When Jack was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes three weeks before his 9th birthday, it was a huge shock for his family.
The condition meant his mum Sarah had to administer seven insulin injections a day. At times he wouldn’t eat – just to avoid having another needle.
Just as Jack and his family were coming to terms with their ‘new normal’, the death of a much-loved family member and being temporarily moved out of their rental home added further stress to what was already a challenging and stressful time.
One month later Covid-19 struck…
It’s at times like these that chaplains stand in the gap for children and families in need. Your generosity keeps them there – thank you!
Behind the scenes, Chappy Kylie was there. The relationship she’d built with Jack and his family, over the years, allowed her to step in and help when it was most needed.
“I first met Chappy Kylie many years ago in the middle of a rough time of my life,” Sarah recalls.
“Later on, in the first couple of months after Jack’s diagnosis I got very little sleep because I was so worried his insulin levels would drop low during the night, which they did a few times. I wasn’t home much and juggling the four kids and my night shifts was a lot.
“When Kylie delivered the hamper it broke us. It couldn’t have come at a better time.”
As Covid-19 came on and the family moved into another rough patch, Chappy Kylie dropped off another hamper and organised some frozen meals.
“They’re practical – it had cereal, pasta, just enough to get us through for a couple of days. The hampers and meals have saved me in some really difficult times over this season,” Sarah says.
“It just gives you support. It makes you feel not alone, you feel supported, you feel valued as a person. I don’t even know the words. We’re grateful.”
Head of Special Ed at Bald Hills State School, Kate Marley, says Chappy Kylie makes a huge difference for families like Jack’s.
“If Jack’s family didn’t have Chappy Kylie, there wouldn’t be hampers, there wouldn’t be food vouchers, and there wouldn’t be that phone call to check in,” Kate recalls.
“She made sure they got the support they needed.”
Kate says the support goes far beyond one family, and that Chappy Kylie shapes the way the school provides support to families in need.
“Kylie’s invaluable. She’s open and warm but hugely practical as well – she does the job of like six people,” Kate says.
“With Covid-19, people don’t know what to do – if they should come to school or not. Teachers are feeling vulnerable and they don’t know if what was applicable yesterday still stands in the present.
“In that space, Kylie has been that constant – just there walking beside them. Having someone in the school who is so present, calm and kind changes everything.
“She would feel the stress, but every single day she walks in with a big smile, willing to serve without complaining. I couldn’t imagine school without Chappy Kylie.”
Kylie loves the hamper program not only for the smiles when she drops one off, but also the impact it has on the kids in the school – who donate the goods for the hampers.
“I love that the hampers come from the school community,” Kylie says.
“It’s kids recognizing that they are a part of being able to help. I love getting kids involved in something greater than themselves – teaching them that they can be a part of spreading love and kindness.”
For Jack’s mum Sarah, she can’t speak highly enough about her chappy.
“It’s not just children she’s looking out for, it’s the mums, it’s the dads, it’s the foster families – it’s whoever the guardians are for those kids at school. She makes you feel a part of the community. It gives the school heart,” Sarah says.
“It means everything to me to know my kids are safe and that they have someone looking out for them.”
It’s because of you that Chappies like Kylie can bring encouragement and support to their communities. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of others – visit suqld.org.au/donate for more ways to show your support.