Clap along on 20 March, say Koala Kids, because happiness helps children beat cancer

by Freya Lucas

March 15

The Koala Kids Foundation, a Victorian organisation dedicated to supporting children and young people fighting cancer, has asked early childhood education and care (ECEC) services around Australia to join with them next Wednesday, 20 March, to celebrate the ‘International Day of Happiness’ and raise awareness and funds for the groups core mission – #webelievehappyhelps

 

Dr Peter Downie, Head of Unit: Paediatric Haematology-Oncology and Director of the Children’s Cancer Centre at Monash Health, said that at the end of the day, cancer is cured by research and clinical care, but “the bits of cancer care that really impact the lives of children with cancer are those other things; support, care, feeling, compassion, sensitivity, laughter, distraction and love”.

 

“Children are more likely to be cured if they’re in a safe place, where they are not sad, and that emotionally they and their families feel that someone is looking out for them. Looking after them.  Caring for them. Thanks to Koala Kids, I think they can.”

 

Program Director of the Koala Kids Foundation Mandy Mandie said she has personal experience of the difference a happy disposition and outlook, sharing candidly that after a period of mental illness, she relished the feeling of being genuinely happy and positive.

 

“When I’m happy I can think clearly and I can be creative, practical and useful. Happiness can be contagious, especially when it is good old basic, down to earth, simple happiness,” she said.

 

How to participate in Koala Kids Happy Day

 

ECEC services, businesses and organisations around Australia are encouraged to become actively involved in Happy Day by:

 

  • Wearing Koala Kids’ signature colour orange on the day and creating virtual and physical ‘Happy Walls’ with happy messages written on orange post-it notes.
  • Sharing your photos using the hashtag #webelievehappyhelps
  • Making a gold coin donation on the day for every child in the service wearing orange

 

  • Holding fun and happy activities to share joy

 

 

Ms Mandie said that, due to Koala Kids’ first-hand experience of more than ten years in the Children’s Cancer Centres, Happy Day will provide Koala Kids with an opportunity to explain how happy helps distract and comfort children and young people and their families during cancer treatment; how it is possible to have happy times in hospital; and, how happiness helps patients and their families better deal with their illness and situation.

For more information, visit the website, or email happyhelps@koalakids.org.au

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