Fitness

Starlight Children's Foundation

By Annette Campbell Donna George is a 39-year-old mother of two and legal secretary from East Maitland, near Newcastle, NSW. And this humble, unassuming mum is also nothing less than an absolute hero to kids doing battle with life-threatening illnesses. Donna is an enthusiastic volunteer for the Starlight Children's Foundation, the national organisation whose mission is to brighten the lives of seriously ill and hospitalised children and their families. Donna's been a volunteer "wish granter" for the past eight years and says she's probably granted at least 50 or 60 wishes by now. "It feels just wonderful," she says. "I get so much from the families; they are so courageous and so grateful." Donna juggles her wish-granting with full-time work and being a mum to her boys, Ben, 13, and Ethan, 12. "So if someone in this area is granted a wish, Starlight will contact me with their details and I'll contact the family, visit them and ask, 'If you could have anything, what would it be?'" Donna explains there are four main categories for wishes: travel, celebrity, experience (parachuting etc) and tangible (computers / home entertainment systems). "The wish is co-ordinated through Starlight and I make lots of phone calls and whatever else is necessary to make it happen," she says. Donna says she can't single out a highlight of her volunteering efforts because every case is different and just as special. But she's keen to encourage us all to help Starlight make a difference. "You can volunteer for one hour a day or one day a month," she explains. "Basically, you can make your own time; there's no pressure and the Starlight office is there to help. And every little bit helps. "So give it a go. Even though parts are sad, we're doing nice things by saying, 'You can have your wish'. What I get back is far more than what I put in. I've made lifelong friendships … and the buzz is so warm. "Sometimes though, I do walk in my door at the end of the day and hug my boys so tightly. I'm so lucky to have two healthy boys and it really makes me appreciate what I've been given." Be a star
To find out more about volunteering for Starlight, visit their website: www.starlight.org.au or phone them on 1300 727 827. And for information about Starlight's major national fundraising event, Star Day, Friday, May 6, visit www.starday.org.au or phone 1300 727 827 to make a donation. Picture posed by model Related Stories
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