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For Wholesome Vibes, A Starlight Children's Foundation Angel Talks About The Work They're Doing

I’m not sure about everyone else, but I distinctly remember being so excited about receiving a Starlight Children’s Foundation Christmas decoration when I was in primary school. The decoration was this sparkly, glittery, dazzling star with a black backing and I would not let the festive preparations wrap up until it was hanging firmly on the tree.

Actually, someone remind me to call Mum about that decoration because I haven’t seen it in a while.

I digress. Starlight Children’s Foundation has been around for yonks, and while you might have first heard of it like me, a wee lad overly excited about Christmas, or through more conventional avenues, how much do you actually know about what Starlight actually does?

PEDESTRIAN.TV spoke to Starlight State Partnerships Manager for QLD Tracey Tomlin to get a bit more insight into the work they do.

If you wanna get involved, you can grab your $10 raffle tickets at Play For Purpose Starlight Children’s Foundation. Every ticket gives you the chance to win the first prize worth $250,000, with $5 from every ticket going straight to Starlight’s programs.

As a bit of heartwarming reading, you can also read up on some Starlight stories right here.

Image: Starlight Children's Foundation

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PEDESTRIAN.TV: Can you tell us a bit about the current programs you’re running and why you chose them?

Tracey Tomlin: We work in partnership with health professionals to deliver programs that have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of seriously ill children and young people to help them feel happier, more confident and resilient.

From one Starlight Wish granted more than 30 years ago, Starlight now creates over half a million Starlight experiences to sick kids each year through its multitude of innovative programs including the Starlight Express Room, a medical-free haven for sick kids and their families, and Captain Starlight who brings back the fun and happiness amidst medical treatment.

Other Starlight programs include Livewire which runs creative workshops for teens in hospital and helps them build social connections through a supportive community, while our Healthier Futures Initiative works with healthcare teams to visit remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

P.TV: What’s the best reaction you’ve seen to your programs?

TT: To hear a parent say that they don’t think they will see their child smile or hear them laugh again is heart-wrenching. To then see their tearful reaction (happy tears) when their child is giggling and playing with Captain Starlight is absolutely priceless.

We recently granted a Starlight Wish to seven-year-old Braxton whose Wish took him a world away from hospital. Braxton was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at a young age, meaning a huge emotional, physical, and financial adjustment to Braxton’s new ‘normal’ for his family.

With a love for animals and loud noises, Braxton’s family asked Starlight for a holiday to the Gold Coast where they could visit the theme parks and build some special memories together. The family had the most magical time together on their Wish; visiting the seals at Sea World, watching the Hollywood Stunt Driver show and doing a surprise meet and greet with Batman at Warner Bros. Movie World.

For a family whose world revolves around hospitalisation and treatment, this family holiday was just the perfect gift of happiness.

P.TV: What’s in store over the next year?

T.T: The demand for the programs Starlight provide to families living with serious illness is ever-increasing, so we continue to find innovative and creative ways to engage our corporate partners and the community.

For 2022, Starlight will continue to focus on its digital program delivery, including the roll-out of our annual Super Swim Challenge which encourages swimmers of all levels to dive in for sick kids throughout February (as well our biggest fundraising day, Starlight Day in May). We will also be working with our corporate and community partners to develop their own fundraising initiatives and team engagement programs.

P.TV: How does the Play For Purpose Raffle assist the foundation?

TT: Play For Purpose has made such a significant and positive impact on Starlight. Not only has it raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds to support the hospital and community programs we provide to families, but it has also raised awareness in the community.

P.TV: How did you find your path to becoming involved with the Starlight Children’s Foundation? What drew you in?

TT: After working in the corporate world for many years, I wanted to focus on a role with purpose and meaning. As a mother of teenage girls at the time, I was looking for something that my children could get involved with and for them to understand how important it is to give back to the community and care for others.

I have so many great memories of working with my daughters and my husband, the whole family gets roped in, to support Starlight. I have met so many amazing people over the years and I am always overwhelmed by their generosity and support.

The most amazing thing though is meeting the Starlight families. Having a sick child is any parent’s nightmare, and yet the families are always so strong, resilient and grateful for our support. It really puts things into perspective. Makes you realise that getting stuck in traffic on your way to work is not that bad!

P.TV: How can Aussies get more involved?

TT: There are so many ways to support Starlight and every donation makes such a difference and helps replace the fear, loneliness and isolation of serious illness and treatment with fun, joy and laughter. To find out more please visit our website. Starlight relies on the support of the community and we couldn’t brighten the lives of sick kids without it.

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