OUR CHARITY WORK
It all began at a charity dinner for the Spastic Center of New South Wales in 1998. I recall the MC announcing the winner of two tickets to London return. And the winner is.......Mr and Mrs Leone! winning two free tickets to London return sounds great, but Paul and I have 8 children between us! Yes the Brady bunch... Yours, Mine and Ours.
Without giving it another thought, we donated the prize back and auctioned the tickets. $7,000 was raised to purchase a Hart Walker, a walking aid to assist a child with Cerebral Palsy. This would be the beginning of a long relationship with the Spastic Center of New South Wales.
It was Paul's dream to one day open our garden for charity. And so the seed of inspiration began to grow. When we visited the Spastic Center in Pairewood and saw how the center helped the children, there dedication and care was evident to us. There was a need to buy more Hart Walkers which they desperately needed to help the children in their aid to walk.
I remembered my husbands dream, I could hear opportunity knocking and so we opened the door.
What was to be a simple event soon turned to be the biggest private open garden in New South Wales. Family and friends came on board all wanting to help and that they did. Then business owners in the area came to volunteer their time, produce and help. We asked for sponsorship from all the businesse's we knew, again we were amazed at what happened next. The cheques came rolling in and in. In a matter of three months we had collected $53,000 and we hadn't yet had the event! The excitement grew as we could see how big this was going to be.
We spoke to Don Burke from Burkes Backyard and told him of our story. He agreed to film an episode and advertise our "The Secret Garden". Little did we know the powerful effect the media was going to have.
Six thousand people came though the gates over that weekend! It will be one of the most memorable moments of our lives. We raised a total of $103,000 it was enough money to purchase 20 Hart Walkers for the children! We witnessed a dream come true.
In 2002 we again opened the Garden and this time we had the team from Backyard Blitz and Jamie Durie was a real hit with the ladies! Four thousand came through that weekend and we raised $80,000 for the Spastic Center, this time to purchase communication aids to help the children speak. We had the privilege to be part of a wonderful experience, that bonded our friendships, united families and created camaraderie in the community. Paul and I believe that if you dedicate some of your life to others, your dedication will not be a sacrifice. It will be an exhilarating experience because of the intense effort that was applied towards a meaningful end.
For something really great to happen, it takes a really great dream.....
A total of $190,000 was raised for the Spastic Center of New South Wales.