Impacts of COVID-19 on Variety.
For 45 years Variety – the Children’s Charity has been helping to give kids who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs a fair go in life.
The COVID-19 pandemic has heavily impacted our ability to raise funds, as well as our ability to provide grants, run our programs and hold our kids’ experiences. We know this is a challenging time for everyone and hope to be able to resume our regular support and activities soon.
In 2015, Archie was diagnosed with an extremely rare neurological disease called Acute Flaccid Myelitis, which affects the nerves in the spinal cord. The condition had only affected two children in Australia at the time of his diagnosis.
Variety provided Archie two grants, one for a cough assist machine in 2017 as well as a LiteGait system and endurance treadmill in 2019.
Sunny is best described as a happy, easy-going boy.
He loves going for a bike ride with his Dad and can often be found rolling around the house giggling. Sunny especially loves listening to a good story. In fact, books are a big part of life in his household. Big brother Angus enjoys reading stories to Sunny and plays with him endlessly.
Sunny hasn’t always had it easy. He faces many physical challenges, multiple surgeries and enteral tube feeding. Despite this, at only two years of age Sunny has a curiosity for life which continues to inspire his family, friends and those who meet him.
While the family didn’t have an iPad for Sunny, medical experts suggested it could be an important aid for his development. Read to find out how Variety stepped in to help Sunny.
Like all eight-year-old kids, Gigi likes to pack a lot into her days. When she’s not at school, she loves to play with her little sister, make home-made pizza or visit her grandparents.
Gigi’s main mode of transport is a wheelchair. The little girl was diagnosed with Ataxic Cerebral Palsy at nine months of age. Specialty equipment is all part of life for Gigi.
But like little girls do, Gigi has grown, and her existing wheelchair didn’t suit her needs anymore. That’s where Variety stepped in.
For 4-year-old Zavier, this Christmas was nearly another reminder of all the things he couldn’t do, instead of an opportunity to make the same happy childhood memories as every other kid across Australia.
Born without his left arm and hand, little Zavier needed a special myoelectric arm. He was outgrowing the simpler prosthetics he’d worn when he was younger.
The arm wasn’t covered by the NDIS, and they were rejected time and time again for every grant they applied for.
Zavier’s parents felt hopeless, and had to make the heartbreaking decision to tell Zavier that his special robot arm – and his new future – would need to wait.
But thanks to people like you, donating to Variety, Zavier’s story didn’t end here.
Charting at number 62 on the iTunes Country Charts was just one of the highlights of the last year for Variety Heart Scholarship Recipient Trinity.
In 2018 Trinity received a Variety Heart Scholarship in The Arts for her songwriting. The Scholarship was awarded to cover lessons, tuition, courses, equipment, and accommodation.
“Receiving the Variety Scholarship was such an honour, it meant the absolute world to me. I was so excited to find out! Because of Variety, and the scholarship, I have had some incredible opportunities, and will have more in the near future, and because of this, I am forever grateful to Variety for all they have done for me.”
When Variety Heart Scholarship recipient Rory, 17, needed to fill a gap in his Year 10 class schedule Japanese seemed like an easy option. He couldn’t have imagined the impact of that decision.
“I got to stay a whole week in Tokyo, then a week in Togane, where I stayed with a family and went to high school. I learned more Japanese in those two weeks than in a whole 18months. The experience of going to Japan, it was incredible, it changed my life and without the Scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to go.”
Read on to find out how Variety Heart Scholarship played a part in Rory’s incredible trip to Japan.
Her physiotherapist recommended an adjustable chair for Mary, so she could sit at the table with her family. Really, it’s not a big ask. Being able to enjoy meals at the table with your family. But it wasn’t easy for young Mary, who is in a wheelchair.
Variety approved the grant application, enabling the seven-year-old better mobility.
Variety Heart Scholarship recipient Ashlyn has an artistic eye and a passion for painting. It’s a way for her to unwind and lose herself in the medium, creating images of intense meaning and beauty. To help Ashlyn pursue her artistic dreams she received a Variety Heart Scholarship in The Arts in 2018.
Say what you will about Married at First Sight, but a celebrity encounter during the show has helped a sick boy who hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in his entire life.
Gina son George,10, was born with a rare condition that has little awareness and no funding. It’s called Hirschsprung Disease, and it involves missing nerve cells in the muscles of part or all of the large intestine – also known as the colon. Some children like George have to sleep in an elevated position due to severe reflux. The family was using a wedge for George, but as he gets bigger, what she really needed for his was a hospital-style bed so she can easily elevate her son so he can’t slip off the wedge during the night.
When our CEO David Sexton read a 9Honey story about the family he knew Variety could help.
