DIANELLA resident Manuel Sammut knows too well the pain children and their families face when battling illness, which is why he has hosted the Princess Margaret Hospital 3B Ward Christmas party for the last five years.
Mr Sammut’s 17-year-old daughter Michelle is currently in remission and healthy but that wasn’t always the case, spending three years ‘practically living’ in the ward after she was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
Mr Sammut said it was during this time watching his daughter and other children and their families go through pain that he decided it was time he did something about spreading cheer to the ward.
‘It was a horrific time for us, and all the children in PMH 3B Ward go through quite a bit ” we are lucky to still have Michelle given what she went through,’ he said.
‘You’re in limbo where you don’t know what is going on, it’s a tough time for everyone involved.
‘I couldn’t help but get involved, the kids needed it.
‘There’s nothing to enjoy in hospital, all you have is four walls and you have nowhere to go, so when you see the excitement from the kids on that one day, you have to keep going.’
Last year Mr Sammut raised more than $4000 for the event and this year hopes to raise $20,000 in the hope he can send some of the children and their families to the Gold Coast to visit some of the theme parks.
He has raised $2000 so far and often puts in a lot of money himself to hold the special day.
‘We have Fat Cat and Father Christmas visit bringing cheer to the ward and food and drink is put on for the children and their families,’ he said.
‘But this year we want to make it bigger and better and hope to get more community members and even celebrities on board.’
PMH’s 3B ward was home to Elliot Parish, Sindi Simich and Harvey Lovering all who lost their battle to childhood cancer.
To donate or to help Mr Sammut visit pmhfoundation.org.au/manuel_sammut.