Gracie’s Gift Foundation: Shoeboxes Full of Fun!

KOALA Kids is very excited to announce that it is partnering to bring shoeboxes full of fun to children with cancer in the Kookaburra ward (and the other wards) every time they are admitted.

Today little Gracie, her mum Nikki and CCC’s Merridy together with KOALA Kids volunteer Grace Kerr, distributed the first delivery of shoeboxes full of brand new items thoughtfully and generously donated by the families in Gracie‘s prep class at Mentone Primary School. gracie's gift

Gracie was diagnosed with Leukaemia in July and although responding well to treatment has to still undergo intense treatment for the first 6-12 months and then remission and maintenance for another 2 years.  Says Nikki, “Gracie is a very strong and brave little girl and she loves to have fun and likes to keep busy!”

The shoebox of fun was Nikki’s idea after Gracie had been admitted several times, and depending on the time of day and the day of the week, was spending hours and hours with nothing to do.  Due to understandably strict hygiene regulations, Nikky found that unless she bought enough of Gracie’s  own toys and activities from home, they were spending hours frustrated and anxious looking for games to play and activities to keep Gracie distracted and occupied. 

There are separate shoeboxes for girls and boys and each box is sealed and filled with a selection of new toys, dolls, games, colouring, stickers, activities, books.

KOALA Kids volunteer Ashleigh Pyke, herself a first time mum of a little girl, met Nicky at Mentone Primary last week and filled her car to the roof with the gorgeous colourful boxes, each bearing their own special message from a prep student to a child in hospital having treatment. The boxes are being stored at KOALA Kids donated offices at Korjo and then each Monday, another KOALA Kids volunteer, Grace Kerr will take enough boxes into the Kookaburra ward for each young child on the ward to be given one.

For more information about Gracies Gift Foundation, the shoebox program and how your school can participate contact or

Volunteer Profile: Joey Hutton!

I began volunteering at KOALA Kids in March this year. Completing my final year of an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts and planning a degree in journalism, I was searching for a worthwhile way to devote my free time that could additionally improve my career-oriented skills. KOALA Kids particularly inspired me after meeting Mandy through friends of her families, and hearing of the foundations mission to provide the little things that make a difference to children and adolescents with cancer and their families.

Joey in the KOALA Kids office!
Joey in the KOALA Kids office!

My volunteering experience has been invaluable, having being involved in many different areas including distributing donations, event organisation and social-media co-ordination. Of particular interest has been collaborating with Peter MacCallums OnTrac division, an exciting new venture for KOALA Kids to further its efforts by providing suitable donations for adolescents and young adults. Most importantly, volunteering at KOALA Kids is extremely rewarding. It is amazing to consider even the smallest things achieved in a day in the office, such as filling an admission bag or a pill swallowing kit, can positively impact children and families during their cancer journey.

Further KOALA Kids relies on the generosity of donors and volunteers and it has been highly inspiration to witness how many people with much more demanding schedules than myself, devote so how of their time and effort to the foundation.

The Richmond Boys Create A Roar In the Children’s Cancer Centre!

What a day we had last Monday in the Children’s Cancer Centre at The Royal Children’s Hospital!

In celebration of the AFL grand final, KOALA Kids invited Richmond’s Matt Dea and recently retired Jake King and Daniel Jackson into the Kookaburra ward to visit the kids and their families. Lots of kids were wearing their favourite footy colour and re10603239_794231923962486_4981717773442573596_ngardless of whether they were Tiger fans or not, the boys were greeted with smiles and excitement everywhere.

Slattery Media and Neridah McMullin had donated lots of fabulous footy story books for the boys to read with the kids and they also enjoyed sitting around chatting – about football and even their treatments.

Two particularly excited Richmond fans in the Isolation unit not usually allowed visitors, made an exception for Jake King, who was able to then surprise his young fans wearing a hospital gown and chat to them excitedly about football, the grand final and their lives in general.

Each of the boys were really warm and generous with themselves and the families were so appreciative of the time taken out of their break from football to make the kids day so special.

Our Monday Book Club Had The Kids Going Croc- Crazy!

KOALA Kids September book club was an exciting one with visiting author Diana Lawrenson, read the children at the Royal Children’s Cancer Centre two of her books!

After listening to ‘Crocodile River’ a picture book about a salt water croc named Cranky who struggles through the cycle of growing up as a croc and the fight for survival the group was able to touch real crocodile eggs and teeth that Diana had bought in with her.  They were then able to create crocodile jaws using art material provided by KOALA Kids.ff

After Diana read ‘Paraphernalia’s Present’ wearing her chook’s hat, the children enjoyed more activities

Warmest thanks Diana for your time and enthusiasm, adding to the richness of KOALA Kids literacy program!

KOALA Kids is sure that the children at Monash Children’s Cancer Centre enjoy your visit and have just as much fun when you visit next Wednesday.

You can view more of Diana and Diana’s books on her website by clicking here.

Diana Lawrenson RCH