What does a snowboarder do during the Australian summer? Well if you’re Variety Heart Scholarship recipient Ocean, 17, you take your board to Colorado.
The year ahead is full, with a long list of goals Ocean is focusing on coming top three placings in his upcoming competitions, train to continue to build his bag of tricks and create films to attract sponsors. Always Ocean is focused on remaining in the Top 10 Australians on the World Snowboard Tour.
Variety Heart Scholarship helps Charlie on her way to becoming a classical musician.
”Charlie’s passions are classical music and art, when she is not on her flute or piano, she is creating art. Music and art bring her great joy along with spending time with her friends, cat, dog and me.” says mum Sharon
The costs of performing at an advanced level, especially for kids living in regional areas, can often limit their ability to pursue their dreams. For Charlie, 17 from Murwillumbah, that dream is of becoming a classical musician of merit.
When Variety Heart Scholarship recipient Christopher, 17, discovered rodeo he had no idea it would take him to Las Vegas, representing Australia at the Junior National Rodeo Finals.
“After competing in two rounds, riding my two head of stock I qualified to compete in what they call the short go, after another successful ride my tallied score was announced and I had become the World Champion 14/15 Years Junior Bull Riding Champion.” said Christopher.
Dreaming of becoming a robotic engineer Cj put his Variety Heart Scholarship in Education to good use, entering a variety of science competitions and investing a new laptop to allow him to research on the go.
”I enjoy experimenting and making a difference. The area of Science is huge and I get excited about what lays ahead” says Cj.
Variety Heart Scholarship recipient Gabriella is making waves in the pool.
Gabriella represented her school and then went on to represent Combined Independent Schools (CIS), at the NSW all schools swimming championships in Sydney. Winning two gold and two silver medals at the NSW CIS swimming championships in Sydney, Gabriella also broke a NSW Multi class record in backstroke, previously held by another Variety Heart Scholarship recipient Maddie Elliot. Taking it that next step Gabriella has also been selected to compete in the Australian All schools swimming championships in Hobart.
Variety Heart Scholarship recipient Julio, 12, has a passion for the ice.
Discovering not just that he loved ice skating, but that he was good at it was a defining moment for Julio. Now he works hard to take every opportunity to skate he can.
“Thanks to the Scholarship we have an opportunity to do more training including ice sessions, off ice sessions, gym, stretch classes. Now we are trying to organise International training camp in the USA. And step to the new level of Julio’s career.” said proud mum Lara.
Variety Heart Scholarship recipient Kiki, 13, knows what she wants in life – to act.
“I love acting. That’s it. That’s what I want to do with my life. I want to act, be on Broadway. I know I have to study as well as I need a backup plan, but acting is my life, and I am trying to be good academically as well as acting.”
Dedicating his time to one sport wasn’t enough for Variety Heart Scholarship recipient Oscar, 18, who’s been making a name for himself as a swimmer, footballer, and a cricketer.
The last year has been a whirlwind for Oscar. “My Variety Heart Scholarship has given me the ability to fearlessly commit to my goals.” said Oscar “They have supported so much of my travel and given me independence to make decisions in regards to my training that I otherwise would not have.”
Not everyone enjoys the sound of a recorder but Variety Heart Scholarship recipient Phoenix, 11, is taking his recorder to the Sydney Opera House.
Phoenix is passionate about his music, taking every opportunity to perform in his local community, at school events, and in competitions. “I like doing what I do and it’s really fun”. said Pheonix
A self-taught country musician, Piper’s talents are garnering praise across the industry seeing her take to the stage at both the Tamworth Country Music Festival and Bluesfest this year. Her Variety Heart Scholarship in The Arts has been put to good use investing in sound equipment and travel to take her talent to the next level.
“My Variety Heart Scholarship has supported me through accommodation expenses with my non-local gigs, as well as providing me with the opportunity to buy my second electric guitar, and amp, a couple of pedals for it and also some other musical equipment that has been a great help with growing my sound.”
Tech for school means these sisters won’t be left behind
Raising kids can be hard at the best of times, but for single mum Amanda, money has always been tight. With three girls now in high school, keeping up with the technology requirements for their schooling life was hard.
Having additional learning needs was also placing additional pressure on the family. 14-year-old Josie has Asperger Syndrome, and 12-year-old Sarah is in a special class at high school due to learning difficulties.
Through Variety’s Tech4Schools grant, a basic laptop package was delivered to the girls to help them continue their studies at home and support their learning when back at school.
Help when it’s needed most
Every child deserves the chance to be the best they can be, to get the most out of life, regardless of their ability or background.
Join one of our membership groups, Young Variety or Ladies of Variety and connect more deeply with kids in need.