Autism awareness luncheon a huge success

April 15, 2024 BY

Raising awareness: Fifty people, plus speakers, attended Keeley's Cause's inaugural Autism Awareness Day Luncheon. Photo: LEE'S PHOTOGRAPHY

AN inaugural luncheon held by a local charity has been a major success, with thousands raised for neurodivergent children with special learning needs.

Keeley’s Cause is run by Ballan’s Keeley Johnson and her mum Sharon Murphy, and raises funds to get children with autism and intellectual disabilities access to iPads for learning.

The charity usually runs a charity golf event each year, but instead held an Autism Awareness Day Luncheon this time around.

Proud parent: Sharon Murphy (right) says Keeley’s Cause is one of the few organisations left providing iPads for neurodivergent kids’ educational needs. Photo: LEE’S PHOTOGRAPHY


Ms Murphy said she wasn’t sure how the day would go, but was overwhelmed with how successful it ended up being.

“Because it was the day after Easter, we weren’t sure what kind of turnout we would get, but we ended up getting 50 people there, plus our MC, guest speaker, and panel,” she said.

“We had a lot of NDIS associations attend and sponsor tables. We ended up raising $2300 in profit from the event, so it was really good.

“Each panel speaker brought in information because they were all neurodiverse themselves. We had Georgia who has Tourette’s, and the rest of the speakers were autistic. Keeley went on-stage for her first time.”

The event was held at the North Ballarat Sports Club, but people from all over the state attended.

“We’ll be looking to run another luncheon, but we’ll probably do that somewhere where more people from the city and southeast can attend as well,” Ms Murphy said.

“But we did have people turn out from Carnegie, Warragul, Bendigo…so it was a great day, we were absolutely stoked.

“Because a lot of the NDIS organisations no longer get support from NDIS for iPads for kids, we’ve had a lot of NDIS networks come on-board with Keeley’s Cause, because we provide iPads to their clients and families.

“So the NDIS space for us is rapidly growing. We’re one of the only organisations providing iPads.”