Supporting our future leaders: ChIPSXiliary

Michelle Powell has been donating every year to the Good Friday Appeal since she got her first job at 18; having always wanted to volunteer for the RCH.

“I have always wanted to be involved with the RCH, through volunteering or fundraising. Children are our next generation and I wanted to contribute in any way I could to ensure they are happy and healthy,” Michelle said.

As serendipity would have it, Michelle was talking to Dr Miriam Weisz, President of the RCH Auxiliaries, at a work event early last year about her desire to help out and raise funds for the hospital.

“I was speaking with Miriam and saying how I’d love to be involved in volunteering or fundraising. She said she was the President of the RCH Auxiliaries and that an Auxiliary ‘Chip In’ had been inactive for a few years. She asked whether I would be interested in reinstating it and getting members on board. I jumped at the chance,” Michelle said.

The unique Auxiliary, rebranded as ‘ChIPSXiliary’, was reinstated immediately with Michelle serving as President alongside Jordan Hammond, who was previously a leader and member of the RCH’s Chronic Illness Peer Support (ChIPS) program.

ChIPSXiliary raises funds in support of the ChIPS Program at the RCH, which offers support to young people aged 12 to 24 who have been diagnosed with a chronic illness. ChIPS, which has been running for over 20 years, offers young people the opportunity to develop networks of peers and mentors who understand the shared experience of living with a chronic illness; decreasing isolation and increasing connectedness for young people.

Word of mouth has seen the Auxiliary grow to five members with the support of RCH clinician Mick Creati, who fundraise in collaboration with those involved in the ChIPS program, including their first trivia night event which raised over $7,000. Money raised is directed towards initiatives identified by the young people from the program including funding places for ChIPpers to attend camps and funding to support their participation of young people from rural areas.

“We have got into this great collaborative space with staff working on the ChIPS program and the kids within the program; we exist to raise money so they can do the things they need to do. One thing we are jointly working on at the moment is selling tickets for the musical that children and young adults in ChIPS have written and will perform,” Michelle said.