Big pink pig helps young James and family

Grace Kavanagh, of Warrnambool, with her children Sean, 8, James, 11, and Sarah, 10, has received support from the Very Special Kids charity, after seeing the fundraising Big Pink Piggy Bank in Warrnambool. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Grace Kavanagh, of Warrnambool, with her children Sean, 8, James, 11, and Sarah, 10, has received support from the Very Special Kids charity, after seeing the fundraising Big Pink Piggy Bank in Warrnambool. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

A BIG pink pig is helping James Kavanagh and about 90 other special-needs children and their families through tough times.

James, 11, of Warrnambool, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at three months of age and has required high-care support from his family and medical agencies.

His mother Grace came across the giant plastic pig last year when it visited Warrnambool as the fund-raising promotional tool for Very Special Kids (VSK) which helps about 830 families across Victoria who have a child with a life-threatening condition or illness.

This year the piggy bank appeal has a $1 million target to continue support services and operate Victoria's only children's hospice which is based in Malvern.

One of the three-metre-high pigs will be in Portland on September 11 and Warrnambool on September 12 with VSK representatives.

For Mrs Kavanagh, her husband and two other children the charity has been a godsend.

"Without the hospice we wouldn't get a break from the demands of care," she said.

"It's a fantastic service and enabled us to take a holiday.

"James has been down to the house a few times he loves it and the other kids there.

"They (VSK) have specialists who look after a range of kids, some in their last stage of life. The nurses and volunteers are fantastic.

"I'd encourage anyone who sees the pig to make a donation because all money goes to a good cause."

VSK chief executive Dr Sarah Hosking said services ranged from a child's diagnosis to recovery or bereavement.

"Without generous donations from communities we would not be able to offer much-needed services to these brave families," Dr Hosking said.

The pig will be in Portland outside the Commonwealth Bank from 10am to 1pm and outside the Gordon Hotel from 6pm-8.30pm. In Warrnambool it will be outside the Commonwealth Bank from 10am to 3pm and at Mac's Hotel from 5pm-8pm.

pcollins@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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