On its momentous 90 year anniversary of giving for the kids, the Good Friday Appeal is proud to announce the face of this year’s campaign, Malu Hunt.
Chasing after his brothers with a beaming smile on his face, two-year old Malu is bursting with energy as he wanders around his backyard. In awe of his older brothers, little Malu mimics their every move as they race around the garden, build sandcastles and bounce on the trampoline. Looking at him now, you’d never know that he’s adapting to his new life with only half a functioning brain.
At 12 months of age, Malu was diagnosed with infantile spasms – a rare type of epilepsy in children. Referred to the Neurology department at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Malu’s care team discovered that the right side of his brain was not developing properly. Finding little success through various medications, options to minimise the impact this condition was having on his developing brain were running out, so The Royal Children’s Hospital’s Neurology team offered one final solution – a hemispherotomy. An extremely complex surgery, a hemispherotomy includes completely disconnecting one half of the brain, while leaving it inside the head. The only paediatric hospital in Victoria to take on this specific surgery, The Royal Children’s Hospital performs less than six hemispherotomies per year.
Anxiously seeking a cure for his seizures, Malu’s parents Morgan and Erin, made the difficult decision to have their one-year-old undergo invasive brain surgery, knowing it would give their toddler the best chance of a normal life. Expected to make slow, steady progress, Malu exceeded his doctors’ expectations and began walking again less than one month after surgery.
With the right side of the brain controlling the left side of the body, Malu had partial paralysis on his left side but is now gaining strength and confidence and is hitting developmental milestones. hanks to the incredible care at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Malu has been seizure-free since his surgery in July 2020. While his condition will be managed regularly over his life, he will continue to visit the Hospital until he graduates to adult care.
Executive Director of the Good Friday Appeal Rebecca Cowan said, “We are so proud to call Malu the face of this year’s 90th Good Friday Appeal. This year marks a special anniversary for all of Victoria. Through 90 years of giving from the Victorian community and beyond, children like Malu are able to receive world-class care at The Royal Children’s Hospital. To all the generous donors over the years, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Malu’s parents, Erin Johnson and Morgan Hunt are so appreciative of the Good Friday Appeal and the lifesaving work it enables each year at The Royal Children’s Hospital. “It’s the incredible work of the Good Friday Appeal and the wider Victorian community which enables the Hospital to continue their crucial work. When Malu went in for surgery we wanted to give him the best chance at life – and the hospital has been with us every step of the way. He has now been seizure-free since his surgery in July, and we are thrilled by the progress he is making,” explained Erin.
The Good Friday Appeal is grateful for the 90 Years of Giving generously from our community of donors, volunteers, fundraisers and supporters. Since 1931, the Good Friday Appeal has been dedicated to fundraising for The Royal Children’s Hospital and will continue to help the sick kids of Australia for the next 90 and beyond.
As we celebrate this special year, the Appeal sends heartfelt thanks to the entire community – Victoria and beyond – for continuing to donate and believing in the cause to help The Royal Children’s Hospital remain a world class facility. From regional area managers, to country towns, to everyday families and individuals, long-term partners, every fundraiser and even patients who have shared their story, the Appeal is forever grateful for your ongoing support and generosity.
Additionally, the Appeal is proud to celebrate another milestone anniversary with the Country Fire Authority who celebrate an incredible 70 years of giving for the kids. The CFA are the arms and legs of the Appeal across Victoria, particularly in regional areas of the state where CFA volunteers are seen championing the Appeal on the street shaking tins to collect for the kids.
At the heart of the activity this year, is the Channel 7 broadcast, which will be live from 12pm on Good Friday. Additionally, for the fifth year running there will be a Kick for the Kids AFL match between North Melbourne and Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium where funds raised during the event will go directly to the Good Friday Appeal. Additionally, the Good Friday Appeal team is developing a new concept for Kids Day Out to ensure the health and safety for all involved.
Malu and his family represent the thousands of patients and families at The Royal Children’s Hospital that benefit from the selfless donations and efforts from the community. Funds from the Good Friday Appeal go towards research, education and medical equipment to ensure that The Royal Children’s Hospital continues to offer world-class care for patients like Malu. From 90 years of giving generously to the Good Friday Appeal, the Victorian community and beyond has enabled The Royal Children’s Hospital to grow and be at the forefront of paediatric care.
Donations can be made online anytime to the Good Friday Appeal at goodfridayappeal.com.au
To see the video from today’s 2021 Good Friday Appeal launch, view below.