Kids cancer charity, Redkite was a lifesaver for Bulahdelah mother Kylie Mather and her daughter Sophie, who spent hours on the road travelling to and from hospital when Sophie was diagnosed with cancer of the brain and spine, aged seven and a half.
Kylie, who is a site manager for Coles Express, is extremely please her employer is championing the work of the charity in the Coles Express week-long "round-up" fundraiser starting Monday, June 21.
The fundraiser means customers in NSW can make a direct impact on families facing childhood cancer.
Customers can choose to round up any purchase to the nearest dollar to help Redkite provide vital financial and mental health support for NSW families, who are often travelling far from home to receive treatment.
Redkite saw a 33 per cent spike in the number of support sessions provided, after the COVID-19 pandemic amplified family stress levels due to extra health risks to their children and additional financial pressures.
You just don't realise how many families are struggling through their child's cancer and doing it rough. Every little bit helps. Every dollar helps. Even every 50 cents.Bulahdelah mother Kylie Mather
"When Sophie was diagnosed, Redkite helped keep our car on the road," Kylie said.
"We had so many appointments in different hospitals and we needed a reliable car. I didn't want to be breaking down on the side of the road with my sick child, trying to get to hospital," she said.
"And then, just because you're in hospital doesn't mean everything stops. The world still revolves, and you've still got car registration and bills, as well as expenses on top like parking and meals. You just don't think of it until you're in that position."
Redkite Week is particularly close to Kylie's heart.
"It's so important to spread awareness about what Redkite does to help families," she said.
"You just don't realise how many families are struggling through their child's cancer and doing it rough. Every little bit helps. Every dollar helps. Even every 50 cents. Every round up is helping another family cope."
Redkite's general manager fundraising, Tatiana Issacs said that in 2020, Redkite supported 2400 families across the country, and 760 in NSW alone, providing essential support such as fuel and grocery vouchers and counselling for family members.
"Childhood cancer can be completely overwhelming, and it's clear that more than ever families needed our support. We strongly encourage people to pay a visit to their local Coles Express during Redkite Week, round up their bill to the nearest dollar and play a part in helping these families," she said.
Coles Express NSW State manager, Evan Politis said Coles Express said many of the Coles Express team have children of their own and are passionate about supporting their community as well as a charity that does so much for families whose lives have been devastated by cancer.
"We have learned first-hand from our colleague Kylie just how devastating child cancer can be for families. She is an inspiration to our Coles Express teams and we are excited to be part of this important fundraiser for Redkite.
"It feels good to know that the next time you need to fill up, when you visit a Coles Express site and round up at the till, you're supporting a family and their child facing cancer."
Coles Express customers and team members have donated more the $2 million for Redkite Week since 2019, with this year's fundraiser running from June 21-27.