21 February 2022

Gungahlin golf day suits Stella Bella Little Stars fundraisers to a tee

| Max O'Driscoll
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Blackshaw Gungahlin principals Michael and Rebecca Braddon

Blackshaw Gungahlin principals Michael and Rebecca Braddon with Ruby and Suzanne Tunks from Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation at the 2020 golf day. Photo: Supplied.

Charities across the region have struggled to hold their usual fundraisers since the pandemic began and the Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation has been no different.

“We haven’t been able to have any of our big fundraising balls for two years,” founder Suzanne Tunks said. “We’ve had to cancel a number of events and COVID has also brought a number of extra challenges to the families we support and our children’s centre.”

Stella Bella Little Stars was inspired by Suzanne’s late daughter Stella, who was born with a chronic medical condition and lived for just nine months. It was a tough time and one that gave Suzanne real insight into what some families go through.

“It was very, very heavy duty,” she said. “There was a lot of medical stuff for her and a lot of time in hospital and intensive care at home. Not much sleep and no money, it was a really hard time.”

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The charity does everything it can to help families struggling to care for a seriously ill child.

“We do an awful lot of financial support,” Suzanne said. “We run social programs like our Star Beads program, which gives children special beads for milestones and treatments to add a silver lining to a painful procedure. We also provide respite care at our Fyshwick Centre.”

While many of the charity’s fundraising events over the past two years have had to be cancelled, a saving grace has been Blackshaw Gungahlin’s Charity Golf Day. The marketing coordinator at Blackshaw Gungahlin, Kylie Barry, said the company was proud to support Stella Bella Little Stars’ essential service.

“We’ve been raising money for the Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation for five years now and we’ve hit a total of about $142,000 that we’ve raised over that period,” Kylie said.

“Obviously, for families with chronically ill children, the risks of COVID infection and exposure are very high. Our golf day has really been their only source of income during that period, so it’s just really important to continue that on and keep forging forward for them.”

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The 2022 Golf Day is set for 18 March at the Gungahlin Lakes Golf Course. The day features nine holes of big hole golf, a provided lunch, player pack, raffles and a live auction to round out the day.

Currently, there are 21 local Canberra businesses on board but there are still spaces for more teams to join. However organisers say the most important thing they’re looking for is donated items that can be auctioned off.

To register interest or ask any questions, Blackshaw Gungahlin can be contacted at their office on 6241 9111 or to speak with Kylie Barry directly by calling 0426 468 000.

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