Tag Archives: fundraising

Michael Wasley and Ben Griffiths are outside on the site where the new home will be built.

A Very Special Home

Award winning new home builder, Henley Homes are well entrenched in many communities across Victoria, and so too is their dedication to making a difference in these communities. This year, Henley Homes will help build a better quality of life for sick children and their families by building and selling a stunning double storey home to raise much-needed funds for Very Special Kids.  

Construction of one of Henley’s most popular home designs, the Ashbury 30, commenced yesterday at The Dales, Bonnie Brook; an exclusive Henley community in Melbourne’s outer west, just 10 minutes from Caroline Springs.  

Ben Griffiths, General Manager of Henley’s completed homes division said, “We are very proud to be in a position to assist Very Special Kids raise funds to rebuild their hospice. The work they do makes a big difference to a lot of Victorian families. Our aim with the building and auction of this double storey home is to ensure Very Special Kids has the resources to continue the care and support for children and young people with life-limiting conditions and their families.”  

A group of Henley Homes and Very Special Kids team members are standing outside where the new home will be built

One lucky buyer will get to enjoy a beautiful home and the serenity of living in Bonnie Brook. Only 10 minutes from Caroline Springs, The Dales will feature beautifully manicured landscaping with all the amenities you need close by including, schools, shops, medical facilities, freeways and train stations,” added Ben.  

Michael Wasley, Chief Executive Officer of Very Special Kids said, “We are thrilled to be working with Henley Homes on this exciting new partnership. Their incredible generosity will help future proof the operations of our new world-class hospice which is set for completion in early 2023.  

“Corporate partnerships like these play such an important role in ensuring that we can continue to provide specialist palliative care to improve the lives of many children and young people, and their families well into the future,” Michael said.  

Image of new Henley Homes houseThe double storey 30-square home boasting Henley’s popular Novello façade includes four-bedrooms all with walk in robes, four living areas and an expansive master suite with an oversized dressing room.  

The home will be appointed with luxury fittings and fixtures, and finished with professional landscaping, decking, ducted heating and window coverings – everything a buyer needs to move straight in.  

It will hit the market in early November with all proceeds from the auction going to Very Special Kids. 

Two adults and three children are sitting outdoors. The children are holding pig shaped toys and everyone is smiling at the camera.

10,000 swings for Very Special Kids

10,000 golf shots in 24 hours, might sound like a difficult feat, but for Very Special Kids’ parent, Trevor, it is a welcomed challenge to support his son Harry and fundraise for other families who are facing life-limiting childhood illnesses.  

Trevor and his friend Damien will be fundraising for Very Special Kids at the Curlewis Golf Range on Monday 21 February 2022 by taking 10,000 golf shots in 24 hours. They will be livestreaming the entire event on their Tredam Golf YouTube Channel and hope to raise $5,000 to help other Very Special Kids families, like his own.   

Trevor shares, “Throughout our journey, Very Special Kids have supported Harry and my entire family, so I really wanted to give back and help raise as much money as possible for this wonderful charity that helps so many families, including my own.” 

A baby is having a bubble bath, he is smiling and having a great time.When Trevor and his wife Eileen were expecting their third son, they imagined the pregnancy would run like any other. However, during a routine pregnancy scan, they were given the news that their baby’s kidneys were larger than normal. 

Their son, Harry, had a condition called posterior urethral valves, which causes a blockage near the bladder leading to kidney swelling and damage. Harry was born eight-weeks premature, with severe kidney failure. 

“When Harry was born, he had less than 10% kidney function between the two. After two weeks in hospital the doctors told us that he’s not going to make it, and to start preparing for the fact that he wasn’t going to live,” says Trevor.  

Trevor and Eileen never gave up, they stayed by their son’s side and after four months in hospital, the family were finally able to bring Harry home. He was on dialysis until 2017, and when he was old enough his father Trevor donated his own kidney for Harry’s kidney transplant. This changed his life and now at nine-years-old, Harry is thriving.  

“It was a challenging time for my whole family, and we are so grateful Very Special Kids was there to support us. When we had the transplant, Very Special Kids put us up in an apartment near the hospital so that we could be close to Harry. It allowed myself and the kids to be there to support him. 

A child is dancing and posing for the camera, he is wearing a boy tie and fedora hat.“It’s not often, a charity looks after the whole family of the people who have an illness. The impact on siblings is often forgotten, but we have two other kids that are going through the same thing and aren’t receiving the same level of attention as their brother. So, support for them and family days is something we can all look forward to together,” he says. 

