For five year-old Ryka Gulati, holding a ‘Giving in Celebration’ birthday party for the RCH Foundation was an easy decision to make.
“This is the best way to celebrate a birthday, so all kids and even grown-ups should celebrate like this,” said Ryka.
Ryka and her Moonee Ponds family have endured a tough few years. At two-years-old, Ryka was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia after getting sick on a trip to India in late 2013.
“It was New Year’s Eve when Ryka was diagnosed when everyone else was celebrating,” her mother Vanu Gulati said. “We were shattered as it is tough for any parent to go through this and see your child undergoing all the procedures and treatments.”
After two and a half years of chemotherapy treatment at the RCH, her recent birthday would have been an excuse for some self-indulgence.
Not for Ryka. She chose a far more selfless cause.
“To help sick kids so that they can also enjoy their life with their friends and family like I enjoy my life now,” said the energetic five-year-old.
Vanu is fully supportive of Ryka’s philanthropic decision, as her family has nothing but praise for the medical staff that helped her family.
“(The) RCH was like our first home for last three years and Ryka loves her hospital, doctors, nurses, play therapists, music therapists and educators,” said Vanu.
“Ryka wanted to do something for her hospital when her treatment finished this March and asked us what she could do. So we gave her a few ideas, and she chose to fundraise through her birthday party as a ‘Giving in Celebration’ event.”
You might think asking friends and family to give to a charity rather than buy a present would be difficult at times or even awkward. Think again.
Ryka and her family raised over $6,000 for the RCH Foundation.
“It was amazing, when we told our plans to our family and friends, they were all very happy and encouraging and kindly supported us,” said Ms Gulati. “Also, when Ryka told her educators in childcare, Bambini Early Learning Centre, Parkville, they also wanted to support and share this with all the Bambini families who kindly supported us.”
For anyone considering a Giving in Celebration event, the message from Ms Gulati is simple.
“If a five year old can do it anyone can do it.”Learn more about celebration fundraising