By Jessica Howard
For little Emeliah Roberts, Easter means much more than chocolate eggs.
The one-year-old suffers from severe scoliosis and skeletal dysplasia, resulting in short stature and abnormal bone development. She was born with no thumbs and suffers from constant pain in her spine.
Her mother, Tjanna, does not work in order to care for her full time.
Emeliah is one of 350,000 children who were treated by The Royal Children’s Hospital last year. She visits the Hospital’s genetics team and hand surgeon, and is waiting for a referral for the orthopaedic.
This Easter, the annual Good Friday Appeal will see individuals and businesses, clubs, schools and country towns raise money for the paediatric hospital.
Tjanna said the appeal helped children like Emeliah experience a better quality of life.
“As a parent, it’s really difficult trying to be there for your kids at all times.
It’s hard to obtain the best medical treatment you can for them when you’re struggling financially,” she said.
“The Royal Children’s Hospital has offered us testing free of charge, which is more than our local hospitals can offer. We are trying to get all of our appointments transferred there as it is better for Emeliah”.
In 2016, the Good Friday Appeal raised a record high figure of $17.4 million.
This year, the Bacchus Marsh Lions Club will be collecting local donations, with volunteers lining the streets to rattle their collection tins.
Bacchus Marsh area manager David Atterbury said it was an important time of year to raise money for those who need it most.
“The Royal Children’s Hospital needs the sort of funds that we raise as it enables them to buy more equipment and continue to provide ongoing world class care,” he said.
“The Lions Club have been raising money for the appeal long before I joined. We are always looking for any worthwhile opportunity to raise funds for those that need it most, especially children like Emeliah”.
The Ballan Group of fire brigades will also be out collecting; watch out for those big red trucks and their volunteers, dig deep.
For more information on the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal, visit www.rch.org.au.