HeartKids Family Formal

This year’s HeartKids Family Formal organised by the Victorian Youth Advisory Committee was held on Saturday 18 August at Bayview on the Park.

The Formal provided a way for young people living with a heart condition to integrate their family, friends and partners into their world. Being a heart kid, it’s hard to be able to explain to any person who isn’t a heart kid how much of an impact the support, friendships and events provided by HeartKids has a positive impact on our lives. To me, my HeartKids’ friendships are so vital as these people understand the impact a life long illness has on your life. This event allowed me to integrate my sister and my boyfriend into the HeartKids’ world which allows them to have a better understanding of the importance of these friendships and why I am so dedicated to the Youth Advisory Committee. It’s incredibly important to include others to give our friends and partners insight into why Heartkids is so important to us and the support network it provides.

The evening featured guest musicians, a celebrity MC and even a hint of magic! Guests were entertained as they arrived by singer/guitarist Tim Richardson. We were lucky to have Jess Liemantara from Masterchef 2018 as our MC for the night. Jess shared her journey on Masterchef and the struggles she faced during the competition. Luke Blaze, magician and illusionist wowed the crowd with his incredible magic tricks. Singer Yzzy Peterson wowed us with her acoustic performance. All entertainers are friends with members of the Youth Advisory Committee, an example that everyone knows someone who is affected by Congenital Heart Disease.

Amazing photographer Ken Nakanishi from Hikari Photography kindly donated his time to produce magical shots of all the guests. The photo booth was constantly occupied by guests the whole night who were after rare shots with fellow heart kids, friends, family photos or couple shots. Ken’s photography booth was a great highlight as these photos allows all heart kids and their guests to preserve the memory of the night. You can see some of these photos in the Facebook Album here.

The food, as always, was amazing and as guests enjoyed their three-course meal they also got the chance to mingle with friends and bid on the Silent Auction items. This year’s silent auction consisted of many items ranging from boys and girls toy packages to chopping boards, napkins and even homemade honey. A huge thank you must go out to Callum and his connections for his amazing work getting the vast majority of our Silent Auction items.

Paula Murray, General Manager of Programs, Research & Innovation spoke on behalf of HeartKids organisation. Committee members Chelsea and Sam shared the importance of the Youth Advisory Committee - it builds a strong community for young people affected by Childhood Heart Disease and made it clear that events like these would not be possible without the amazing work and support of Tracy Stanley HeartKids Support Manager and Rebecca Peters HeartKids Youth Engagement Coordinator. Committee member Ange gave a heartfelt tribute to the members of our community who have passed away.

Most noticeable throughout the event was the lack of individuals sitting at their allocated table as everyone was mingling and creating new friendships. This formal was not just about raising awareness and funds for the Youth Advisory Committee but being a place for support and for friendships to be created, reconnected and preserved. We witnessed attendees of the HeartKids National Teen Camp continue their friendship together outside of the camp atmosphere and also for friendships between fellow heart families to flourish. This event also was important as it allowed increased awareness of Congenital Heart Disease, non-heart kid friends who attended had their eyes opened by the stories shared by heart kids.

As the official proceedings of the night came to a close, those brave enough to get out on the dance floor showed off their moves whilst the lucky Silent Auction and Raffle winners collected their prizes. This event is an important moment for the YAC for we spend months in preparation and it would not be able to be pulled off quiet as successfully without 1. the behind the scenes people and 2. our amazing guests that show just how amazing the Heartkids community really is. Can't wait to see you again next year!!

This event allowed the Youth Advisory Committee members to show our dedication to the committee, our hard work, public speaking skills and ability to produce such a successful night as a team. The committee is incredibly grateful for everyone’s support in what we do. These events take lots of preparation to produce. Without all the kind donations from multiple sponsors, all the guests who attended, each member of the HeartKids Victorian Youth Advisory Committee particularly Tracy Stanley and Rebecca Peters, without all of these things this this event would not have been as successful. We look forward to seeing you at next year’s event.

Phoebe Paterson & Chelsea Hard