Monthly Archives: December 2023

‘Tis the season to support Very Special Kids

The holiday season is just around the corner and our very special community is hosting an array of festive fundraising activities! Here are a few ways you can support Very Special Kids this Christmas:

Purchase a Petstock Christmas bauble

This festive season, the Petstock Foundation is taking action to inspire magic for children in need. You can support The Christmas Project by purchasing a Christmas bauble decoration in store or online.

All funds from bauble purchases will go far to help take the pressure off families and make Christmas feel special for children in need. Donations can also be made at local Petstock stores or online.

Very special children Breana and Marley feature in Petstock’s video that you can watch below.

Very Special Christmas lights

We are thrilled to have some very festive friends raising funds for Very Special Kids through their Christmas light displays. For location details and to support, please click here. 

Two long term supporters of Very Special Kids are also returning with their spectacular displays this Christmas. 

Two images of houses decorated and lit up with Christmas lights.

Melrome Court Kurunjang Christmas Lights (above left)

Brett and his family have raised thousands for Very Special Kids over the years through their showstopping display. This year, they are aiming to add another $5,000 to the tally, in memory of Jonah who tragically died just 90 minutes after birth. 

The light show launched on Saturday 9 December and will run until Sunday 24 December in Melrome Court, Kuranjang. For more information and to keep up to date, click here. 

Rob and Leonie’s Christmas Lights (above right)

Returning for their last hurrah, Rob and Leonie’s Christmas Lights are much loved by the Beaumaris community. Their entire front yard is converted into a Christmas wonderland and Rob and Leonie are aiming to raise $7,000 for Very Special Kids this year.

You can visit every night from 8.30pm until Christmas Eve at 151 Dalgetty Rd, Beaumaris. For more information and to keep up to date, click here. 

Support our Christmas Appeal 

This Christmas, we have the joy of sharing four-year-old Josiah’s story. Josiah was born with a hole in his heart and a life-limiting neurometabolic condition. For Josiah’s mum Ruth and his dad Travis, every single day has come with unwavering hope for his survival.

Thankfully, things became a little easier from the moment they connected with Very Special Kids. Ruth shared,  

“It takes a big load off our shoulders to have the peace of mind that Josiah is being looked after at the hospice.
Having a child with a life-limiting condition means my mind’s racing. My heart’s racing. There’s so much stress that when I finally get to stop, it’s like, ‘Oh, is this what relaxing feels like?” 

You can support our Christmas Appeal and read Josiah’s full story here.

Malvern Xmas Trees – SOLD OUT!

Malvern Xmas Trees are selling beautiful fresh Christmas trees again this year, and donating a portion of each sale to Very Special Kids.

You can order online and arrange delivery or choose your tree in person at Very Special Kids, 321 Glenferrie Road, Malvern:

  • Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm
  • Saturday and Sunday, 7am to 5pm
A young boy is lying on a bed, he is smiling broadly and his breathing tubes are visible. His older sister is lying close by.

Josiah’s story

When you hear Josiah’s cheerful giggle, you can’t help but smile. He is one of the most joyful little boys you could ever meet.

But Josiah entered the world fighting for his life. Josiah was born with a hole in his heart and a life-limiting condition.

For his mum Ruth and his dad Travis, every single day has come with desperate hope for their son’s survival.

Now four years old, Josiah’s neurometabolic condition affects him every day and night. He has difficulty breathing and is susceptible to respiratory illnesses with multiple cases of serious pneumonia. His vision is significantly impaired, and he has low muscle tone that can make it impossible to do simple things like sit on his own.

To this day, there is no treatment for Josiah’s condition. Not even a reference point.

But things became a little easier from the moment him and his family connected with Very Special Kids.

At 13 months old, Josiah came for his first overnight stay in Very Special Kids children’s hospice. It was the first time Ruth and Travis felt they could leave him somewhere — with the peace of mind that he was well cared for.

“Nobody truly gets the mental load and the stress that comes with having to make the right decisions for a child like Josiah.

To have Josiah monitored by people who can dedicate the time and who care enough to do it too, that is everything to me. I trust Very Special Kids more than anyone with him.” 

If you can give a gift this Christmas, it will help to support families like Josiah’s with everything from hospice respite care to counselling.

 “For us, Christmas is about hope. It’s a time of gratitude. Josiah is a gift. He may have a lot of complexities but, looking back to when he was born, it’s a miracle to see him get to where he’s at now.” 

Please send your kind Christmas gift as soon as you can to help fund vital respite through our children’s hospice over the Christmas period.

Click here to donate today!
A group of adults and children in wheelchairs are standing in front of a new building. They are smiling at the camera.

Victoria’s only children’s hospice gets a world-class revamp

The 21st of November 2023 will always be remembered as the day Very Special Kids unveiled its newly rebuilt children’s hospice – the Sister Margaret Noone Hospice at Very Special Kids House.

After six years of meticulous research, development and planning, our long-held dream of a world-class children’s hospice has become a reality. Very Special Kids House will provide world’s best practice facilities and specialist support, respite and end-of-life care for children and their families.

Although a paediatric palliative care facility, the state-of-the-art new centre is designed as a bright home-away-from-home featuring spaces for music and art therapy, a wheelchair-accessible playground, a hydrotherapy pool, and our resident therapy dog Jaffa.

It is the only facility of its calibre in Australia and the only children’s hospice in Victoria. CEO Michael Wasley stated,

 “Today is very much a celebration of what communities can achieve together… This very important event marks the end of a long journey and the start of a new chapter in holistic palliative care for Victorian children and families.”

The state-of-the-art facility is the legacy of Very Special Kids’ first employee and patron, Sister Margaret Noone – who opened the doors to the first Very Special Kids House in 1996. Sister Margaret had the well-deserved honour of cutting the ribbon, officially opening the doors to our rebuilt facility.

We were honoured to celebrate this watershed moment with key members of our philanthropic community who helped bring this project to life. A big thank you to the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments for their significant contribution, as well as the tireless efforts of our Capital Campaign Committee.

The Honorable Jed Kearney, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care shared, “I couldn’t be more privileged to be here to mark such an important day for Very Special Kids… Every child has the right to the best quality of life, no matter how long that life is or how short that little life might be.”

Very Special Kids House will provide a safe haven for many children, including 12-year-old Mia who was staying at the hospice.

“Very Special Kids is everything and more,” shares Mia’s mum Margie.

“I trust this place with my daughter’s life…I went home, and I slept for the first time without playing doctor, nurse support worker or anything else.”

The grand opening of Very Special Kids House coincided with Very Special Kids’ annual matched giving day fundraiser – A Very Special Day – meaning every donation made by the public was doubled for 24 hours.

Special thank you to Neil Mitchell and the 3AW team, who provided coverage for Very Special Kids throughout the hospice opening ceremony and A Very Special Day.

Generous donors opened their hearts and wallets to support children with life-limiting illnesses, giving a record $827,748.  We are so grateful to the community who surrounds us, ensuring Very Special Kids House can deliver the very best holistic palliative care now and into the future.