Help tugs at heart­strings

Albany Advertiser - - OPINION - Monique Keigh­ery Chief ex­ec­u­tive, Red­kite

For most, this time of year is about fun with fam­ily, a feast and a game of back­yard cricket.

It’s an op­por­tu­nity to en­joy life and sur­round your­self with the peo­ple you love. But for oth­ers, the fes­tive pe­riod poses sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges.

At Red­kite we know this is par­tic­u­larly so for fam­i­lies fac­ing the im­pact of their child’s can­cer.

While par­ents can try to make ev­ery­thing seem nor­mal, Christ­mas can never be the same when your child is sick. This is fur­ther ex­ac­er­bated by the fi­nan­cial bur­den that of­ten goes hand-in-hand with a can­cer di­ag­no­sis. And, as we know, can­cer doesn’t stop at Christ­mas.

In fact, 100 kids will be di­ag­nosed with can­cer this fes­tive sea­son. The sad re­al­ity is chil­dren die from this cruel dis­ease ev­ery week of the year.

For­tu­nately for these fam­i­lies, they are not alone.

Red­kite helps chil­dren, young peo­ple with can­cer and their fam­i­lies, and is there to sup­port them through all the chal­lenges.

We are there to as­sist fam­i­lies with crit­i­cal ser­vices in­clud­ing coun­selling in hospi­tals, mu­sic ther­apy and help pay­ing es­sen­tial house­hold bills.

We also bring some Christ­mas joy by distribut­ing more than 1000 fes­tive food hampers to these fam­i­lies.

But, we couldn’t do it with­out the in­cred­i­bly gen­er­ous sup­port of in­di­vid­ual donors and cor­po­rate part­ners such as Coles.

The in­cred­i­ble fundrais­ing ef­forts of the Coles team and Al­bany’s big-hearted com­mu­nity, who sup­port us through buy­ing Christ­mas do­na­tion cards, Gerry the Gin­ger­bread and a range of other prod­ucts from their lo­cal Coles stores, have helped en­able us do what we do.

Since 2013, Coles has raised more than $32 mil­lion for Red­kite, with lo­cal Coles Su­per­mar­ket and Coles Ex­press teams and cus­tomers in Al­bany be­ing a great con­trib­u­tor. It has trans­formed can­cer care in Aus­tralia and helped six fam­i­lies in the lo­cal area dur­ing the past year.

This sup­port has in­cluded help­ing six in­di­vid­u­als with es­sen­tial costs such as house­hold bills and fuel, coun­selling five peo­ple and as­sist­ing one young per­son with tai­lored ed­u­ca­tion and ca­reer guid­ance.

While we have been able to help many fam­i­lies, it’s vi­tal we reach even more with our es­sen­tial ser­vices — not just at Christ­mas time, but all year round.

On be­half of all the fam­i­lies Red­kite helps, I’d like to of­fer an enor­mous thank you to Coles, its pas­sion­ate char­ity cham­pi­ons and team and, of course, gen­er­ous Al­bany cus­tomers for the sup­port they have given so far and ev­ery­thing they do in the fu­ture.

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