lifestyle

The simple thing you can do to help sick kids.

By REBECCA OXENBOULD

“It’s hard to explain how difficult it is to have a little one constantly in and out of hospital” says Charley’s mum, Margot. “Life as you know it becomes so much more hectic and exhausting. As parents though, you can’t stop – you have to keep going and deal with it as best you can. It’s difficult for people to understand what you are going through at the time and the effect it has on the family as a whole. It was never just about Charley and what she was experiencing. All of this also had a large impact on Charley’s older sister Samantha. The stress of not really understanding why her baby sister had to go through it, all the appointments she had to be dragged along to and the fun she was missing out on took its toll on her too.”

Charley is now two and a half years old, however she had a difficult to start to life. Born two months premature, little Charley has experienced ongoing health complications due to her early arrival.

As a result she’s spent quite a bit of time in and out of Randwick Children’s Hospital, one of the hospitals where Starlight runs their Captain Starlight program.

“‘I can’t explain how much my husband Peter and I appreciated the Captain Starlights at Randwick. They recognise the impact a sick child has on everyone and parents’ reluctance to leave their child’s bedside. They would visit Charley and convince us to take a break so we could regroup while they entertained Charley. We were happy to oblige comfortable that Charley would be in great hands”.

Captain Starlights are highly trained individuals, skilled at helping seriously ill children, and their families, through some of their most challenging moments – whether it be overcoming the anxiety of surgery, distracting them from the pain of having a burns dressing changed or simply relief from the boredom and isolation that hospitalisation can bring.

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“Captain Starlight had the ability to make little Charley laugh when she had just come out of surgery and was confined to her hospital bed in a body cast, all at the age of one. They have a great ability to distract the children and the family from what is your current reality. Even if it is just for a little while, it’s a welcome distraction., I’m so happy to be able to be involved with the RBC Race for the Kids,” says Margot.

“Having Charley and her sister involved in the event will not only give them a really fun day out, but will allow us to raise awareness of the amazing work Starlight does and to help Starlight support other families who might be going through a story that’s a little like ours.”

The RBC Race for the Kids is an international race held by the Royal Bank of Canada in seven countries to raise money for children’s charities and it’s coming to Sydney. The 5km course is a beautiful track through Centennial Park and ends with a family festival that will surely have the kids running to the finish line!

Captain Starlight will be there, with a pop up arts and crafts experience; there’ll be face painting, jumping castles, a petting zoo, loads of fun giveaways and children’s entertainers to keep the little ones amused. They’ll also be food vans, a bar and a soft tissue masseuse to keep Mum and Dad smiling.

Beginning at 3pm on Saturday, October 18, so families can get all of their Saturday ‘stuff’ out of the way. It promises to be a wonderful day out for all the family and all the more enjoyable knowing your support will be helping Captain Starlight to keep sick kids smiling at Sydney’s two major children’s hospitals.

Tickets are $47 for adults, $21.50 for kids 5 – 16 yo and kids 4 and under are free. For more information or to register visit: rbcraceforthekids.com.au