Two-year-old Banjo O'Brien, who was born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, is the focus of a fundraiser which aims to raise money for charity See Banjo Run.By Elaine Cooney
A new fundraising idea at the Elmore Field Days event will set two-year-old Banjo O’Brien on the right path.
Former Rochester resident Diana O’Brien (nee Cheatly) gave birth to Banjo at 24-weeks, and as a result of the premature birth Banjo was born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy.
The crew from an old Rochester hairdressing business New Image Hair and Beauty on Moore are reuniting to cut hair at the Elmore Field Days event next month to raise more vital funds for Banjo.
The hairdressers — Narelle Robertson (Banjo’s aunt), John O’Neil, Janelle Gebbie and Belinda Nunn — will donate three days of their time, with all proceeds going towards the charity See Banjo Run.
‘‘They will also have face painting, hair chalk, hair feathers, henna tattoos, a photo booth, colouring competition, chocolates and nuts for sale,’’ Mrs O’Brien said.
The charity raised $22,000 last year at a fundraiser in Colbinabbin.
Banjo used some of the money for Therasuit therapy, which aims to teach him new improved motor patterns through repetition and correct alignment.
Mrs O’Brien said a three week intensive Therasuit session was $8500.
Due to illness, Banjo could not complete all of his Therasuit therapies last year but he has many other expensive needs.
Mrs O’Brien said while the Federal Government funds some equipment, the waiting list could be nine months for such equipment and by then Banjo would have different needs.
‘‘Since Banjo is now growing taller, he is now able to use a stander which is important for his hips to weight bear and helps keep the bones strong,’’ Mrs O’Brien said.
‘‘He recently trialled a Leckey Squiggles Stander, which is perfect for him, but the wait list is a minimum of nine months and the cost is $8500.’’
Mrs O’Brien plans to buy a second-hand stander so he can use it this year.
She is also seeking out new therapies.
‘‘The more therapy they can do while he is young, the better his long-term outcome is,’’ she said.
‘‘It is now acknowledged that the brain has plasticity which is most beneficial the younger you are, therefore early intervention is very important.’’
The See Banjo Run’s fundraising team will be at the Elmore Field Days from October 1, and the team is seeking volunteer face painters to assist on the day.
If you would like to help, contact Mrs O’Brien on 0438 420 728.
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