Friday, May 7, 2010

You make everything alright...

Ok, a title slightly obscure, but still pertinent. I was going to go with 'Starlight, star bright' but it's already been done. Yes, I'm on a Madonna thing. Sue me, The Power of Madonna Glee episode was on last night. :P

Of course, what I'm really talking about, is Starlight Day.

Long time readers will know that back when Master Six was only four, he spent a lot of time in hospital with asthma, even staying in the ICU overnight a few times. He has to stay at the Royal Childrens Hospital, the big one in Melbourne, for at least 4 days, every time he caught a cold it seemed. It's one of the reasons he learned to read so early. Spending a week in bed, with iv boards taped to your crayon holding hand made it hard to really do anything except read or watch tv, and they didn't have all day children's channels back then. The visits from Captain Starlight and the other volunteers, as well as the clown doctors really helped break up the long days, especially in the first few days when he was feeling too ill from all the drugs to read much.

Once he'd gotten over the worst of the cold, and was just waiting for his lung capacity to return so he could go home, he was allowed to leave his bed, and then I would take him down to the Starlight Room. That's where I found out that four year olds are good at Wii bowling, and not so good at air hockey (but he seemed to love that more!)The staff were all amazing, and if I hadn't already been a strong Starlight Foundation supporter, that would have been enough to make me one.

As a teenager, just starting to get my own money, I picked two charities to support. I felt it was important to have my 'pet' charities and stick with them, because I didn't have enough money to give it to everyone. The deal I made myself was that I could turn down everyone else if I wanted/needed to, without feeling guilty, as long as I always gave to my chosen charities when asked. One was Amnesty, and the other Starlight Foundation. I think I read about them in Dolly magazine first, that should give you an idea of how old I was at the time.

When Master Six was a few months old, I volunteered at my first Star Day (as it was called back then). I've done every year since then, with the exception of 2008, because I was 37 weeks pregnant with Master One, and staying in hospital with Master Then-Four over that weekend as it turned out anyway.

The reason I'm telling you all this, is that today is Starlight Day. Today, and across the weekend, you see people in train stations and shopping malls, at traffic lights and outside football stadiums, selling star shaped merchandise and wristbands. Even if you can't afford to buy something, do take a moment to hand over some small change. That 50c or $1 might not do much for you, but it would buy a couple of pipe cleaners for an art table (and I can attest to how long two pipe cleaners can keep a young child entertained!). And if you, and 9 other people gave just 50c, that's $5. That's a whole colouring book. Or more. I don't know the figures, al I know is, there are millions of Australians, and if every single one of us donated just 50c, that would be a LOT of pipe cleaners!

If you won't be going out this weekend, consider donating directly through the Starlight website. I'll be buying purple and star shaped goodies for my kids - the flashing star wands if there is any left, which there usually isn't, but something regardless, and I'll be giving up my Mother's Day sleep in to head into town and volunteer my time on Sunday.

I try not to harp on much, and I'll stop now, since this really isn't anything to do with cooking or food. But this is my first 'pet' cause, and even dearer to my heart now that I have seen first hand how much of a difference they make, in all sick kids, so I hope that you will think of Master Six, and all the other children, the terminally ill, the kids with broken arms, with cancer or asthma, and anything else that can land you in hospital. Think of them before you break eye contact and swerve away from that volunteer with a donation tin, before you make up some excuse, and then head back to your car a different way later. That 5 cent piece in the back of your purse might not be a tax deductible donation, but it'll probably do more good in a donation tin than sitting there for another four years.