This was the reason Trevor wanted to give back to Very Special Kids and decided to take on 10,000 shots in 24 hours at the Curlewis Golf Range. The challenge will be livestreamed for the entire 24 Hours, and Trevor shared that there will be some great prizes up for grabs every few hours.  

“We’ve got a round of golf for four at The Kew Golf Course, Lara Tyre and Battery are giving away $600 worth of tires, and there is plenty more prizes set to be announced during the event. I am so grateful to everyone who has supported, especially Curlewis Golf Range for hosting me and Damian for the 24 Hours so we can raise money for Very Special Kids.”  

I look at the other families going through similar things to what we have been through, and my heart goes out to them. Fundraising can help other families like ours, receive the care and support they need. I am doing what I can to help these other families who are going through a tough time or worse than what we’ve been through. Every dollar counts.”  

If you would like to support Trevor, you can donate to his community fundraising page here. Or tune into the livestream on the Tredam Golf YouTube channel any time between 7pm Monday 21 February to 7pm Tuesday 22 February.  

Superstar fundraiser leads team to victory

How some healthy competition led Mike Dozier to end up being the highest individual fundraiser of the 24 Hour Treadmill Challenge in 2015.

In 2015, Andrew Penca, MD of Cummins signed up his company for the first time. Andrew challenged his mate Mike Dozier, MD of Paccar to sign up so they would have a bit of competition.

Taking on the challenge, Natalie Caia from Paccar jumped on board as the Team Captain and with her enthusiasm and commitment to the cause, Natalie led her team to victory.

Mike Dozier ended up raising a total of $24,005 being the highest individual fundraiser of the 24 Hour Treadmill Challenge in 2015. What an incredible achievement!

So how did he do it? He rallied up a large support base by asking his family, friends, clients and suppliers to get behind him. The more people you tell, the more likely you’ll generate a big support crew.

Paccar was also the highest Fundraising treadmill team raising more than $36,000.

All the funds raised at the 24 Hour Treadmill Challenge will go directly to children who receive 24 hour specialist care at Very Special Kids Hospice. To sponsor a runner visit www.vsktreadmill.org.au




Bendigo families to receive more support

Bendigo children living with life-threatening conditions and their families will now receive much-needed support with a Very Special Kids office opening in Bendigo in April.

Very Special Kids supports 27 families in the Greater Bendigo community that are caring for children with life-threatening conditions however, these families are currently serviced from an office in Ballarat.

With the opening of the Bendigo office Very Special Kids will be able to increase services to families including counselling for children, parents and siblings, trained home volunteers, group therapy programs, bereavement support and better access to Very Special Kids Hospice in Melbourne for respite and end-of-life care.

Rachel Ficinus, Very Special Kids Family Support Manager,  says Very Special Kids is determined to support these Bendigo families when they need it the most.

“When a child has a life-threatening condition it is difficult for the entire family. Our professional support services can be a hand in the darkness for these brave families, giving them the care they desperately need.”

Very Special Kids also hopes to reach more families in the region estimating there could be as many as 50 additional families in Greater Bendigo in need of their services.

The Watson family from Junortoun is one of the families that will benefit from the opening of the office. Seven-year-old William Watson and five-year-old Hamish Watson have an extremely rare genetic condition. The brothers are two of only six cases in Australia and 60 reported cases worldwide.

The condition, Adenylosuccinate Lyase (AdsL) Deficiency, has caused severe progressive neurological damage to both boys. They require wheelchairs for mobility and suffer from daily uncontrolled seizures.

Mum Natalie Watson said their condition is progressing and the boys need constant care.

“We have been unsuccessful at controlling the seizures completely with medication and diet modifications. We can’t plan too far ahead. It becomes very overwhelming and heartbreaking. Every day we wish for them to have a better quality of life. It can be a real emotional rollercoaster and takes its toll on both of us.”

The family turned to Very Special Kids for respite care at Very Special Kids Hospice, enabling Natalie and dad Brian Watson a break from their caring duties when needed, and counselling through a Family Support Worker.

The Bendigo office, which will cost upwards of $100,000 per year to run, has been made possible through a generous grant from Gandel Philanthropy and the fundraising of a local cycling group.

Gandel Philanthropy’s Major Grant of $180,000 over three years will firmly establish the Bendigo Office.

Vedran Drakulic, Gandel Philanthropy Chief Executive Officer, said living in a regional centre should not prevent families from accessing such vital support.

