When Stella Isabella Judy Anne Tunks-Fawley lost her life at just nine months old to a congenital heart disease in 2010, her mother Suzanne Tunks experienced something that no parent would ever want to endure.
After seeing what her daughter went through, Suzanne put her knowledge and empathy towards making a difference to families that are currently going through the same experience.
In 2012, she launched the Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation to brighten the lives of seriously ill children and their families. And Suzanne has managed to do exactly that.
Through the Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation, Suzanne and her small team have been providing families in the ACT with much needed financial and emotional support through food vouchers, petrol, grants for equipment, household essentials, reassuring programs and events.
“The help we get from our community enables us to forward plan and keep our tanks full and continue to help people in need,” she said.
On Tuesday, December 4, Peter Blackshaw Real Estate donated a supersized cheque for just under $26,000 to further help this deserving charity and make a difference in people’s lives.
Narelle Casey, Peter Blackshaw Franchise Operations Manager said, “we feel really excited because we can see the outcomes that our donations produce for the Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation. Being able to help so many people is very exciting.”
Peter Blackshaw franchise offices donate a certain amount of money every quarter and work hard to raise money through local events, including their recent Lip Sync Battle. The brand’s six offices went head to head, each performing a choreographed routine in front of friends, family and colleagues to support the amazing cause.
The cheque was handed to the Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation at their all-inclusive childcare centre in Fyshwick, which is another offering for chronically ill babies and children. The centre offers mainstream rooms and a specialised respite unit with 20 staff including a nurse, child carers and cooks. Fundraising donations from the community have allowed for playground makeovers for both sections of the centre and yoga classes for mums needing time to unwind.
Peter Blackshaw, one of Stella Bella’s biggest supporters for over 4 years, has raised a total of around $250,000 in that time. Apart from monetary contributions, Peter Blackshaw get involved in two other ways: volunteering opportunities and mentoring services.
“Through volunteering, our team have the capacity to get involved and understand the reason behind our support. It’s also an opportunity to create great outcomes for the charity with extra hands on deck,” Narelle said. The team have been able to help by wrapping Christmas presents and delivering them to the kids, providing an extra pair of hands at camps and helping set-up for local events, just to name a few.
Peter Blackshaw also provide business advice and policy and procedure guidance to enhance their corporate offering, allowing Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation to get the most out of their staff and let them focus on delivering the desired result the charity has intended to achieve.
“We’re really proud of our involvement with the Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation and proud of the outcomes we’ve been able to provide through our resources. We’re very happy to play a part in the success and helping Canberra families via that method over the last 4 years,” says Narelle.
And with the help of the community, Suzanne and her team can help people like Katie Morris and her family.
At just six days old, Katie was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition with only two cases in Australia and 14 in the entire world.
Because of her condition, Katie’s body doesn’t have the capacity to regulate electrolytes in her blood stream and cannot overheat. She needs constant air conditioning and can’t be in direct sunlight.
Her family applied for government housing, which they ultimately received, however they couldn’t move in due to the house not having curtains and air-conditioning. The Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation made it their mission to get the family into the house, so they provided these necessities to them.
Another example of Stella Bella’s amazing work is providing parents in the intensive care units with frozen meals to take just one stress away from them.
“These opportunities let us see the good that we do to the people in need and I’m very proud of what we have achieved. Through these donations and other funding, we’re able doing work in the community and continue helping these families,” Suzanne said.
To find out more about the Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation and to donate, visit stellabellalittlestars.org.au.