An update from Koala Kids during the COVID-19 Outbreak

The current health crisis is posing as a stressful time, especially for families who have children with cancer.  Families have never been more isolated than they are now. Visitors have been restricted with neither siblings nor extended family permitted in some wards.  Each of the not-for-profits have suspended their in hospital activities and there are no longer group sessions with art and music therapists and educators.

We are maintaining close contact with our colleagues in the Children’s Cancer Centres and other hospitals with whom we work, discussing how we can alleviate some of their anxiety, by providing activities and other resources for children in treatment. We are also cognisant of the added stress for the staff and are keeping them in our sites as we identify wellness and mindfulness items that can help during roster changes etc.

Now, more than ever #WEBELIEVEHAPPYHELPS

We are making every effort to help families raise their spirits. We have found and will continue to look for more happy things for the kids to do, distractions that we can provide remotely while our volunteers are physically unable to facilitate activities in the hospitals. Whilst we have made changes to our operation, we remain as committed as ever to our vision, to touch every child and young person during cancer treatment.

If your child is currently undergoing cancer treatment at one of the treatment hospitals we support, we will continue to provide most of the small things that you are used to enjoying.

We have already sent in some new resources for hospital staff  to distribute to children and their families like LEGO, craft activities, puzzles, books etc. Comfort First, art, music and play therapists are no longer able to sanitise and re-use resources so we are delivering a large order of pencils, markers, colouring books, paint and paint palettes etc. which can be given to each child after their therapy session.

If your child is currently in-treatment at The Royal Children’s Hospital or Monash Children’s Hospital and whilst our volunteers are unable to attend, we have introduced coffee and food vouchers for the hospital cafes so you can stretch your legs, grab a coffee or two and a toasted sandwich.

If you are at The Royal Children’s Hospital, please email us happyhelps@koalakids.org.au and we will email you an electronic voucher for Sandrock Cafe.

If you are at Monash Children’s Hospital, please see staff at The Reef who will issue you with a voucher for the cafe.

We will continue to send craft and activity sets to the hospitals and are very happy to send things directly to families either at home or in temporary accommodation.  We are aware of so many more families isolated in their homes because of the threat of COVID-19 and understand that their isolation will be further compounded when siblings are home from school, leading up to and during the school holidays.

We are inviting families to  email us at happyhelps@koalakids.org.au for specific items like iTunes Card to purchase a movie, activities for specific age group etc, or for general things to keep you and your kids busy. We are also keen to hear if  you have other ideas as to how we can support families and what might be working for your family that others might enjoy.

Please continue to visit our Facebook page facebook.com/koalakids where we will post virtual experiences and other online creative and educational resources that you can access without cost.

Assuring you of our continued support.

During this time, we will continue to post as many happy stories as we can on our social media to help lift spirits #webelievehappyhelps


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