“Very Special Kids is unique in supporting Victorian families to navigate their child’s life threatening condition and recovery, and in some instances cope with bereavement. It was also important that there was strong local support to make the Bendigo Office a reality and extend their services to families in and around Bendigo.”

The Bendigo Tour of Tasmania cycling group has already mustered more than $100,000 ahead of their ride from 20 to 26 February, and are still fundraising.

Andy Hoare, a member of the cycling group, said it’s fantastic to be able to support their community through the ride.

“We chose to raise funds for Very Special Kids in the hope of supporting the families in our community that need this care. These families face many challenges and we feel honoured to have been able to help them.”

With resources secured to run the office for three years, Very Special Kids is currently searching for an office space and a Family Support Worker, and plan to open the office in April.

Very Special Kids will need continued support from the community to secure a long-term future for the office, and hopes to offer its services in Bendigo for many years to come.

Very Special Kids Fair and Fashion Sale

The Very Special Kids Fashion Sale and Fair were huge successes. This year, the Fair and Fashion Sale were held on different days, with the fashion sale at a new Friday night time.

The Very Special Kids Fashion Sale was held on Friday 13 November at Malvern Town Hall. On sale were men’s, women’s and children’s clothing from Australian and European brands. Bundles of bargains were snapped up by all those who came. Your generosity helped us to raise an amazing $40,000.

Despite the initially chilly weather, the sun came out and Saturday 21 November’s Very Special Kids Fair and we raised $79,000. Children were entertained by performances from Peppa Pig and enjoyed a handball competition with Nick Dal Santo as well as the animal farm, bungy bounce and a visit from a fire engine. 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.

We would like to thank all the volunteers who generously gave their time to support Very Special Kids at the Fair and Fashion Sale. Your ongoing support helps us to continue to provide vital support to 926 families across Victoria by providing essential family support services and access to respite and end-of-life care at Very Special Kids Hospice.

Bendigo cyclists tackle Tasmania to help Very Special Kids

A team of 22 Bendigo cyclists are taking the challenge of cycling around Tasmania from Saturday 20 to Friday 26 February 2016, to raise more than $50,000 for Very Special Kids.

They will cover 815 kilometres and climb over 12,000 metres during the seven days of cycling.

Very Special Kids currently supports 27 families in the Greater Bendigo community, by providing 24-hour nursing care at Very Special Kids Hospice and access to family support services through the Ballarat office.

It is hoped that with the funds raised Very Special Kids will be one step closer to opening an office in Bendigo, which would cost upwards of $100,000 to operate annually.

Stephen Iser, a member of the cycling group, said they are looking forward to contributing to their community through the Tasmania ride.

“We have chosen to raise funds for Very Special Kids to try and make a difference to the Bendigo families supported by the organisation.

“These families face many challenges and are not able to enjoy many of things us in the cycling group take for granted,” he said.

The Watson family from Bendigo is one of the families that will benefit from the group’s fundraising efforts. Seven-year-old William Watson and five-year-old Hamish Watson have an extremely rare genetic condition. The brothers are two of only six cases in Australia and 60 reported cases worldwide.

The condition, Adenylosuccinate Lyase (AdsL) Deficiency, has caused severe progressive neurological damage to both boys. They require wheelchairs for mobility and suffer from daily uncontrolled seizure episodes.

Mum Natalie Watson said the boys need constant care.

“Brian and I are their arms, legs and voice. We help them with every aspect of daily living, from dressing to feeding, monitoring for seizures and turning them over through the night to make them more comfortable,” she said.

The family turned to Very Special Kids for respite care at Very Special Kids Hospice, enabling Natalie and dad Brian Watson a break from their caring duties when needed, and counselling through their Family Support Worker.

Donations to the Bendigo Tour of Tasmania riders can be made at bendigotot.org.

Subzero and friends make a very special visit

The children at Very Special Kids Hospice received a very special visit from Melbourne Cup hero Subzero, to celebrate the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival Premierships and the team of trainers and jockeys that will be racing to raise money for Very Special Kids.

Subzero and handler Graham Salisbury got up close and personal with the children, with the gentle horse nuzzling into the children’s faces much to the delight of everyone there.

Trainers Wayne Hawkes and Lee Freedman and jockey Daniel Moor were also there to meet the children. The trio are part of the trainer and jockey team supporting Very Special Kids this Spring Racing Carnival. Others include jockeys Tommy Berry, Brenton Avdulla and James Winks and trainers James Cummings, Joe Pride, John O’Shea and John Sargent.

