Topics:  lismore base hospital, our house, rebekka battista

Toys bring joy to sick kids

GENEROUS DONATION: Rebekka Battista (left), director of Our House, and Jane Isenhood, director of Northern Rivers Childcare Services, with some of the toys donated to the hospital-linked accommodation facility.
GENEROUS DONATION: Rebekka Battista (left), director of Our House, and Jane Isenhood, director of Northern Rivers Childcare Services, with some of the toys donated to the hospital-linked accommodation facility. Patrick Gorbunovs

THEY may look like two big kids playing on their bikes, but there is much more to this story than a bit of a lark.

The bikes are part of a donation to Our House in Lismore that provides shelter and much more to kids who either have to undergo medical treatment at Lismore Base Hospital, or their family members do.

The non-government agency Northern Rivers Childcare Services yesterday handed over the bikes and other toys to provide kids staying at Our House some normalcy during what can be a very unsettling and scary time.

"We just thought we would like to donate some things to help the children," said the services' director Jane Isenhood.

"Some of those children may also be using some of our services as time goes by for respite if their parents are having cancer treatment so more than likely we will become quite involved with them.

"It wasn't a huge donation but we just wanted to help them. We know Our House was lacking with some toys and we wanted to make sure the kids had something to play with when they go there because a lot of the time they are in crisis and need some normality in their lives."

A happy Our House director Rebekka Battista said the donations, among many from community groups, businesses and individuals across the Northern Rivers, filled a gap in the toy cupboard.

"We wouldn't be able to have Our House if it wasn't for donations from the community," she said.

"Specifically in the children's area, we had toddler toys but we didn't have bikes and toys for slightly older ones so this donation fills that void.

"They gave us books, building blocks, train sets and tricycles for the outdoor play area. We just live in an amazing community that just pours out support for children, cancer services and the hospital."

Since Our House opened in December people have stayed from afar afield as Moree, Tenterfield, Kyogle and Tweed.

OUR HOUSE

Located across from Lismore Base Hospital

Facility opened on December 4, 2012

Construction started September 2011

Consists of 20 units and communal areas

Cost more than $5.5 million

Total government funding $4.1 million



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