Monday, 16 November 2015

I live in Maddie's Village

They say it takes a village to raise a child.  Well I'm sure glad that I live in the same village as the family and friends that surround Madison Heeps.  Yesterday saw the second last fundraising push towards the target of $25,000 for Maddie's assistance dog Hank.   In the city of Melbourne, we held a fete with BBQ lunch, a bar, stalls selling cakes and crafts, raffle & silent auction, lucky dips & face painting plus beautiful live music to entertain. So many people came and freely gave of their talents and time for a cause beyond worthy.

We were given access to a Bar/Restaurant, La Di Da, through one of Daniels friends, at no charge.  
If you are wondering why i am involved its because i work with Maddie's Dad, Daniel, and I'm so lucky to be included in their circle of friends.  It was a privilege to be included in the organisation of the event.

I've spoken of Maddie before.  She was born with a chromosomal abnormality resulting in a condition known  as Cri Du Chat.  Its not common and therefore the community of Cri Du Chat families in Australia is small but very supportive of one another.  Late last year Maddie was given the opportunity to have an assistance dog.  They are very highly trained and expensive dogs, very similar to guide dogs and therefore given public access wherever needed. Fortunately its not a case of pay upfront before you can have a dog.  Maddie's need was great and after carefully planned introduced to Hank, their bond was immediate.

Dogs for Kids with Disabilities  (DKD) is a not for profit organisation in Victoria that provides assistance and companion dogs for children and young adults with a range of challenges.  They have been so supportive of the Heeps family and the difference that Hank has made to Maddie's life has been , well, life changing for all of them.

Hank Our Hero - Don't you just want to give him a big hug.  Well don't - he's working.  
If you want to know more about Hank, visit his Facebook page Hank Our Hero.  If you have a few spare dollars then enter the DKD via Hanks page and make a tax deductible donation towards the provision of these beautiful four legged angels for children in need.

How skilled was Jonathon.  He designed and painted about 10 faces on boards the night before for children to choose from.  He started at 10.30am and was still going after i left at 3.30pm.  Each face costs $5 and he had a queue all day. His contribution to the total must have been huge. The lady in the bottom right was fulfilling a $100 dare that she wouldn't have her face painted and wear it on the train, all the way to Bendigo in the country.  I like her spunk!  Top right is my little darling, Chelsea, with her missing front teeth she almost looked the part with her fangs.

Inside the ceiling was decorated with balloons with thank you cards attached.   There was a table with donated prizes for the raffle and the silent auction.  I really wanted the Blitz Pro but my boss beat me by $20.  Drat!

These were some of the gifts hand crafted by family and friends for sale or donated to the auction or raffle.

This table was my responsibility but i cannot lay claim to the mouth watering goodies.  Bell's fella (Mark) and I paid for the groceries and then I delegated the baking to my very clever niece, who actually has some talent. Thank you so much Bell and my sister Glenda (for the clean up).  Daniel's Mum, Carol, also made some lovely bags of beautiful biscuits to sell.

Harry Healy donated his music free of charge for the event.  This guy is so talented and had us all singing along and tapping our feet.  He sang and played for almost 4 hours non stop, covering tunes from several decades.  Harry gained some celebrity status from being a contestant on The Voice.  Check out the new CD on his website here.  I'd love to see him live again.

DKD sent along one of the younger dogs in training.  At 11 months you could still see the puppy playfulness but again, so well controlled by his trainer.   Maddie was having fun with her constant companion.

It important to note that Daniel and Kym have another child, Austin.  They are careful to always make special time for him so that he doesn't feel left out.  Above, Granddad supervising Austin's lunch and Daniel and Kym having a 3 way dance with him.  He is such a beautiful boy and smart. When he was at the office last time I upended the big box of matchbox cars I'd brought in and when he was packing up he counted up to 87, one by one, without missing a single one.  He is 3 years old people!!!!!

OK, there are a few businesses that i need to personally thank.  I'm kinda like that guy played by James Garner in The Great Escape, Hendley.  If you want something, i can get it.  My motto for life is that "If you don't ask, you don't get" and so my thanks go to the following for their generosity.

Sam from Pacific Meat Sales - for 360 sausages
Margaret from Supagas -  a bottle of helium   - we had some fun with that!
Werribee Party Hire - Balloon, Strings and Table Cloths
Annette from BBQ's Galore, Hoppers Crossing - Roasters, Recipe book, Marinades etc for the raffle
Fab & Staff from The Good Guys, Hoppers Crossing  - The Kambrook Pro Blitz for Auction
Lou from Anaconda, Hoppers Crossing -  The Chimnea for Auction

I'm sure I could have made the list longer if i had started earlier than a week ago.  Many companies referred me to their HQ and that's where it all gets lost in red tape.

These events take a lot of organising by a lot of people but in this case it was all done with such joy.  I bet I'm not the only person whose glad that its over though.

Thanks for Visiting Living In The Land Of Oz


  1. Lynda, Maddie and Hank are both gorgeous as is Austin and so clever! Well done you all for such a wonderful cause.

    1. Looks like you are the only one who loves me Barb.

  2. Here I am so there are two of us. LOL! What a great fundraiser you helped to put on, Lynda! I am very impressed. It is sad to see children with a disability but they are so brave as we both know only too well.

    1. Tom has his first interview with agency tomorrow - He's brave, but im not!

  3. Oh, my goodness, what an amazing day! You clearly have great administrative skills, which I could only wish for, but look what you have all done together! That whole day looks amazing, and Hank and Maddie are gorgeous. Well done!!

    1. Although it was a fundraising day it felt like a celebration as we draw closer to the total amount needed. Everyone had such a good time.

  4. Wow, what a fantastic event and for such a good purpose. I loved reading that Maddie and Hank bonded instantly.

    1. It was truly unprecedented. On their first walk out he stayed by her and when she needed a rest she just flopped on his back, like she knew she was supposed to. He helped her up the stairs at front of her home. She has difficulty sleeping and so when she is unsettled he jumps up on the bed and spoons her. She very rarely head bangs anymore, as he just steps in and soothes her. Truly an amazing soul living in Hank.

  5. What an amazing job everyone did congrats to you all. I have been involved in lots of community events and I know how much effort it takes but what a good cause. I am looking forward to reading more of what you have been up to now that I have time on my hands.


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