Thank you Kmart

Article from 2022 Impact of Giving Annual Report

Kmart is synonymous with joy and fun, and their support of the RCH is no different. From helping to bring festive cheer to the hospital each Christmas,
to supporting innovative youth centred programs, Kmart is truly making every day brighter for sick and injured children and young people.

“Kmart’s involvement with the RCH spans more than 10 years. Initially, we started to donate toys to give to children on Christmas Day. Then, when the hospital opened on the new site in 2011, we got heavily involved in designing and donating the Christmas tree that goes up each year,” said Tracie Walker, General Manager, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, Kmart Group.

In 2021, together with their partner, Dovecote, Kmart commissioned a brand new tree to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the original Christmas tree. As well as traditional decorations like lights and baubles, the nine metre tall tree features specially designed plush animals that move, chirp and sing Christmas carols every hour. Each year the Kmart team also coordinates Santa visits and donates presents so that those patients who are too unwell to leave the hospital still wake up to gifts on Christmas morning.

“Staff at the hospital always tell us not to underestimate the relief that the tree, decorations and gifts bring to everyone in the hospital. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, it is pure joy and light, especially in a time that can be very dark for patients and their families,” said Tracie.

“Outside of bringing brightness and joy to patients, families and staff at Christmas time, we are also passionately committed to making a difference in the lives of as many children and young people as we can, which is why we made a pledge at the RCH150 Anniversary Dinner,” Tracie added.

The money donated by Kmart at the Anniversary Dinner will support the Chronic Illness Peer Support program, also known as ChIPS.

ChIPS offers support to young people aged 12 to 24 who have been diagnosed with a chronic illness. The program, which was established in the early 1990s, offers young people the opportunity to develop networks of peers and mentors who understand the shared experience of living with a chronic illness. ChIPS also offers a wide range of opportunities including facilitated discussion support groups, social events, leadership opportunities and camps. A truly unique program, the ChIPS model has since been adopted at hospitals in Sydney, Perth and even Denmark.

Through Kmart’s generosity, the program will continue to flourish, ensuring more young people living with a chronic illness feel connected and less isolated, something that Harry Brown, Program Manager of ChIPS, says “means the world.”

“Thanks to Kmart, we can continue to support our amazing young people to participate in activities and have opportunities that their peers, not having to navigate life with a chronic illness, may take for granted,” said Harry.

“It’s been lovely meeting the passionate team at Kmart. Their generous donation and the genuine connections they’ve made with young people in the program are humbling and appreciated by the whole ChIPS community,” he added.