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NSW Central Coast student is face of national childhood cancer fundraiser

Copacabana student Bella Farrugia is the face of national Coles Express fundraiser Redkite Week.

Copacabana student Bella Farrugia is the face of national Coles Express fundraiser Redkite Week which raises much-needed funds for leading children’s cancer support charity Redkite.

Bella, who has Down syndrome, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of five. Redkite helped her family throughout her experience, and Bella is now sharing her story to help other kids with cancer.

During Redkite Week – which runs from 13-19 September – Coles Express customers can choose to round up any purchase to the nearest dollar to help Redkite provide vital financial and mental health support for families.

When Bella was diagnosed with cancer a week before her sixth birthday, her father Ritchie worried that she wasn’t going to understand that she was unwell.

“During the first few months, I stayed at the hospital with her full-time. The beginning was particularly hard because there were so many unknowns. When a kid is about to have chemotherapy, the doctors prepare you for the worst because they don’t know how it’s going to affect the child – especially kids with Down syndrome because their chromosomes are different,” Ritchie said.

“Redkite made us feel like we were not on our own. They funded a social worker who was a great support when we were in hospital, paid the car registration so we could get to hospital and home for short breaks in between treatments, and they provided Coles vouchers so that we had food.

“Today, Bella is 19 months in remission and is in Year 2 at school, which she loves. We are very proud of her. But she continues to have blood taken and sees medical teams every few months so relapse is always on our minds.”

Redkite supported 2,400 families across the country in 2020, and 760 in NSW alone. Redkite’s General Manager Fundraising Tatiana Issacs said that the pandemic had put even more pressure on families and there was more demand than ever for essential support such as fuel and grocery vouchers and counselling for family members.

“Families like Bella’s need our support. Please consider paying a visit to your local Coles Express during Redkite Week, round up your bill to the nearest dollar and play a part in helping these families,” she said.

Coles General Manager Operations Tony Parry said Coles Express was proud to be fundraising for such an important cause.

“Our Coles Express team members are passionate about supporting their communities, and helping families with children whose lives have been diagnosed with cancer.  Simply rounding up at the till is a small act which will make a huge difference to families in need.”

Tony Parry, Coles General Manager Operations

Coles Express customers and team members have donated more than $2.77m for Redkite Week since 2019, with this year’s fundraiser running from 13-19 September.

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