan) as well as local programs and events to meet other families in a similar situation to share information and experiences.

Stacey says their family is very thankful for the funding from Viva Energy, “it keeps all of the things our family have enjoyed and utilised with Very Special Kids going. It means the support is going to continue to be there for us, it’s fantastic.”

Very Special Kids CEO Michael Wasley says, “By providing free of charge care for these children and families, Very Special Kids relies heavily on the support and generosity of the community. We are extremely thankful for the funding from Viva Energy to allow us to continue providing this vital support.”

Fair and Fashion Sale raise $131,143 for Very Special Kids

The Very Special Kids Fair and Fashion Sale were huge successes raising a combined total of $131,143 to support children with life-threatening conditions, and their families.

The Very Special Kids Fashion Sale was held at Malvern Town Hall selling brand new women’s, men’s and children’s clothing donated from various Australian and international brands. Bundles of bargains were snapped up and your generosity helped us to raise an amazing $48,547.

Just a short stroll from the Fashion Sale, we also held a large family Fair at the grounds of Very Special Kids. The weather couldn’t have been better with the sun shining all day and there was plenty to do and see. Children had the opportunity to meet Transformer’s Optimus Prime, My Little Pony’s Twilight Sparkle and Mr Potato Head, as well as AFL legend’s Nick Dal Santo and Leigh Montagna who ran a fun handball competition. The smells of delicious food wafted around the grounds of Very Special Kids and many left with arms filled with fresh fruit, flowers, cakes and toys.

On behalf of Very Special Kids, we wish to thank all of the volunteers who generously gave their time to support both the Fair and Fashion Sale. Your ongoing support helps us to continue to provide vital support to over 900 families across Victoria by providing essential family support services and access to respite and end-of-life care at Very Special Kids Hospice.

We would also like to thank all individuals, businesses and organisations that kindly donated products and services to help support Very Special Kids. The success of these events rely heavily on community support and we couldn’t have done it without you! And finally, a big, big thank you to everyone who attended, your support is very much appreciated.

A very special weekend for boys

Recently five very special teen’s had the ultimate boy’s weekend jam-packed with cool cars, video games and virtual reality!

The weekend kicked off with a movie screening in the hospice where the boys sat back, relaxed and watched The BFG.

On Saturday the boys revved up and headed to the Fox Car collection in Docklands – everyone loved it and were very excited to see all the different cars, both new and old in the collection.

They then headed to Platform 28 where the boys ordered whatever they liked and felt very grown up before returning back to the hospice for an afternoon of video games and virtual reality fun.

18-year-old Garcia said “the best thing about the weekend was getting to hang out with all boys that are in the same boat as me.”

Very Special Kids Mates Weekends are designed for teens who have high-cognition, but significant physical challenges, giving them a chance to have fun and connect with others in a similar situation.

This weekend was made possible by the generous support of volunteers, Fox Car collection, Grill’d Malvern, Platform 28 and a very special thank you to Upstream Foundation for funding the Very Special Kids Mates Weekends program.

Walking upstream and raising funds for Very Special Kids

A chilly start to the day didn’t stop Upstream Challenge participants from setting off with high spirits and determination.

Starting at Gosch’s Paddock in Richmond, those that took on the 50km endurance walk followed the Yarra River upstream before crossing the finish line at Donvale. There was also a 20km event starting in Ivanhoe.

Whether they were walking, jogging, running or skipping, all participants pushed themselves and did so for a very worthy cause.

Upstream Foundation chairman Paul Gruber said “it can be really hard work to reach the finish line and we see lots of smiling faces but there are also many emotions. This year was no exception with many families participating in memory of their loved ones.”

One of those families was the Cooper family who decided to take on the challenge in memory of their son Jaxon who lost his battle to a brain tumour at 10-years-old.

“The walk was a huge challenge” said mother Jodie Cooper, “but if Jaxon could push through and face challenges with his condition, this was something we could do to help show our support and raise funds for others with his condition.”

We are delighted to announce the Upstream Challenge has hit the target of raising over $200,000 with more funds still coming in.

These funds will be allocated between three charity partners: The Isabella and Marcus Paediatric Brainstem Tumour Fund, the Summer Foundation and Very Special Kids.

This funding for Very Special Kids will allow us to continue running our Mates Weekends program supporting children with life threatening conditions. Mates Weekends are designed to bring children together who have high-cognitive ability and are facing similar physical challenges. Read more about Mates Weekends here.

On behalf of Very Special Kids, we are very thankful for the incredible support from the Upstream Foundation and wish to congratulate all participants.

