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    CHRISTMAS CHEER: Braxton Williams, 8, and his brother Jimmy Clugston, 2, promote a Koala Kids Christmas toy drive. Their mother, Sarah Lee, is organising a drop-off event on Saturday to collect donations to put smiles on the faces of cancer patients and their families. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Braxton and family help to make a difference

BY SARAH MATTHEWS

Wimmera people looking to deliver joy to young cancer patients this Christmas can support an annual Koala Kids toy drive at the weekend.

Horsham mother Sarah Lee has supported the charity the past few years after her son, Braxton, now 8, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2019. 

“Although we’ve had quite the journey, we’re truly thankful for the amazing support we have received along the way,” Ms Lee said.



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“This is our way of paying it forward and offering support to those who are unfortunately in a similar situation to ours.

“It’s a sad reality for too many families, having to spend Christmas in hospital. I think given the year we’ve had, together we can really make a difference.”

Ms Lee said people who donated to the toy drive were ‘helping provide happy moments to children during cancer treatment’.

This year, in light of COVID-safe measures, she is hosting a ‘drop-off’ session at Horsham Angling Club rooms on Saturday from 10am to 2pm.

“I’ll have volunteers set up and we’ll come over to people’s vehicles to collect the donations,” Ms Lee said.

“All the toys need to be brand new in their original packaging. They don’t need to be wrapped for Christmas because volunteers will go through them. We can’t accept food donations.

“I’m also encouraging people to add in a couple of packets of novelty band-aids. They’ll get sent out to pathology clinics in the hospitals, and they’ll be used for kids when they’re having finger pricks or blood tests or having their ports deaccessed for chemotherapy.”

Ms Lee said people could visit her Facebook page, Wild Sol, for a list of suggested items, including games, puzzles, Duplo, Lego, toys and books. 

“All the toys that will be collected at the weekend will go down to Koala Kids in Melbourne and will be distributed to the oncology wards at the Royal Children’s and Monash hospitals for Christmas,” she said. 

Koala Kids’ purpose is ‘to bring happy moments to children and young people during cancer treatment, their families and their health-care team’ through providing ‘small things that make a difference’.

“I’m doing the toy drive again to help create smiles for fellow oncology families through kindness and generosity,” Ms Lee said.

She said Braxton was currently ‘really good’ and was attending school part-time.

“He’s still having to go down to Melbourne every three months at this stage for MRIs and check-ups, but he’s going okay,” she said.

People can message Ms Lee via the Wild Sol Facebook page or call her on 0447 806 738 for more information.

The entire November 17, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!