While competing for group titles and prize money at the 12 premier racedays, the jockeys and trainers will also be competing to win donations for Very Special Kids, with a pool of $80,000 up for grabs.

Team Very Special Kids off to the races

Eight Spring Racing Carnival jockeys and trainers have chosen Very Special Kids to be their charity in the Spring Racing Carnival Premierships.

While competing for group titles and prize money at the 12 premier racedays, the jockeys and trainers will also be competing to win donations for Very Special Kids, with a pool of $80,000 up for grabs.

The jockey and trainer who accumulate the most points across the Premierships will win $25,000 each for their nominated charity. In addition, the jockey and trainer who accumulate the most points on a raceday will receive a $1,000 donation for their charity, which will double to $2,000 on the final day of the Premierships.

Team Very Special Kids is made up of jockeys Brenton Avdulla, James Winks and Tommy Berry and trainers James Cummings, Jo Pride, John O’Shea (Godolphin Racing), John Sargeant and Wayne, Michael and John Hawkes (Hawkes Racing).

The Spring Racing Carnival Premierships get off and running tomorrow with Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes Day at Caulfield. Keep an eye out for Team Very Special Kids on these racedays:

  1. Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes Day Caulfield – Saturday 26 September, 2015
  2. City Jeep Moir Stakes Night Moonee Valley – Friday, 2 October 2015
  3. Turnbull Stakes Day, presented by Yellowglen – Flemington – Sunday, 4 October, 2015
  4. BECK Caulfield Guineas Day Caulfield – Saturday, 10 October, 2015
  5. BMW Caulfield Cup Day Caulfield – Saturday, 17 October 2015
  6. William Hill Manikato Stakes Night Moonee Valley – Friday, 23 October 2015
  7. William Hill Cox Plate Day Moonee Valley – Saturday, 24 October 2015
  8. AAMI Victoria Derby Day Flemington – Saturday, 31 October 2015
  9. Emirates Melbourne Cup Day Flemington – Tuesday, 3 November 2015
  10. Crown Oaks Day Flemington – Thursday, 5 November 2015
  11. Emirates Stakes Day Flemington – Saturday, 7 November 2015
  12. Sandown Spring Carnival Day, William Hill Park – Saturday, 14 November 2015

Very Special Kids Hospice Appeal

Very Special Kids Hospice in Malvern is a children’s hospice where families can access planned and emergency respite, as well as end-of-life care.

It costs $7 million per year to operate Very Special Kids, and from April through June, Very Special Kids is fundraising to ensure we keep our doors open.

Please donate to our annual Hospice Appeal.

It was Australia’s first children’s hospice when it opened in 1996 and it remains the only service of its kind in Victoria for children with life-threatening conditions. Most children who stay at Very Special Kids Hospice have complex medical and care needs.

Providing 24 hour specialist nursing care, Very Special Kids Hospice is a home-away-from home that features bright lounge areas, soft-play areas, gardens, a music therapy room, a multi-sensory room and fun-filled school holiday and weekend activities.

As an integral element for our family support program, Very Special Kids Hospice provides families with much-needed planned and emergency respite care. The hospice makes it possible for families to have a break, to go out for dinner, on a holiday, or just to go home and catch up on the sleep they so desperately need.

During a respite stay at Very Special Kids Hospice, the hospice team of doctors, nurses, carers and volunteers become familiar with the child’s care needs and  work to a routine the child knows at home, which provides parents or carers the ability to relax.

While the family support is provided free-of-charge to those who need our care, it costs Very Special Kids $1,000 to provide one bed night at our children’s hospice.  We rely substantially on generous community fundraising and there are a number of ways you can donate to our important children’s charity.

Very Special Kids will also see the support of more than 1,000 participants as they compete in the 24 Hour Treadmill Challenge from 22-23 May, to raise funds for Very Special Kids Hospice.



Jack visits the Melbourne Wholesale Market

Melbourne Wholesale Market is helping us celebrate our 30th anniversary through a fundraising event called Market on the Move.

On 1 August 2015 more than 500 forklifts will make the journey from the market’s current home in West Melbourne to their new location in Epping, while raising funds for Very Special Kids and the 20th Man Youth Fund.

16-year-old Jack Evans, a regular visitor to Very Special Kids Hospice, got to see the market in action at West Melbourne and meet the stallholders, ahead of the big move.