WILL’S Wish has smashed its previous fundraising totals for the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal by almost tenfold.
The Tasic family, which created the fundraising group back in 2017, raised an impressive $20,458 for the cause last week.
Previous years’ totals were $1,900 (2017), $2,800 (2018), $4,200 (2019) and $2050 (2020).
Angie and Vid, of Ballarat, have been camping at Bellarine Bayside Caravan Park for the past 23 years, and the fundraiser was inspired by their 14-year-old son Will, who has Optical Neuritis, a rare neurological condition.
He was diagnosed at age nine and recently underwent his 15th MRI brain scan.
Mum Angie said there were around 200 campers and community members who supported their fundraiser on Good Friday.
“We were also taking online donations from Ballarat and Melbourne,” Angie said.
“We worked hard at getting the previous year’s donations, but this year it really was an extraordinary effort.”
Angie said she addressed crowds, emails and phone calls, making Will’s Wish known to community groups such as the barefoot bowling community, Port cricket club and football/netball club, which made such a difference in their tally and in raising much-needed awareness for the rare demylinating disease that Will has.
“We met some amazing people throughout the day, people with children who have been admitted to the RCH or know someone who has used their services,” she said.
“The day was full of emotion and there was a certain buzz around the park, you could feel the excitement in the air leading up to the afternoon filled with laughter, raffles and kids’ games.
“We had the absolute pleasure of welcoming the football and netball teams over to the caravan park for some photos and words of encouragement on both sides.
“We wished them good luck for the first games of the season and they wished us a successful day.”
Angie said the support from a couple of young guys from the club was particularly touching, with Blake and “Bear” presenting Will with a club t-shirt.
“This was very moving for us as rare kids can sometimes go unseen and I thanked them for “seeing our son” Will.
“This is testament to an amazing and generous town whom have kept our spirits high and made us feel like we are part of the Portarlington community.”
Angie headed back down the highway on Tuesday to receive the results of Will’s 15th MRI scan.
“It is always a nervous time for us, but this time is a little different as we have the love and support of a whole community behind us,” she said.
Angie wanted to say a big thank you to the community of Portarlington and Ballarat and to all of the lovely campers and their families on the day for their love, encouragement and generosity.