As an artist, I am approached to support many, many charities and causes each year, and there are a few that are close to my heart. The Cancer Council and Breastscreen Queensland as cancer has touched dear friends of mine, SANDS as I had daughter who was born still, Caitlin, Operation Smile, as my first child had a cleft lip and palate, and of course, my children’s schools.

I remember reading an article many years ago, that talked about ‘fundraising overwhelm’ and identifying the people you can help, and concentrating on them. I think this is a great idea.

For the last few years a very special friend of mine from school days, Toni Mitchell, has been the amazing mother and primary carer to her son. Joshy has multiple disabilities, including Down syndrome, autism, hearing and vision impairment, epilepsy and Hirschsprung’s Disease. He has just turned 15 and struggles with immense pain every day.

Joshy spends a lot of time in hospital and has had many operations – 20 in 2014 alone and more this year.

Toni is Joshy’s adoring mum, carer and advocate, barely sleeping each night as she lays on his bedroom floor (her bed is next to his), listening to him breathe, tending to his every need. She’s lived in this state of exhaustion for so long already, and while low immunity means home is the best place for him, Joshy’s high needs make respite almost impossible.

On top of this Toni struggles to pay for Joshy’s medical expenses. Currently their weekly trip to Brisbane to see doctors is not only physically traumatic, but can add up to $250 in doctors, petrol, parking and medicines.

Toni and Joshy are local to me. These are people I care about and CAN help.

So please take a moment and consider bidding on a painting in my online auction or making a donation. I was looking for a site that could handle both an auction and a raffle, but didn’t have any luck. So please know that donations of $5 or multiples of $5 will go in the draw to win a Ranunculus painting I created especially for this project.

The auction runs until 9pm on Monday 15 June 2015.

Thanks so much for helping me help Toni and Joshy. I really appreciate it. xxx