Sparkling Lunch 2020 – Update from our CEO

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It is with much regret that I must let you know that our annual Sparkling Lunch is cancelled for 2020. Given the uncertainty around Coronavirus, and current advice around social gatherings, I feel that cancelling the event now is our best and only option.

If the virus has impacted you or your loved ones, my thoughts and those of the entire CFF family are with you, and we wish you a speedy recovery.

I know that the Lunch is much looked forward to by many of you and I am VERY sorry for any disappointment. Not only is it a wonderful event where I get to see many of your lovely faces, it is also a crucial fundraiser for us.

We already had a child in mind whose surgery we were hoping the funds from the Lunch would be able to support. In these unsettling times, those who are in need are even more vulnerable. 

I would be incredibly grateful if you would consider making a donation in lieu of attending the Lunch.

Paska is a 9-year old boy from a remote village off New Ireland, Papua New Guinea. He is the oldest of four children and lives with his mum, dad and siblings. Paska has a facial tumour which is expanding rapidly. It is currently the size of a small football and invading his eye, nose and mouth spaces.

He is presently at the Port Moresby General Hospital but is not having any treatment, as the required surgery cannot be done in-country. As the tumour grows, it will have a huge impact on Paska’s quality of life; he will likely begin to struggle to breathe and to eat.

Without surgical intervention, Paska’s future is uncertain.

But with your support Children First Foundation can help him.

The Coronavirus will delay our ability to facilitate Paska’s treatment. This means that when he is able to arrive his condition will have progressed, and surgery will be even more urgent.

The treating surgeon has let us know that Paska will need access to specialised ICU, therefore his surgery will need to be done at The Royal Children’s Hospital. As Children First Foundation supporters, you may recall that when the children need to be treated in a public hospital, CFF are required to cover the full costs of the hospital.

If you would normally have joined us at the Lunch itself, or even if you’ve never been before, you can still make a big difference by supporting Paska from your home. I would be incredibly grateful if you could give in the same way as you would have done at the Lunch itself or if you might consider donating:

  • THE PRICE OF YOUR TICKET $95 won’t be needed for your lunch this year, but it would pay for 30 minutes in ICU. It’s likely that Paska will need 24 hours of ICU care. 
  • YOUR BOTTLE OF BUBBLY – $50 won’t buy you a bottle to share, but it could help cover the costs of 30 minutes on the ward. Paska will be in the hospital for at least 5 days.
  • YOUR RAFFLE TICKET BOOK – $25 won’t win you any amazing prizes, but it would support us with the costs of the pre and post surgery consultations. Paska will need at least 2 appointments before his surgery and 2 afterwards.

In fact, if everyone who came to the Lunch last year donated the price of their ticket then together we could pay for all of Paska’s ICU costs, all of his ward costs and all of his appointments. Imagine if everyone who reads this donated….well we’d cover the full surgery.

I am so disappointed that we can’t all be together for the Lunch. However, as one of our great supporters recently said to me we can instead choose to “start an epidemic of kindness and compassion, and hope that we all try to make it very contagious.”

Paska at home with his family


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