Team Very Special Kids take on the Melbourne Marathon

Last weekend, Team Very Special Kids hit the pavement determined to raise funds for children and families in our care. With 579 participants joining Team Very Special Kids as part of the Nike Melbourne Festival 43rd edition, together we raised nearly $70,000 which made us the third highest Associate Charity taking part at the event.

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Thanks to the amazing community support from our participants Very Special Kids can continue providing specialist palliative care, improving the quality of life for children, young people and their families. Teams and participants ranged from first time marathon runners to seasoned pros. 

Olivia Molly Rogers - medalVery Special Kids Community Ambassador and Former Miss Universe and Speech Pathologist, Olivia Molly Rogers, was one of the participants running for Very Special Kids – raising an incredible $7,542.15 as our top fundraiser.

Olivia shared, “I have seen first-hand the work they do. It is just an incredible cause, and I cannot think of a better one to support. Running a full marathon has been on my bucket list and I thought what better opportunity to support Very Special Kids and do it for an amazing cause!” 

ClaudiaVery Special Kids Community Ambassador and Foundation Committee member, Claudia Haeger crossed the finish line in under four hours after a gruelling 42.2km full marathon, raising over $3,000 for Very Special Kids – a phenomenal effort! 

Claudia shares, I’ve been a part of this initiative and advocate for Very Special Kids for four years. I believe that with kindness, hope and through the great efforts of Very Special Kids the world would be a better place. 

Another Community Ambassador participating in the half-marathon was Chris, who has a personal connection with Very Special Kids.  

Chris’s son Reggie died at age two in 2019 after being diagnosed with Infantile Onset Pompe disease. Reggie spent his last hours at the Very Special Kids hospice surrounded by family and our specialist team. The family access expert counselling and a range of support programs at Very Special Kids. They are supported by Very Special Kids Family Support Practitioner, Edwina Hargreaves, whose role is to support to the entire family at all stages of their journey.   

Chris has run in the Melbourne Marathon Festival since 2018 and has raised valuable funds for Very Special Kids, year on year. 

Chris said “Very Special Kids have been extremely important for us from the time of Reggie’s diagnosis through to the continued support we receive today. And running is important to me immediately after Reggie’s passing – it was a way of having some time with him. We will forever be indebted.”   

Property advisory group SEMZ were the top fundraising team for Very Special Kids, rallying their staff to raise a remarkable $7,283 for Very Special Kids.

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Our youngest supporters, Rupert and Banjo met on race day and completed the race together. Joined by their mother’s Geraldine and Emily, the four supported each other across the finish line.  

Rupert shares, “I decided to take on the challenge because it is a good cause, and my family has been fundraising for it since before I was born. It is a challenge, but it is a challenge that could help lives.” 

Funds raised will help us to continue delivering our expert services to more than 850 families across Victoria for the child and their whole family from initial diagnosis to end of life care, and bereavement – for as long as they need.  

In a year when many members of Team Very Special Kids have faced their own challenges, this is a phenomenal outcome, and on behalf of the children and families we support we are so grateful our dedicated and empathic supporters. 

Would you like to get involved in community activities and raise funds for Very Special Kids? Find out more here.