Starlight Day is held annually on the first Friday in May and is Starlight’s biggest annual fundraising event. Each year Starlight supporters and the community raise funds to help transform the hospitalisation and treatment experience for sick kids and their families.
In 2015, Starlight aimed to raise $1.3 million to give the gift of play to more than 30,000 seriously ill children through the delivery of their programs in every children’s hospital in Australia, seven days a week.
In 2016, NSW Lotteries has contributed to a donation to fund the access of 2,564 kids to the Starlight Express Room. Starlight are also engaging the public to get involved and host a StarBQ to fundraise during the months of May and June. Every dollar raised will go towards helping Starlight deliver programs to brighten the lives of seriously ill children. Find out more about StarBQ.
View the Starlight Day 2016 Video.
To help Starlight continue to provide these important programs, simply making a donation at www.starlight.org.au. A donation of just $39 provides one child with access to Starlight’s hospital programs.
Seven-year-old Jasmine can be a little shy at first, but once she opens up she’s a lot of fun – she loves dancing, arts and crafts and playing sport whenever she can. She is normally full of energy. That’s why her mum, Vanessa, knew something wasn’t right when she had a cold that lingered much longer than normal. Jasmine was pale and lethargic, not herself at all.
Vanessa took Jasmine to the doctor, who recommended some blood tests – just in case. It’s what any parent would do, never suspecting anything would be seriously wrong. It was the day before Mother’s Day when Jasmine had the blood tests. Mother’s Day will never be the same again for this family.
The test results came back, and within hours their whole lives had been turned upside down. Jasmine had leukaemia.
At the beginning, Jasmine didn’t understand what was going to happen. When they arrived at the hospital, she saw some other children who had lost their hair as a result of their chemotherapy. Vanessa remembers her saying, “Oh, Mum, they’re so much sicker than me. At least I’m not going to lose my hair or anything.” It broke Vanessa’s heart to have to explain that she would, in fact, lose her hair, and much more.
Ten months of intensive chemotherapy started straight away. Vanessa said they never would have gotten through Jasmine’s treatment without Starlight. “Jasmine’s reward after having her chemo was to be able to go up to the Starlight Express Room at the end of the day,” she said. “And if she was too sick, the Captain Starlights would come down to the ward with some activities for her.”
Jasmine loves playing in the Starlight Express Room with the friends she’s made there. She’s spent hours and hours playing princesses with the Captain Starlights, laughing and being silly just the way she should. Because in the Starlight Express Room, she isn’t “Jasmine who has cancer”, she’s “Princess Jasmine”! She isn’t defined by her illness – she’s just a normal kid having fun, and she can forget all about doctors and tests and being in hospital.
“We’ve been through a really horrible, tough time,” said Vanessa, “but Starlight made everything a lot easier. We’ll always be grateful.”