THE Korumburra Italian Social Club has raised $16,000 for the Royal Children’s Hospital Appeal at a pasta and pizza night with the lot.
It was a dream come true for club president Arc Gammaldi who was inspired to raise funds following the prolonged and traumatic illness of his grandson Connor.
Connor is well on the road to recovery now, but the thought of the pain the youngster endured still brings Arc close to tears.
On a family trip to Bali almost two years Connor, who’d just turned eight, was struck down with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis; a rare autoimmune disease marked by a sudden, widespread attack of inflammation in the brain and spinal cord.
It also attacks the nerves.
Doctors later said he’d already contracted the disease prior to arrival in Bali, it’s just that the symptoms didn’t appear until then.
He spent four nights in a Balinese hospital where doctors did not know what was wrong.
He was flown to Perth where he spent seven days before he could come back to Victoria where he spent another two weeks at Monash Medical Centre.
“His parents went to hell and back. He’s such a beautiful boy, and we thought we might lose him,” Arc said.
Connor had to learn to use all of his motor skills again but with the help of the caring experts, he’s coming along well.
“The care Connor received and the care his mum and dad received was incredible.”
The social club has been running for 45 years and has never attempted such a fundraiser until now.
Arc, Maria Condoluci and their team of helpers doorknocked every business from Leongatha to the south eastern suburbs hoping for a donation for the auction.
They received an incredible response.
Arc registered the event with the official Royal Children’s Hospital Appeal and indicated that the event could raise between $3000 and $6000.
“We were just overwhelmed by how well it went. It was beyond our wildest dreams.
“People were just throwing money at us.”
He said the food matched the stunning generosity thanks to the ladies in the kitchen.
Stu Jenkin donated his time to auction the items, including homemade wine.
A bottle of Arc’s finest fetched $100.
“That proved to me that people just wanted to donate to the appeal!” Arc laughed.
He’s now hoping he can donate the big cheque on Good Friday, April 14 during Channel 7s broadcast of the appeal.
One wonderful night, $16,000 for children