Monash Lodge No. 938 Donates to Very Special Kids

  • 11 October 2018
  • Very Special Kids, Malvern

On Thursday 11 October, Monash Lodge No. 938 donated $10,000 with the support of Freemasons Foundation to Very Special Kids, an organisation who care for children with life-threatening conditions by providing a children’s hospice and a professional family support service. The organisation aims to ensure that all families of children with life-threatening conditions are able to access quality services that meet their needs.

Very Special Kids was established in 1985 and became the first support organisation in Victoria designed to offer assistance to families of children with life-threatening conditions. In 1985, Sister Margaret Noone was the organisation’s first employee, becoming the Director and then eventually the Patron of Very Special Kids.

CEO Michael Wasley and the team at Very Special Kids are helping provide respite and out-reach support at 8 regional locations while fitting out homes and linking all communities to help families cope. During the tour of the facility, Michael said “there’s no end date, we’re still here and we will always be here” as the organisation remains involved in bereavement for an unlimited amount of time.

“All the services are optional” said Michael Wasley. “Families decide on what they need and what they think is best for their child. They don’t all want hospice.” 300 families use hospice facilities every year and 900 families across Victoria use services from Very Special Kids.

While touring the facility, a musical therapist played the keyboard for the children. There is also a musical therapy room which is great for children with limited cognitive and physical capabilities. Michael Wasley said that the room was “not mission critical, however it is a value add” and what better way to make children smile than with a shared music experience. Children can write and play music by blinking or with the touch of a finger using assistive music technology.

“Another value add is the option of family accommodation. This allows families to remain close to their children while being comfortable knowing that they are asleep in another room in the safe care of our nurses.” During school holidays, there are many amazing sibling programs including subtle counselling, tours and much more. This way, siblings do not feel excluded and build a strong connection with others who can understand their journey and smile together.

Very Special Kids is less confronting than a hospital or funeral home which makes it easier for families. “The facility is not just for children but for families. These families know that they have someone to fall back on.” Along with resilient and highly skilled nurses and all the staff, this organisation provides ongoing support from diagnosis all the way through to recovery or bereavement.

To find out more about Very Special Kids, visit www.vsk.org.au.

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