While exploring the streets of Melbourne on their scooters one weekend, the McMahon family stumbled across Crystalline.Opal.Dream UooUoo by Christy Chudosnik.
Little did they know that Me and UooUoo: The RCH150 Anniversary Art Trail supported a cause very close to their hearts and would become a wonderful reason to bring their family together.
After receiving their art trail map in the Herald Sun in January 2021, four-year-old Will and his family quickly became obsessed with discovering all 100 UooUoos.
“Will provided the directions as we explored and really took ownership of our journey. He learnt how to read the unlock codes on each of the sculpture plaques and enter them into the Me and UooUoo app,” said Will’s mum, Kate.
With adventure, play, and tactile learning elements, the art trail provided the young family with a wholesome activity that would have them walking, scooting, and commuting around Melbourne and Geelong.
“It was so nice to see everyone bond over the art trail and rediscover our city again, particularly after lockdown.”
The McMahons also rallied together to ensure that each sculpture was ticked off their much-loved art trail map, now held together by sticky tape.
Will and Olivia’s nanna, Vivien even created a book titled ‘Will’s UooUoo Adventures’ capturing their happy snaps with all 100 sculptures and the family members who joined them along the way. Will proudly shared his personalised book with fellow adventurers at the art trail Farewell Event, which the family affectionately referred to as the UooUoo Party.
“My favourite UooUoo is Rainbow Dreaming. The UooUoo Party was the best day ever!” exclaimed Will, pleasantly surprised to learn that the sculpture by Sharlee Dunnolly-Lee can be visited for years to come within the foyer of Equity Trustees.
Parents Tim and Kate have always been dedicated to supporting the work of The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Foundation, with Will and his older sister Olivia, age eight, being regular visitors to the hospital. At just three years old, Olivia was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition Kleefstra Syndrome after participating in the Melbourne Genomic Pilot project.
There are approximately 300 people across the world diagnosed with Kleefstra Syndrome which affects the regulation of proteins within the body and can often result in intellectual disability, delayed speech development and decreased muscle tone. As a result of Olivia’s journey, the McMahon’s are highly involved with the ongoing research and medical developments at the RCH, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.
“We felt that Olivia was under the care of almost every team except oncology at the RCH during her first few years of life due to her complex needs.”
Years later, Will was born with an extreme case of Bronchomalacia, a condition that impacts the growth development of the lungs and windpipe. The impact of his condition means that Will had a wheeze and required oxygen support if he caught even a minor virus. He was fortunate to avoid ICU at just 5-months-old after one illness and continues to regularly visit the hospital to manage his condition.
“We have relied on the care of the RCH to get Will to be the happy four-year-old that he is now. We understand what it is like to be a parent roaming the wards, so we always do what we can to support the RCH. Taking part in the art trail was a lovely way to do that,” explained Kate.
“We were delighted to find out that Tree of Life UooUoo will be permanently living at the RCH. The kids will love seeing UooUoo again.”