What’s on at the Fair!

There is something for the whole family at this year’s Christmas themed Very Special Kids Fair on Saturday 19 November 2016.

Starting at 9am and running until 3pm, children will have the opportunity to meet Transformer’s Optimus Prime, My Little Pony’s Twilight Sparkle and Mr Potato Head!

It wouldn’t be a Christmas Fair without a visit from our favourite friend from the North Pole. Between 930am and 230pm, children can have a beautiful photo taken with Santa and receive an early Christmas present.

Join in and get energised by a footy handball competition featuring former North Melbourne and St Kilda star Nick Dal Santo and St Kilda legend Leigh Montagna. You’ll also see mascots from the Western Bulldogs, Sydney Swans and Melbourne FC.

The Kids Activities Area will be jam-packed with exhilarating activities including bungy trampolines, an animal farm and a fire truck. Children can also have their faces painted, try their luck with lucky-dips and participate in fun craft activities.

Get your Christmas shopping out of the way at the market selling a range of beautiful homewares, homemade children’s nursery bedding, plants, toys and Christmas decorations. And with a silent auction on the day, you’re sure to find something special.

Those with a sweet tooth will love a visit to the cakes, jams and preserves stall, and those looking to relax will love the garden, fresh flowers and a cafe. Adults can also join in the fun of the lucky dip at the wine lucky-dip and raffle.

With all this excitement, you’re bound to work up a hunger. Find something tasty to eat at one of the many food stands including BBQ and burgers, Greek food, souvlaki, pancakes and Italian food. You can even make your own smoothie at the Bike n’ Blend stand. And when the feet start to tire from all the excitement, the massage booth is the place to be.

On the same day and just a short walk away, Very Special Kids are also holding a Fashion Sale at Malvern Town Hall with top brands slashed to 90% off! Read more here.

With all proceeds going to helping Very Special Kids continue to support families and children with life-threatening conditions, this is one event not to be missed!

Very Special Kids Fair details:
Date: Saturday 19 November 2016
Time: 9am-3pm
Location: 321 Glenferrie Road, Malvern

Main stage

  • 10.00am           Music Therapy
  • 11.00am           Australian Reptile Show
  • 12.00pm           Live music – Lucy Paterson
  • 12.30pm           Handball competition
  • 1.00pm             Tricky Nick
  • 1.40pm             Live music – Minor Sensation (Carranballac College)

Roving entertainment

  • 9.00am to 3.00pm           Fairies
  • 10.00am to 11.00am      Baloonologist – Mr Shaballoons
  • 10.00am to 1.00pm        Mr Potato Head
  • 10.00am to 1.00pm        Snout piggy mascot
  • 10.30am to 1.30pm        Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony
  • 11.00am to 2.00pm        Optimus Prime from Transformers

Santa Cave & photos

  • 9.30am to 2.30pm
  • $15 with free Christmas bear for each child

Download the Fair Program and Map!

Follow the Fair on Facebook for updates and important info!

Loreto students run successful toy drive supporting Very Special Kids Fair

For the last three years, students from Loreto Mandeville Hall School in Toorak have been running a very successful toy drive in support of the Very Special Kids Fair.

Raising over $8000 last year, the popular Fair Toy Stall will feature a range of different toys that will make perfect gifts just in time for Christmas!

Favourites at the stall have included Lego, Barbie, ride on toys, board games, sports equipment, play houses, summer inflatables, cars, trucks and bikes.

Loreto’s long-standing support of Very Special Kids is most appreciated and we look forward to welcoming students and teachers back again this year. Be sure to keep an eye out for some of the year 10 girls dressing up as fairies and volunteering in the Kids Corner.

The annual fair held on Saturday 19 November at Very Special Kids in Malvern, aims to raise $100,000 to help us support more than 900 Victorian families caring for children with life-threatening conditions.

For more info and regular updates, follow the Fair on Facebook.


Brave man and dog set off on 38,000km journey to raise funds for Very Special Kids

Next week 67-year-old Clive Blackford from Berwick will be setting off to travel around Australia with his 4-month-old dog Baxter, in the hope to not only tick the trip off his bucket list, but also to raise $50,000 for Very Special Kids.

Being diagnosed with prostate cancer 12 months ago, and discovering it to be terminal, Clive wants to do something to give back and also have a good time whilst doing it.

Very Special Kids helps more than 900 families across Victoria who have a child with a life-threatening condition with ongoing support from diagnosis all the way through to bereavement. By providing free of charge care for these children and families, Very Special Kids relies heavily on the support and generosity of the community.

