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Very Special Kids exceeds million dollar mark for annual Piggy Bank Appeal fundraiser

17 Oct 2014 12:00 AM - HOLLY MCKAY

LEADER COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER CENTRAL


HUNDREDS of families across the state are struggling to find enough ways to say thanks to the thousands of generous strangers who donated to this year’s Very Special Kids campaign.

A staggering $1,157,210 has been raised in the 2014 Piggy Bank Appeal to help more than 800 families caring for children with life-threatening conditions.

Ringwood North parents Frank and Jenni Concilia became involved with the Malvern-based charity in 2012 when their son Josh was diagnosed with leukaemia.

Josh, 12, was also born with a very rare genetic condition called kabuki syndrome, which has meant that treating his leukaemia has been a process of trial and error with traditional procedures not working.

“He suffered severe side effect because of the chemotherapy,” Mrs Concilia said.

“But he’s a real fighter. He’s got another nine months of treatment to go. But he’s such a happy little boy.”

Mrs Concilia said they became involved with VSK to help support their daughter Mia, 9.

She said because of Josh’s illness she felt Mia’s needs were not being met.

Mia attended one of the VSK sibling days, and is now a regular attendee.

“She just found those so lovely,” Mrs Concilia said.

“It’s an escape for her but also means she meets other kids who have brothers and sisters going through the same thing.”

Mia also has a trained home volunteer that spends one-on-one time with her.

Mrs Concilia said she couldn’t express how grateful she was to everyone who had donated to this year’s appeal.

“We’ve felt so supported by VSK throughout this journey,” she said.

“We’re so lucky to have been in touch with them. They’ve just been amazing.

“We are so grateful to the larger community who offer their support to VSK because without that, they wouldn’t be able to support families like us. There are some really amazing, generous people out there and they don’t even realise the huge impact they’re having.”

READ MORE ON HOW VERY SPECIAL KIDS IS HELPING FAMILIES:

— IN BLACKBURN SOUTH

— IN WERRIBEE

Very Special Kids chief executive Sarah Hosking said she was “extremely grateful for the generous support”, which would enable VSK to continue its work.

“While the future is uncertain for many of these families and their children, one thing they can rely on is that VSK will be there to offer respite and end-of-life care through the hospice and practical and emotional support through our Family Support Services and home volunteers, and all free-of-charge,” Ms Hosking said.

“It costs $6.5 million per year to operate VSK. Thank you for helping us give these families that certainty.”

Find out more about the Piggy Bank Appeal at the Very Special Kids’ website.