Sparkling lights, colourful decorations and festive jingles; Christmas is a special time of the year, and for some of Victoria’s sickest children, December sees The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) transformed into a magical place, thanks to the incredible support of Kmart and their community.
The tree-mendous, custom-built Christmas tree in the hospital’s Main Street was commissioned by Kmart as part of their annual support of the RCH Foundation and is brought to life in partnership with acclaimed Christmas designers Dovecote. As well as traditional decorations like lights and baubles, the tree features specially designed plush animals that move, chirp and sing Christmas carols every hour.
Additionally, patients and families at the RCH are treated to photos with Santa, also made possible thanks to Kmart.
Rennie Freer, General Manager Marketing, Kmart Australia, said that Kmart was honoured to be able to bring festive joy to the RCH.
“For more than 10 years, Kmart has proudly supported the RCH by contributing presents to the many children who are too unwell to leave the hospital at Christmas, and by donating our spectacular Christmas tree for staff, patients and families to enjoy – all in support of our purpose to bring joy to the community,” said Rennie.
“This Christmas, we are also excited to introduce Kenzie Bear, an adorable plush companion made with love using recycled materials that raises funds for sick kids.
“We have now committed to doubling our initial $1 donation from every Kenzie Bear sold, to support vital research and create a brighter future for families,” she added.
Sue Hunt AM, Chief Executive Officer, the RCH Foundation said that the support from Kmart and other generous donors allows Christmas to come alive in the hospital.
“Kmart truly go above and beyond to bring joy to thousands of patients, families and staff at the RCH each year,” said Sue.
“As well as providing gifts for children too unwell to go home for Christmas Day, Kmart brings the festive spirit to life on Main Street through this incredible Christmas tree.
“We are also thrilled that this year, Kmart are extending their support with Kenzie Bear. The funds raised by Kenzie Bear will make a life-changing difference to children and young people at the RCH, and for that we are so grateful,” Sue added.
The one-of-a-kind tree is on display in RCH Main Street throughout December for families and staff to enjoy.
Kmart’s support of the RCH extends beyond Christmas, with the retailer also supporting the hospital’s Family Hub and 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.
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.”