The face of 92.7 MIX FM’s Give Me 5 appeal, nine-year-old Lucas Bennett, is throwing his full support behind helping sick children just like him.
Lucas has Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder affecting the heart and causing development delays, low muscle tone and learning challenges.
The inspirational Bli Bli youngster is sharing his story to help raise funds for the appeal, which runs over the month of June.
Lucas has had a harrowing year in and out of hospital with respiratory viruses and infections and due to his condition needs a feeding tube to keep his weight up. He also needs extensive therapy.
Lucas’ mum Lauren says despite her son’s energetic and outgoing nature, his anxiety increases when he is in hospital. “William’s Syndrome is complex. It’s a journey of constant appointments and an emotional rollercoaster, but we are trying to find our way,” she says.
“You never imagine that you might need the help of your local hospital, but sometimes life throws you a curve ball and you find yourself on the children’s ward.
“During our stays we have been so lucky to have the Clown Doctors visit to help ease Lucas’ anxiety, plus other distraction resources like the interactive screens, iPads and activities. I’ll never be able to express how those little things make such a big difference.”
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Williams Syndrome, so patients like Lucas must continually be monitored and treated for symptoms through their lives.
This year’s Give Me 5 appeal is raising funds for a neonatal resuscitation system, an interactive play area for children undergoing day procedures, distraction therapy and ongoing funding for the Wishlist-funded Clown Doctor service to bring smiles and laughter to young patients.
The appeal will also raise funds for an innovative parental support and youth advisory group program to support young adults and provide a circle-of-care for mental health patients in the new Wishlist Centre to open opposite SCUH next year.
For more information or to donate, visit mixfm.com.au.
A heartfelt donation
Sunshine Coast retailer Roz White, of White’s IGA, has shared her emotional story after donating $4000 to 92.7 MIX FM’s Give Me 5 appeal and thanking one of the Coast’s top paediatric doctors, Dr Tom Hurley.
“Dr Tom Hurley is the most amazing man,” Ms White says. “Our 23-year-old son, when he was two years old, he contracted bacterial meningitis and we almost lost our boy. It was touch and go, and Dr Hurley saved his life.”
Dr Hurley is supporting this year’s month-long fundraising appeal to raise funds for a young adult mental health program, which will operate out of Wishlist’s new project Wishlist Centre, to open opposite the Sunshine Coast University Hospital next year.
“We have some very big items this year, and we are very much looking at youth and mental health on the Coast,” Dr Hurley says.
“Because we know with COVID and the stresses around these days, it’s big, there are a lot of young people suffering with mental health issues.
“We have a tsunami of young people with eating disorders, and we have a lot of young people suffering. We see it in clinics, we see it in our outpatients, in our emergency departments – young people are coming in with the many faces of anxiety, whether it be depression, self-harm, eating disorders. It’s a really big problem.”