Starlight this Christmas

Monday November 16, 2009

Starlight is asking the community to donate and send a special 'Message of Hope' to all seriously ill children in hospital over this Christmas period.

Captain Starlight, who entertains sick kids in hospitals across Australia every day, will ensure the 'Messages of Hope' reach sick kids in all Starlight Express Rooms and at their bedsides across the country. Captain Starlight will create 'Christmas Paper Chains' with the kids, writing the messages of hope on each paper link and then decorating the Starlight Express Rooms colourfully with the all chains.

Seriously ill children and their families, who will have to spend the Christmas period in hospital can then read all the positive messages and know that the community is thinking of them during this difficult time. What we want the community to do: Help Starlight Connect Sick Kids to the Joy of Christmas There are many ways the community can get involved and support Starlight:

  • Donate & send a "Message of Hope" to seriously ill children in hospital this Christmas.
  • Purchase your Starlight Christmas cards and merchandise including Santa hats & stockings.
  • Create the longest Christmas Paper Chain - get your local school, community or business group involved.

Ruby’s story

Ten-year-old Ruby was born at 22 weeks. She was born with Premature Retinopathy which affects premature infants. For Ruby, this condition has resulted in the loss of vision. Ruby also has cerebral palsy, learning delays & some behavioural problems as a result of her condition. After she was born, Ruby spent 107 days in hospital with 24/7 care. Her mother Margaret would travel an hour back and forth from the hospital with her 8 year old daughter Lucy to visit Ruby. Lucy is like a second mother to Ruby which has its ups & downs. She is very protective of her younger sister.

Ruby can't do the simple things most other ten-year-olds take for granted, like doing up her shoes laces & buttons. "It was terrible when I was told about her condition - we didn't expect Ruby would survive. I organised her funeral five times during the 107 days in hospital". At 40 weeks we finally took Ruby home, the reality of her condition sank in. I took 3 months off work to nurture her. She came home with oxygen & lots of medical apparatus. My mother had to learn how to drive to help me get to all the appointments.

"On her first Christmas eve, the nurses dressed all the babies in their cribs in Christmas dresses which had been handmade by the hospital staff and they placed Christmas baubles in all their cribs. I will remember this every Christmas", said Margaret.

“If I had one wish this Christmas it would be for Ruby to be normal like her sister. Lucy has just graduated from school and will soon start university. That will never be the case for Ruby. Fortunately Starlight Escapes allows our family to be normal as there are other families in similar types of situations and this is comforting. The Starlight Express Rooms are also fantastic. She loves the Wii's & movies. She remembers all the lines in the movies and all the characters. Ruby loves Captain Starlight. She says ‘I know he's in a suit mum but he is real!’.

“Her father is away for 9 months of the year in the Navy so Starlight allows us to have family time together which we wouldn't otherwise have. Starlight provides something special for the kids. Their programs allow the kids to look forward to something. Ruby's Starlight Wish is to see the snow for the first time and this should take place next winter.”

To find out how you can make a difference, go to www.starlight.org.au

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