The kids scattered in a haphazard circle were all of different ages. Some were children born with clubfoot, some had a sibling born with clubfoot and others were there to support a family they know. A few kids hung back, taking their time getting to know ‘Stretch the Magic Clown’ and our very own Aussie Clubfoot Kid (ACFK) super-hero ‘Captain Boots’. Other children enthusiastically threw themselves into the games and entertainment. There was pass-the-parcel, face painting, songs, music and lots of interaction. There were big smiles and timid smiles alike, and both laughter and typical toddler caution.
Ettamogah Hotel (Kellyville Ridge, Western Sydney) kindly provided a room decorated with bright blue and yellow balloons. As families made their way into the carpark there was a huge 1m x 3m ‘World Clubfoot Day’ banner to draw everyone’s attention. One of our Sydney based families, the owners of Abstract Print Design, had generously arranged to have the banner printed.
As Carousel Clowns effortlessly entertained the children (and adults), platters of hot and cold food came out of the Ettamogah kitchen. Cheese, crackers, chorizo, hot chips, fish bites and chicken nuggets left a delicious aroma in the air, tempting our tastebuds. Along with platter-after-platter of mini cupcakes supplied by Sharon’s Superb Slices, we had a lavish morning tea on our hands.
Parents were reminded to grab a Goodie Bag for their children born with clubfoot. Inside the bright yellow bags was a pair of Black Robin socks and a squishy foot from Massons in Melbourne, the Australian distributor for C-Pro Direct in the UK. Thanks to the generosity of these two businesses 100 families around Australia were gifted a pair of specially designed clubfoot socks during our World Clubfoot Day (WCFD) celebrations.
Coles supermarket in Narellan also donated yummy little treats for the Goodie Bags, and Melanie Pennell Design created participation certificates for everyone there on the day – a very special momento, and one placed in each yellow bag.
Children came and went from the craft table, scribbling on the white cut out feet and adding their entries to the Design-A-Boot colouring in competition. Just like last year, Pumpkin Patch supplied gift vouchers to the winners at each of our WCFD events around Australia. Entries were received from all ages, and displayed up on the window so Captain Boots could make his decision. The blue ACFK stamp had a workout! Little 20-month-old Isabella came away with the win – a very deserving recipient as she tackles even more challenges in her clubfoot journey. We would like to acknowledge Kwik Kopy in Macarthur, Sydney, for printing colouring in competition entries and participation certificates for our events Australia-wide.
The adults took turns looking over the giveaways, and entering raffle tickets for a chance to win a prize. It was very special to see the line-up of fabulous prizes and know that we would have the privilege of gifting them to such deserving families. We extend our most heartfelt gratitude to the businesses, small and large, who contributed.
Fortunately we had one half of the husband/wife team who founded Aussie Clubfoot Kids with us on the day, and so we kicked off the formalities with an acknowledgement to the Pennell family. It was a very special moment to be able to pay tribute to Melanie (center of photo) and Glenn, who set up our support group seven years ago. Since then, our group has exploded to over 1000 members worldwide. We are all so thankful for the initiative and energy the Pennells have invested in to providing this amazing community for us all.
Congratulations must also go to our prize winners, each who have their own story on this clubfoot journey:
- Mr Gurmeet Singh who won the ‘Girls Giftpack’ including 2 Boots’n’Bar friendly Pumpkin Patch onesies, an ACFK Silicon Band, a hand-sewn soft ball made with love by an ACFK grandmother, and some Pawpaw cream from Coles. Incredibly Mr Singh has just moved to Australia from India, and was directed to our celebrations by Ponseti International!
- Cathy Hutchinson won the ‘Boy’s Giftpack’ – a more blue version of the girls pack!
- Richelle Clark won the 1st Lucky Door Prize, consisting of a 2 day family pass to Taronga Western Plains Zoo including a behind the scenes tour and family bike hire, along with 2 nights in a 2 bedroom apartment at the Dubbo Quality Inn. Richelle’s younger brother, Jack, was born with clubfoot, and she kindly passed the prize on to him.
- Jo McAdam, mummy to 21-month old Grace born with clubfoot, won the 2nd Lucky Door Prize – a “Mummy Pack”. We hope she finds time to enjoy the bottle of wine, a box of chocolates from Coles and her copy of ‘Trust Your Melody’ written by ACFK volunteer Lana Mayes. The pack also included some coconut soy melts from Celestial Blessings, and an oil burner and tea light candles from DUSK, in Macarthur.
- Alicia Logue was the winner of our 3rd Lucky Door Prize – an Ocean Drum from Music Works Magic and a copy of ‘Leroys Boots’ book, a fabulous children’s clubfoot book written by ACFK volunteer Lauren Christie.
- Bernadette Harvey won a family pass to Featherdale Wildlife Park, kindly arranged by Carousel Clowns
In wrapping up the presentation the big boys cut the celebratory cake, made and gifted by a member’s friend, and all the children were generously given a ‘rattle balloon’ by Stretch the Magic Clown. As we gathered the 15 children born with clubfoot together, it was a highlight to realise the variety of ages and stages of treatment that were represented.
It had been an extraordinary few hours, spent with wonderful families and resilient kids. We are so grateful to have had the gracious Mel, of Mel Hayes Photography, with us again this year. She has captured each special moment so that we can reflect back on the day, and even more in the years to come. What a tribute to the selflessness of business owners when almost everything our families experienced on the day was gifted to ACFK and our members.
Thank you to everyone who was a part of the day. Thank you for sharing your stories, and supporting each other. We hope you feel as proud as we do, to have the honour of belonging to this wonderful community.