Event of the Week: Lizzie’s Lunch

August 31, 2015

Tuberous Sclerosis Australia’s Second Annual Lizzie’s Lunch Breaks a Fundraising Record

People came out to help those with Tuberous Sclerosis with the annual Lizzie’s Lunch event. The fundraiser, which was held the 21st of June at the Three Weeds Hotel Rozelle in Sydney, is in its second year and has proven to be a viable source for raising awareness about the illness.

Lizzie’s Lunch was created in honor of Lizzie Pinkerton, a young girl who suffered from Tuberous Sclerosis. “Lizzie Pinkerton was a vibrant young girl with a cheeky sense of humour,” states the website for Tuberous Sclerosis Australia (TSA). “She lived with Tuberous Sclerosis (TSC) and associated polycystic kidney disease that ended her life in 2010. In July 2015, Lizzie would have been 31 years old.”

As the site states, the disease causes benign tumours to grow in the body’s organs, such as the heart, lungs, brain, kidneys, and skin. Certain symptoms include learning disabilities, autism, mental health issues, hard to control epilepsy, disfiguring facial growths and kidney disease.

What is encouraging is that TSC can be managed if the right medical, social and educational support is available to families. But many families don’t have this type of support system. TSA supports families in Australia and New Zealand who do need medical and educational help. The volunteers that run TSA know firsthand the devastation that a diagnosis of TSC can bring to a family. This year, TSA’s goal is to raise enough money to provide families with the first ever TSC Advisor.

Clare Stuart, General Manager of Tuberous Sclerosis Australia, wrote in an email interview that this year’s Lizzie’s Lunch was able to raise a record amount of money. “This was our second Lizzie’s Lunch and the highlight is always the total raised – we hit $11,000 this year with an event attended by only 80 people, so that is a major achievement,” she wrote. Last year, the organisation raised $10,000. Another highlight of this year’s Lizzie’s Lunch is the personal stories told. “The personal story told by Rebecca about her son Josh who has tuberous sclerosis was a real tear jerker,” Stuart wrote.

The event was promoted through the families affected. “[T]he most effective marketing was Lizzie’s Mum, Sue,” wrote Stuart. “We find that is pretty common for a cause that most people aren’t familiar with[.] [W]e rely on the personal connections to those that have been affected by tuberous sclerosis.”

Are you planning an event to help a special cause? Stuart wrote that the best thing to do is to be honest. “Be authentic,” she wrote. “People respond to an honest story about why the cause is important and how their contribution will help.”

The next Lizzie’s Lunch will take place in June of next year; to learn more about Lizzie’s Lunch and TSA, check out the organisation’s website, linked above.

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