The Steve Waugh Foundation has thrown its support behind a unique program offering respite to regional families who have children with a rare disease or illness.
SNUG (Special Needs Unlimited Group) provides assistance with medical care, recreational activities and the opportunity for families to meet others who share their experiences. The five day residential camp is available to regional families living more than 100 kilometres from Newcastle.
One of cricket's most legendary and respected captains, Steve Waugh AO always wanted to help sick children who through no fault of their own 'fall through the cracks' and have nowhere to turn for help. Somewhere to turn is the reason for establishing the Foundation.
"I am inspired by courage and character in challenging circumstances so it is not surprising that I was drawn to the SNUG program," Mr Waugh said.
"While the specialist medical assistance these camps provide is obviously invaluable to those living in remote areas, many of these families feel that being able to talk to and share with others in the same situation is the real bonus of the camp."
SNUG has been developed by Dr Peter King from Hunter New England Health and the University of Newcastle's Family Action Centre. Modelled on the Swedish Agrenska Program, each residential camp is designed around a separate disorder. The camp has previously focused on Rett Syndrome.
"The families have found the camp very rewarding. Not only do we organise appointments with a range of health professionals including a special needs dentist, paediatric neurologist and a speech therapist, there is a complete program of recreational activities so the entire family enjoys the break," Dr King said.
The Steve Waugh Foundation Australia is committed to a coordinated approach to the identification, treatment and cure of rare diseases and illnesses, with a primary focus on the needs of children. The foundation does this through specific projects and programs across Australia.
Located at the University of Newcastle, the Family Action Centre is a national leader in strengthening families and communities by developing and implementing programs, undertaking research and training, and creating models of practice that promote sustainability, social justice and community leadership.
Vision opportunity: Media are welcome to attend the next camp at Myuna Bay on 24 November 2009. For details, please contact Kate Robinson, Manager - Media and Public Relations.
For interviews: Peter King via Kerrell Bourne at the Family Action Centre; Mr Andrew Rowley, CEO, Steve Waugh Foundation Australia, via Rosita O'Keefe at Waples Marketing.