May the 4th be with you!!!
It’s nearly 8pm at night, my bag is packed and ready to go for Star Wars day (May 4th) tomorrow at Westmead Children’s Hospital. Over the past few months, though connections from my Lions Club, I’ve been organising a Star Wars day at the children’s section of the hospital. Being new to Lions, this is my first official project, this is actually the first time I’ve organised an event of any sort. My mum organised both my Bar Mitzvah and 18th birthday party pretty much on her own, I think all I did was tell her who to invite (thanks mum).
Holding an event like this was something I’d thought about for years I wanted to give back to those who’d helped me when I was young. I remember when I was 4 years old I had an extended stay in hospital, I was sick with juvenile arthritis. My joints were swollen like golf balls and had fluid around my heart. Christmas time was spent in a hospital bed getting different needles all times of day. One of the worst parts was travelling over two hours in the back of an ambulance from one hospital to another, for the duration of the trip I had a needle in each arm and hand. Every little bump in the road was felt in my painfully numb arms, the best bit was when I asked the driver to turn on the sirens, he happily obliged. Just before Christmas, I remember being taken to a room with a bunch of other children in the hospital to do some christmas craft, there, Santa made an appearance! I still remember being so excited when he gave me a present, I have no idea what it was now, all that’s left is the memory of that moment. Being older now, I realise that was most probably a person who volunteered their personal time, with no expectation of getting anything in return, just to make a little boy like me happy.
Now being the huge Star Wars fan I am, I thought how can I transform my passion of Star Wars into something that benefits others. Seeing the great work done by the 501st (a charity costuming organisation) I quickly decided a hospital visit would be a great idea.
Although I’ve been preparing for the last couple of months, the past week has been the most full on. Besides organising events and getting supplies for various activities, just yesterday I received word that a TV show called ‘The Project’ was interested in covering the event. For people who dob’t know, there are a lot of permissions needed to film in a hospital, all day I’ve been back and fourth with phone calls and emails to the hospitals project manger and CO of the South Cross Garrsion of the 501st. Each have been working really hard all day talking to their superiors and the media trying to OK this media visit. Finally at 5:30pm, I received conformation camera crews will be there to cover the event. Now of course media coverage never crossed my mind during any of the preparation, but after they expressed their interest in covering the day I realised it was an opportunity we couldn’t pass on. The exposure something like this could gain for charity groups like the 501st, Lions or Starlight is invaluable. For them, the they money raise goes to their cause, leaving little to no funds available for advertising to gain awareness for the fantastic work they do.
Now sorry for the highly unstructured and unedited ramblings , I’m feeling tired, stressed, anxious, nervous and incredibly excited all at the same time. I felt I needed to post something, if for no other reason than letting my feelings out. Just before I end this post I would like to thank the Lions of Beecroft Cheltenham, staff from the hospital and members of the 501st Southern Cross Garrison for allowing me to organise this little event, it truly means a lot to me. As the event is being held in the Starlight room, I’d like to thank Starlight for welcoming us but also congratulate them on 25 years today. An amazing organisation working to bring smiles to sick kids.
Fingers crossed the trains run on time and all goes well.
Thanks for reading,