Mother praises guiding light

Mother praises guiding light

Fremantle Dockers player Lachie Neale (left) with Orlena Forsyth with the Starlight Children's Foundation. Orlena was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after a fall and her mother said the foundation had been a great support.

An Armadale mother said she could not thank Starlight Children’s Foundation enough for their support after her daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

After eight-year-old Orlena had an accident five years ago, doctors told Stephanie Forsyth she would not walk or talk again.

Orlena fallen while playing unsupervised, hit her head on the ground and suffered severe swelling and bleeding of the brain but her mother did not detect anything except for a bruise.

A week later Orlena collapsed and was first rushed to Armadale Hospital before being taken to Princess Margaret Hospital for surgery.

“We almost lost her,” Ms Forsyth said.

“We spent four weeks in the intensive care unit and in that time we were told she had a brain injury.”

She was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy and required regular hospital visits.

Ms Forsyth said visits and support by Starlight Children’s Foundation staff had helped her a lot during this time.

Starlight Children’s Foundation captains were volunteers who came with balloons, bubbles and unusual outfits to entertain sick children and their families.

“Having the captains come up and say hi and ask me how we’re doing is a huge support,” she said.

“It’s really good for the parents.”

However, for Ms Forsyth Starlight Foundation’s support went beyond hospital visits.

She said one day she received a telephone call saying Orlena had been selected for the foundation’s wish granting program.

The program provided families with seriously ill children with a once-in-a-lifetime experience to enjoy their time together.

They travelled to the Gold Coast for a week with a group of other families whose wishes had also been granted.

“When I thought I’d never be able to take my daughter on a holiday, Starlight made that possible,” she said.

“They made it possible to take her away – we had a great time, probably the best time of my life.

However Starlight Foundation said its initiatives like its hospital visits and wish granting programs needed donations to be supported and it was currently attempting to raise $414,505 by June 30 to keep its hospital support rooms open.

To help boost funds the organisation was looking for groups and companies to take part in the Great Adventure Challenge later this month – a 60-80-kilometre fundraising race held in the Yanchep region.

The foundation hoped to raise $140,000 through the event, which it said would give 3500 children access to its programs.

The competition was designed as an enjoyable challenge rather than a serious race and could involve mountain biking, trail hiking and kayaking.

Competitors would participate in teams of eight and would not find out the format of the race until the night before.

Starlight Children’s Foundation ambassador executive said it would be a great experience for all participants.

“Starlight has had a team do the event previously and we’ve had lots and lots of positive feedback,” she said.

“It’s a shared effort and it’s more about having fun than it is a competitive event.”

More information about the Great Adventure Challenge could be found at

For more information about Starlight Children’s Foundation go to