Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation has announced FIVEaa personality and mother of two Belinda Heggen as its official ambassador for its 2012 Christmas Appeal.
The annual Christmas Appeal – which runs throughout December – raises money for the Foundation’s Kids FUNd, which is used to brighten up the lives for seriously ill children spending Christmas Day and the holiday season in hospital.
The Kids FUNd will help the Foundation purchase the things the Hospital staff and play therapists need to provide play distraction therapy and recreation for sick children. Things like basic arts and crafts, such as pencils and books, which help specialist play therapists guide activities, helping minimise any anxiety, stress and trauma often associated with being in hospital.
Twelve-year-old Catlian has been a regular patient at the WCH her whole life due to her lungs failing to fully develop when she was born. As the youngest person in Australia to receive a tracheostomy, where her larynx was removed and her airway was separated from her mouth, nose and esophagus, Catlian now breaths through an opening in her neck and needs to be regularly monitored.
Catlian has received a high level of support from hospital play therapists, who have not only helped inject fun into her hospital stays but also help relieve the impact on family.
Catlian’s mother Maria says play therapy and the equipment they use has been invaluable.
“It’s helped keep Catlian’s mind off her treatments and allowed her to simply have fun – she loves painting, photography and dancing,” Maria said.
“Without the Kids FUNd and the equipment and services it provides, being in hospital would be even harder for Catlian.”
The WCH Foundation and Belinda Heggen are calling on the South Australian community to get behind the Appeal and support seriously ill children, like Catlian, by helping make their Christmas Day magical.
“As a mum, Christmas is all about the kids and spending time with family and loved ones,” Belinda said.
“The thought of children spending Christmas Day in hospital is heartbreaking – but a reality for so many – which is why the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation Christmas Appeal is so important.”
WCH Foundation Chief Executive Sam Tolley says the Foundation is proud to welcome Belinda on board as the Foundation’s first official ambassador and encourages everyone to get behind the Christmas Appeal.
“Belinda is such a kind, generous and resilient woman who understands and knows first hand the critical role the children’s hospitals play in the lives of families,” Mr Tolley said.
To donate to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Christmas Appeal, go to www.wchfoundation.org.au or call 8464 7900.