Hunter business has kicked off a campaign by a young local woman to help give back to the charity that gave her the opportunity to meet her idol and singing sensation Taylor Swift.
Gem Evans, 19, from Kotara, is going to do a Sydney Harbour Bridge climb in November to raise funds for the Starlight Children's Foundation to be able to grant at least one wish to other young people that are seriously ill or managing a chronic condition. The Greater Building Society has donated $2,500 to kick-start this campaign.
What makes Gem's 1,022 step climb extraordinary is that she has mild to moderate Cerebral Palsy (Spastic Diplegia). Gem has had 12 operations during her short lifetime to help her to be able to walk.
Gem says being hospitalised for extended periods introduced Gem to Starlight Children's Foundation's diversional therapy programs and its Wish Granting Program.
She says she was lucky enough to be granted her wish by Starlight to meet award-winning American singer songwriter Taylor Swift (who is touring Australia in December).
“It is difficult to fully describe the significance of my Wishgranting experience but I want other people to have the same opportunity,” Gem said.
“The pain, loneliness and isolation that sick children feel dominates their lives and as such they often miss out on normal experiences that healthy children take for granted.”
“I do not let my cerebral palsy define who I am or what I can achieve.”
Staff at The Greater knew about Gem's campaign because she participates in a Cerebral Palsy Alliance mentoring program funded by Greater Charitable Foundation. The Greater Charitable Foundation also funds Starlight's Captain Starlight diversional therapy programs in eight hospitals in regional NSW and the Gold Coast and supports its Wishgranting program too.
Greater staff member Kelly Eather mentors Gem. Kelly is encouraging other businesses to support Gem or the great work done by Starlight and Cerebral Palsy Alliance.
To find out how to support Gem's campaign visit here.
Meanwhile, The Greater's staff have raised more than $13,000 for Cerebral Palsy Alliance programs to help kids with cerebral palsy. A total of 92 staff in 13 teams participated in an Australian-inspired global health and wellness initiative called STEPtember.
Greater STEPtember organiser Kelly Eather said one staff member took a staggering 563,344 steps meaning staff took enough steps to be able to climb up both Mt Everest and Mt Kilimanjaro 70 times!
“STEPtember is a wonderful initiative that has helped our staff to get active, and at the same time fundraise and raise awareness to support children and adults with cerebral palsy,” Kelly says.
STEPtember participants aim to do 10,000 steps a day, which is the recommended daily minimum for an average healthy person. The average office worker takes just 2,500 steps a day.
Pictured | Gem Evans and Greater Building Society mentor Kelly Eather