Hyundai is happy to help kids

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS -

Leon West was smil­ing this week, as the Hyundai Help for Kids char­ity reached a mas­sive mile­stone.

Co­bram’s HS West Mo­tors dealer prin­ci­pal said there was a con­tri­bu­tion from ev­ery Hyundai sold.

‘‘It’s an ex­cel­lent pro­gram,’’ Mr West said.

‘‘We are happy to be a part of it — rais­ing $5 mil­lion in three years is an amaz­ing ef­fort,’’ he said.

Hyundai Help for Kids is the char­i­ta­ble arm of Hyundai Mo­tor Com­pany Aus­tralia.

Es­tab­lished in Jan­uary 2014, Hyundai Help for Kids is the Aus­tralian ex­ten­sion of Hyundai’s global Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity pro­gram, Mov­ing The World To­gether, and has pro­vided grants to­talling $5 049 556 so far to a range of or­gan­i­sa­tions ded­i­cated to help­ing Aus­tralian chil­dren and their fam­i­lies in times of need.

The pro­gram is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Hyundai Mo­tor Com­pany Aus­tralia and its 168-strong na­tional dealer net­work, with funds be­ing raised for Hyundai Help for Kids ev­ery time a Hyundai is sold in Aus­tralia.

The fam­ily tree of char­i­ta­ble or­gan­i­sa­tions helped by those funds cur­rently num­bers 18, and fea­tures such well-known names as Ron­ald Mc­Don­ald House Char­i­ties Aus­tralia, Make a Wish Aus­tralia and the Clown Doc­tors.

Im­pres­sive as this ef­fort is, it’s the in­di­vid­ual sto­ries of how this in­vest­ment can change lives that are most in­spir­ing, as is the case with 11-year-old Eve.

Eve, the youngest of four chil­dren from Coffs Har­bour in NSW, is a lit­tle girl with a huge smile who suf­fered mys­te­ri­ous pains in her leg over the Easter break in 2015.

She was sent to Sydney for a week of tests, nee­dles and a bone biopsy, which re­vealed the worst news any par­ent could hear: Eve had can­cer.

She was di­ag­nosed with os­teosar­coma, a type of bone can­cer that would change her life — and that of her fam­ily — for­ever.

While her fa­ther, Jeff, stayed in Coffs with her three sib­lings, her mother Re­becca spent months with Eve at Ron­ald Mc­Don­ald House, which pro­vides ac­com­mo­da­tion, love and com­pan­ion­ship for fam­i­lies who need the help of the Sydney Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal in Rand­wick.

It was there that Eve en­dured 10 months of chemo­ther­apy and a num­ber of surg­eries, in­clud­ing one to re­move a can­cer­ous tu­mour and re­place it with a metal pros­the­sis from her thigh to her an­kle.

It was the tough­est time imag­in­able, but this bright and brave lit­tle girl — speak­ing about her ex­pe­ri­ences in the mov­ing film Eve’s Jour­ney — re­mem­bers the fun times; mak­ing good friends, meet­ing amaz­ing peo­ple, in­clud­ing the hosts of To­day, and her favourite singer, Tay­lor Swift.

One of her hap­pi­est mem­o­ries, though, was the Clown Doc­tors.

‘‘They came to your bed and just make you laugh, it was re­ally fun,’’ Eve said.

In the midst of the most se­ri­ous treat­ment, the fact that a char­ity can put a smile on the face of a girl like Eve is surely some­thing close to mirac­u­lous.

And then a greater mir­a­cle, just shy of al­most a year of ac­tive treat­ment, Eve got to ring the bell at the Sydney Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal, which marks the day a child’s treat­ment is over and they can go home.

Back on her feet, back in Coffs and at school for Year 6, Eve is tak­ing act­ing lessons, smil­ing again and said the Clown Doc­tors in­spired her to do some­thing creative with her life.

‘‘Thanks to re­searchers, doc­tors and nurses I am here to­day, I just wanted to say a big thank you,’’ she said.

Her jour­ney is just one of the thou­sands of dif­fi­cult paths trod­den by fam­i­lies with sick chil­dren, paths that are made eas­ier by the work of char­i­ties that Hyundai Help for Kids sup­ports. ● Na­tional part­ners: Goals For Grass­roots; Lit­tle Wings; Clown Doc­tors (The Hu­mour Foun­da­tion); Aus­tralian Cer­vi­cal Can­cer Foun­da­tion; Ron­ald Mc­Don­ald House Char­i­ties (Aus­tralia); Make A Wish Aus­tralia; Royal In­sti­tute for Deaf & Blind Chil­dren; Steven Wal­ter Chil­dren’s Can­cer Foun­da­tion – Hyundai Help for Kids Can­cer Re­search Project; Life Ed­u­ca­tion Aus­tralia; Kids Re­search In­sti­tute – Bone In­jury Project at The Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal at West­mead; Bear Cot­tage. ● Re­gional part­ners: NSW: As­sis­tance Dogs Aus­tralia. Vic­to­ria: Down Syn­drome Vic­to­ria; Kid­safe Vic­to­ria; Berry Street. Queens­land: Hyundai Help for Kids Li­ons Acad­emy; Keema Chil­dren’s Foun­da­tion – Lit­tle Stars Kids Camp. South Aus­tralia: Can:Do 4 Kids.

Eve’s life was touched by so many of these, not just the Clown Doc­tors and Ron­ald Mc­Don­ald House, but the Kids Re­search In­sti­tute – Bone In­jury Re­search Project at The Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal at West­mead and the Steven Wal­ter Chil­dren’s Can­cer Foun­da­tion.

Her mother, Re­becca, said no ‘thank you’ could ever be enough for the peo­ple who helped her fam­ily.

‘‘The work of or­gan­i­sa­tions like Hyundai Help for Kids are the sort of thing you never re­ally pay enough at­ten­tion to, un­til you need them, and then you just can’t be­lieve how won­der­ful they are, and how much they help fam­i­lies in need,’’ Re­becca said.

Watch Eve’s Jour­ney, a short film, at: http://bit.ly/EvesJour­ney-YT

Proud mo­ment: HS West Mo­tors gen­eral man­ager Craig Opray and dealer prin­ci­pal Leon West cel­e­brate the achieve­ment of a char­i­ta­ble mile­stone.

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