During November and December last year, 143 Limbs 4 Kids children, siblings and families attended ‘Christmas Parties for Special Children’ in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. This was the first year of Limbs 4 Life being invited to take part and was a wonderful chance for families to enjoy a fun day out.
Paul Munro, the Brisbane General Manager, outlined that the parties have a lengthy history with clear objectives. “The Parties were born out of a request from The United Nations, in 1979, to help celebrate the International Year of the Child. Since that time they have given children, who may otherwise have missed out on the round of Christmas activities, the chance to gather and share the magic of the Festive Season with a group larger than their immediate circle of family and carers,” Paul explained. “Our goal is gather children who are sick, seriously ill, physically or intellectually challenged, or disadvantaged through circumstance and help them forget their troubles for a few hours. We want to help children to see that they are not alone and help them to just be children at an exceptional time of the year,” Paul enthused.
The ‘party’ went into a hiatus for a few years and was then slowly established around Australia in capital cities, regional centres and across New Zealand; with both Brisbane and Melbourne established in 1995.
Lynne Cavanagh, the Melbourne Party Manager, said that jJust about everyone has a soft spot for kids, but when a child has specific needs, struggles on a daily basis and faces those challenges with such bravery your heart melts even more. Our events are not only for those children but it is for their important siblings. Similarly, it also for parents to spend a great day with their children and meet other families who might share similar issues”.
Through the generosity of sponsors, children were afforded the opportunity to play on a range of rides, meet superheroes travelling around the grounds, dance to DJs, meet an array of animals in the petting farm, have faces painted and, of course, meet Santa who came laden with gifts!
One parent who attended the Melbourne Party enthused that “it was a fabulous day for our son. He kept saying it was the best party ever. He did so many different things and he just loved his present and the soft toy! He said he is a very lucky boy”.
Another parent who attended the Melbourne Party shared that “it was a great function and we feel very lucky for the kids to be invited to this event!!” while another said that “we couldn’t get the kids off the rides, it was a fantastic day”.
The organisation was pleased to have members of the Limbs 4 Kids family take part in 2015. “As we find out about groups, organisations and individuals who would benefit from attending the event we gladly extend an invitation for them to participate. We became aware of Limbs 4 Kids through Zaharoula Harris, who also volunteered her time photographing the Melbourne event,” Lynne explained.
The parties are funded through significant contributions from corporate sponsors and volunteers who believe in the value of accessible parties for children.
Of the Canberra Christmas Party, one Limbs 4 Kids parent who attended said that “it was an amazing event and so well organised, the generosity of the sponsors and everyone who gave up their time to be there was incredible … It was lovely that both boys could attend and a welcome break from the intensity of hospital visits etc”.
Limbs 4 Life are extremely grateful to the organisers, their sponsors and all the volunteers who made the parties so special, and we look forward to offering the chance to take part again in 2016.