TWO-YEAR-OLD Malu Hunt seems like any child his age – he is bursting with energy, curiosity and love for his brothers.
But unlike most kids he is now adapting to life with only half a functioning brain.
On the momentous 90-year anniversary of giving back to the kids, the Good Friday Appeal has announced the brave Geelong youngster as the face of its 2021 campaign.
Taking place tomorrow (April 2), this year’s appeal will mark a significant milestone which dates back to 1931.
Since its inception the appeal has raised an incredible $381 million for the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) which has helped kids like Malu on the road to recovery.
At 12 months old, Malu was diagnosed with a rare type of epilepsy found in children.
The neurology department at the RCH soon discovered the right side of Malu’s brain was not developing properly, with the only solution being a hemispherectomy.
This procedure is a complicated surgery that involves disconnecting half of the brain and is incredibly rare, with the RCH being the only paediatric hospital in the state to perform this surgery which they do less than six times a year.
Anxiously seeking a cure for their son, Malu’s parents Morgan and Erin made the difficult decision to have their one-year-old undergo invasive brain surgery.
“When Malu went in for surgery we wanted to give him the best chance at life – and the hospital has been with us every step of the way,” Erin said.
“He has now been seizure-free since his surgery in July, and we are thrilled by the progress he is making.”
Malu has since exceeded doctors’ expectations by walking less than one month after his surgery and hitting several developmental milestones.
Executive director of the Good Friday Appeal, Rebecca Cowan, says this year’s appeal marks a special anniversary for Victoria.
“We are so proud to call Malu the face of this year’s 90th Good Friday Appeal,” she said.
“Through 90 years of giving from the Victorian community and beyond, children like Malu are able to receive world-class care at The Royal Children’s Hospital.
“To all the generous donors over the years, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Additionally, the Appeal is celebrating a 70-year partnership with the Country Fire Authority which act as the arms and legs of the fundraiser shaking collection tins for kids across the state.
At the centre of this year’s appeal will be the Channel 7 Telethon from 12pm on April 2 and the annual Kick for the Kids charity match between North Melbourne and Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium.
Donations can be made online anytime to the Good Friday Appeal at goodfridayappeal.com.au.