Today is the climax of Melbourne’s annual Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal, with a telethon bringing together residents of the state in support of paediatric care. Cadbury is providing almost half a million Cadbury Easter eggs for the world’s largest annual Easter egg hunt held in the grounds of the Mansion at Werribee Park. Volunteers around Victoria today can be found conducting billycart races or ferret and yabby races, holding a gala ball in a grand hotel, running a golf day or shaking collection cans. Celebrities have offered signed ‘blunnies’ (baby booties) for auction. Thousands of posters are sent out around Victoria, reminding people to prepare for the big day. Here’s the poster from 2006…
The Good Friday Appeal started in 1931 when groups of journalists from the Herald & Weekly Times organised a sporting carnival in aid of charity, the Children’s Hospital being a recipient of the funds. In 1942, Sir Keith Murdoch as Managing Director and Editor of ‘The Herald’ agreed that The Herald and radio station 3DB should broadcast an all day Appeal on Good Friday. In 1957, Channel 7 joined the Appeal and began the first day-long telethon, which is now held at Melbourne’s Telstra Dome. Channel 7 Melbourne and The Herald and Weekly Times have been joined by radio stations AW 693 and Magic 1278.
This year’s poster features five-year-old Noah Amarant, who was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a congenital heart defect that prevents the left side of his heart developing. The Stawell toddler had his first heart operation at just five days and another at three months. On Friday March 9, Noah successfully went through the third and final stage of a complex surgical process to allow his heart to circulate blood as near as possible to normal. Noah’s mother, Leanne, said he was excited about being the face of the year’s appeal and couldn’t wait to show his picture on a poster to his friends at kindergarten. “He was really excited to be chosen and we were really honoured because there are hundreds of kids and hundreds of stories that are amazing,” she said. Noah’s condition means he tires easily, but he is determined to do all he can to promote the hospital that has saved his life. “He ran for the camera on the beach but he then had to go and lie down and had to recover, ” Ms Amarant said.
More of the Noah Amarant story at the Good Friday Appeal site.