All children deserve the same opportunity in life.
For 47 years Variety – the Children’s Charity has been helping to give kids who are sick, experiencing disadvantage or living with a disability a fair go in life.
Our work allows kids to gain mobility, to get out and about in the community, to communicate, achieve independence and increase their self-esteem. We make sure the kids who miss out, can always join in.
A keen skier since he was just two years old, Zac joined Perisher Winter Sports Club at age 7. Now 16, the talented alpine skier from Berridale, NSW has had the opportunity to train and ski in some of the world’s most amazing locations including Montgenevre, Grindelwald, Heavenly and Winter Park.
Zac has always dreamed of competing in the Winter Olympics so when at 15, he was diagnosed with Charcot- Marie Tooth Disease, he had to think twice about whether that was still possible.
Fortunately for Zac, he had his supportive Mum Yvette standing proudly in his corner. “I said to him, your goals haven’t changed mate, it’s just your pathway that has.”
A kind and compassionate young girl, 12-year-old Kyla donated her beautiful long locks to our Hair with Heart program in November 2019. In December, she was elected school captain and when she began Year 6 in January 2020, she really hit the jackpot getting both her best friend in her class and her favourite teacher! It was the very next month that Kyla’s sister found a perfectly round bald patch on the top of Kyla’s head. What began smaller than the size of a 10c coin, quickly grew and Kyla was diagnosed with alopecia areata.
You may not expect to see a skateboarding clarinettist, but Anna Chung has been defying expectations since she was seven. Now 18, Anna loves combining her talents for both interests, but it is her skills on the clarinet that have won her numerous awards and now see her living away from her Sydney home and studying Music Performance at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.
Variety Heart Scholarship recipient Piper, 17, may be young but she knows exactly what she wants to do for the rest of her days – make people happy with her music. The self-taught singer, guitarist and songwriter from Lake Macquarie, NSW, says music has always been a huge part of her life.
“My mum sings all around the house and I learnt to sing from her. We call Dad ‘Happy Feet’ because he can’t sing but he can dance. Dad also taught me my first chords on the guitar,” she said.
“Since the start of my professional music journey, Variety has always given me not only financial support but also the confidence to believe in myself. The scholarships have helped me to cover the cost of travel for non-local gigs, an amplifier and a new guitar.”
Amalia is a bubbly, funny 8yr old who loves Minecraft, coding and roller skating. Wearing her wig for parties, school occasions and events means she can focus on having fun with her friends. Having lost all her hair at age 5, it can be a little more difficult to find confidence in situations that are new. So, Amalia’s Variety wig plays an important role.
When Lismore student Giaan was entering Year 10 and required a new MacBook Pro, she came to her mum with the only possible solution, she had no choice but to leave school and get a job.
As a single mother, Wendy was struggling with mortgage repayments and household bills. She had considered purchasing a second-hand computer, but they were still out of her price range.
“When a friend told me about the Variety Grant I didn’t know if our need would be great enough. I knew we had rather limited finances, but you always assume there are people out there who are much worse off than you.”
Hi, my name is Sienna, and this is a story about my friend alopecia.
She wasn’t always my friend though!!
My Mum first noticed a bald patch on the back of my head, so she made an appointment to see a Dermatologist to check it out. Being told at the age of 11 that I was most likely going to lose all my hair was not an easy thing for me to hear. So, I guess you could say alopecia and I got off to a rocky start.
BRIONY AND JACQUELINE'S STORY
For Briony and Jacqueline, the impacts of drought, bushfires and COVID-19 on their peaceful rural life also meant not keeping up at school. Thanks to the Variety Tech 4 Schools grant, the sisters are back on track with their education.
Leah used to think having no hair meant she wasn’t the same, but two Variety wigs later, her self-confidence has grown as much as she has.
Wearing a wig gives the eight-year-old a boost of confidence to do all the things other kids do, even presenting news in front of the whole class.
Plus, she and her friends share a love of styling their hair with fun accessories.
Rachel, Leah’s mum, says her daughter has come to understand she is enough just as she is, even without hair – all thanks to having access to a Variety wig.
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.
Through Variety’s Tech4Schools grant, a basic laptop package was delivered to Sienna to help her continue her studies at home due to mental health issues.
Sienna’s mum says that she is able to focus on her studies now she has the education technology she needs to learn from home.
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.
Emmagen from Northern NSW is a very talented singer who has achieved so much despite her young age. She loves singing to big audiences and has dreams of becoming a world famous artist. Her voice is both powerful and vulnerable and is able to express emotion way beyond her years.
Born to sing, her mother can remember at 2 years of age Emmagen singing nursery rhymes in the car; and being so in tune. Little did Emmagen’s family know then how her singing would have such a huge impact on their lives.
Jennifer from Glen Innes has achieved some incredible milestones as a performing artist.
Under the performing name Efa, Jennifer started song writing at just 12 years old.
For several years, Jennifer has been heavily involved in state and regional performing arts events including CAPERS, Schools Spectacular, State Dance Festival, Regional Dance Festival, State Solo Vocal camp selection, State Drama Festival and GIHS Dance Spectacular.
Kallan Strong has two passions in life, Ten Pin Bowling & Photography.
An incredibly talented tenpin bowler, Kallan shows sheer determination in competing over the last several years which has resulted in him receiving an incredible 140 medals and countless trophies.
He will continuously step outside his comfort zone and try his hardest to be the best he can be and bowl against some very talented and highly rated adult bowlers who are professionals.
At 13 years old, Layla Sharp is an athletics and swimming superstar.
Born with a vision disability and peripheral blindness, Layla has never let her vision get in the way if pursuing her sporting dreams. She is incredibly driven and wants to wear green and gold to represent Australia at the next Commonwealth Games & Paralympic Games.
Tilly Jones is a young composer and cellist from Lismore, NSW, Australia. The 19-year-old has not let her multiple diagnoses, including Cerebral Palsy, ADHD and Aspergers stop her.
Tilly has been playing music for 9 years and composing for 7 years. She has composed commissioned pieces for the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival, Northern Rivers Youth Orchestra and the Evans Head Living Museum. She also plays in numerous ensembles and groups around the Northern Rivers region. She is extremely talented with a very bright future.
Malachi is a 14 year old boy who is absolutely thriving in athletics.
In foster care since the age of 3, Malachi has excelled with a truly inspiring list of sporting achievements.
Since 2018, Malachi has competed in the CIS Cross Country, PSSA Cross Country, CIS Athletics, Casino 2km Marathon, PSSA Athletics, National Cross Country QLD, National Athletics Melbourne and this only just names a few.
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.
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.
Since representing Australia at the Junior National Rodeo Finals in Las Vegas, Chris continues to be a stand out in bull riding across the globe.
In January, Chris was invited to ride at Alec in Tamworth at the Xtreme Bulls Racing event. He also happened to be the youngest to compete.
Since competing, Chris has been named in the top 5 bull riders for the Xtreme Bulls, a huge achievement and one he is truly grateful for.
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.
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. Learn more about how kids are supported through our Variety Heart Scholarships, We Learn Grant, We Move Grant, Wig Grant and more.Find Help Here
Join one of our membership groups, Young Variety or Ladies of Variety and connect more deeply with kids in need.