“It makes more sense, supporting the children, I have had two types of cancer now, but I’ve also had a great chance at life, these kids haven’t and they deserve to be happy” says Clive.

Clive and Baxter the dog will drive the whole east coast of Australia up to Cairns, and then back down through the tablelands to Townsville, Mt Isa and Darwin. From Darwin Clive and Baxter will drive through the center of the Northern Territory and South Australia to Adelaide, and then back to Melbourne. There will be many stops along the way, reaching over 38,000km in total.

Clive estimates that the trip will take one to two years, and says “I don’t want to rush. I’m aiming to raise $50,000 to support Very Special Kids and this journey is giving me great purpose.”

Clive hopes to engage the public by highlighting Baxter’s travels, and getting photos of Baxter with people from all over the country in several different places. He has bought a caravan that will be the home for both of them, and he aims to raise as much awareness for Very Special Kids as possible.

“We’re only here for a certain amount of time – but I’ve been lucky enough to get 67 years. Kids are so much braver, they have a right to life. Mine and Baxter’s adventure is for the kids that need help the most.”

You can support Clive and Baxter’s adventure by donating to his online fundraising page via everyday hero, or search for Baxter’s adventure on Facebook.

Bloggers give back to support Very Special Kids

In the lead up to the Very Special Kids Fashion Sale, we hosted a very special evening with some very special ladies. We welcomed over 20 fashion and mummy bloggers to our building in Malvern, and help us get ready for our Fashion Sale on Saturday 19 November at Malvern Town Hall. Click here for more details.

Assisted by our Fashion Ambassador Jess Dempsey, owner of well-known blog What Would Karl Do and The Mummy Confidentials, the ladies had a fantastic evening filled with treats and professional photo-shoots, in order to raise awareness of the sale and help raise much needed funds for our charity.

The ladies also got to meet Melissa Young, one of the mothers that we support, who shared some very thoughtful insights and stories with the humbled attendees.

It was fantastic to see women that have such a large reach through their online networks, getting involved and encouraging their followers to get on board too.

Not only did the ladies showcase the items that will be on sale, but they compiled outfits and snapped some photo’s for their online platforms, so search the tag #vskfashionsale to get some sneak previews of what will be on offer at our sale.

Thank you so much to all whom attended, we look forward to seeing you again!

All bloggers wear clothing in the following photos that will be on sale for up to 90% off at the Sale.

Bounce adventures for Adolescent Sibling Day

Last weekend 28 teens enjoyed a day full of adventures and bouncing for the Very Special Kids Adolescent Sibling Day.

After arriving at Very Special Kids in Malvern, the teenagers set off on a scavenger hunt along Glenferrie Road followed by an afternoon of jumping fun at Bounce.

Whether they were running up the walls, launching into the ‘Big Bag’ or loosening up in the Free-Jump Arena, all teens had a great time on the trampolines and enjoyed hanging out.

A huge thank you to our wonderful volunteers who helped make the day possible, Crust pizza for providing delicious pizza at a discounted rate as well as all shop owners along Glenferrie Road for welcoming us when on the scavenger hunt.

Very Special Kids Sibling Support Program helps children who have a brother or sister with a life-threatening condition by providing activities where siblings have the opportunity to meet other siblings in a caring and safe environment. Read more about Sibling Support here.


Lauriston Girls’ complete their own treadmill challenge

Following on from the success of our 24 Hour Treadmill Challenge, Lauriston Girls’ School has completed its own treadmill challenge to raise $51,285 for Very Special Kids.

In continuous motion for six hours, the 11 treadmills at the Lauriston Girls’ School were propelled by 188 students, ranging in age from 10 to 18 years.

The girls took on the fundraising challenge by raising money in groups and their wonderful effort has collectively delivered more than 40 nights’ accommodation in our hospice for children with life-threatening conditions.

Lauriston Girls’ School principal Susan Just said she was pleased the students had found a healthy way to help Very Special Kids.

“Inspired by Very Special Kids Hospice and wanting to do more than just bring in money, a number of the senior girls set about organising the event. The girls wanted to extend themselves and work for the contribution they make to their community.

“We are all motivated by the work of nurses and carers at Very Special Kids Hospice, who typically spend six hours on each shift on their feet, and sometimes running, while caring for critically-ill and high-needs children,” Susan said.

The treadmills were generously donated to Lauriston Girls’s School by The Fitness Generation, who also supply all the equipment for the Very Special Kids 24 Hour Treadmill Challenge.