Brainwave: helping families bond and bounce

Growing up in a multi-child family can be challenging at the best of times however when this is coupled with the complexity of a child in the family suffering a brain illness or injury, the chance of household turmoil and stressed relationships is dramatically increased.

On Friday 3 October Brainwave ran the Kids & Sibs School Holiday Event at Kids in Motion, Port Melbourne. This special event was made possible by the generous sponsorship that was received from David Hannan of Kids in Motion and his staff, who also donated their time to run this event.

What may seem to be just a bunch of kids playing and laughing, actually provided a fantastic opportunity for these children to get out of the house, offering some of the greatest household therapy these families could hope for.

Two of the children that attended the day were six year old Sebastian (Seb) and his big sister Aleijah (13).  Seb and his sister Aleijah enjoyed their day thoroughly, spending their time on the play equipment, bonding with other children and petting the rabbits that were brought in for the children to enjoy.

Sebastian started his first year of primary school last year and took to it with ease.  However, in July 2013 after a period of illness and weeks of tests, Seb was diagnosed with cancer in his brain and spine officially known as Disseminated Leptiomeningel Medullablastoma.

Of course, the family’s world was turned upside-down as Seb was launched into the battle for his life.  Missing almost a year of school, Seb has endured both radio and chemo therapies, several brain surgeries, tests, scans and procedures that have taken a heavy toll on him and his family.  Brainwave supported Seb and his family in the early days of his illness by funding the hire of a wheelchair, relieving some of the stress of the additional expenses facing the family during some difficult days.

In addition to practical support, Brainwave’s Kids and Sibs event provides some wanted relief from the daily challenges that sick children, their siblings, carers and families face.  The Brainwave Kids & Sibs School Holiday Event provided not only a fun day for the children that Brainwave supports, but an opportunity for some special attention to be drawn to the siblings of these children, just like Aleijah, providing an outlet for them to play and laugh together.

Brainwave’s Kids & Sibs School Holiday Event is only one of the many learning, support and relationship building events hosted by Brainwave each year. Spokesperson and Founder of Brainwave, Jo Nicholls, states that for some of these families, such days are the only fun outings they experience.

“It was so lovely to see all the children playing together positively and interacting with other families facing similar hurdles. I feel like this event provides a platform for some very powerful bonding and an opportunity for the whole family to get involved.”

Brainwave’s Principal Partner Mercedes-Benz had staff volunteers on hand to help out the 30 children who attended on the day and they certainly got amongst it!  Activities throughout the day included rock climbing, trampolines, climbing ropes, swinging rings and basketball hoops. A magician performed tricks and a face painter creating characters, provided something for everyone.

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