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Forever Johnno: Keeping John’s Memory Alive While Helping Sick Kids

By Tara Hayes on May 1, 2018 in News

The real VIPs, by Stephen Holt.

The annual Forever Johnno fundraiser, kicking off at 7.00pm on May 25, will bring our whole community together for the 18th year in a row to remember a beautiful boy and raise much-needed funds for sick kids in hospital.
Local legend Mal Ward started the monster raffle and auction six months after his son John was diagnosed with liver disease, a battle he sadly lost in 2008 at the age of nine.
“Anyone who knew John just loved him, he was so wonderful,” Mr Ward told The Beast.
“He loved the Roosters, which he got from me, going to footy games and swimming at Coogee Beach.”
In memory of his son, Mr Ward has continued to support our local children’s hospitals through his annual Forever Johnno fundraiser held in the Sports Bar at the Coogee Bay Hotel, as well as the yearly Christmas present drive.
Buying a raffle ticket, bidding at the auction or making a donation will go a long way to helping Mr Ward reach his goal of $10,000.
You may even find yourself heading home at the end of the night with one of the great prizes or auction items up for grabs, including vouchers from Coogee’s popular brunch and coffee spot Courtyard, Madame Tussauds passes, a beauty package or even your favourite football team’s signed jersey.
Nick Andrews & Friends will be returning to perform live once again this year and are sure to keep you on your feet and dancing. With a room full of familiar faces, tasty finger food, beverages and a great community atmosphere, Mr Ward sure knows how to put on an enjoyable evening.
“Everyone is welcome to come, so spread the word and bring your mates,” Mr Ward said.
“It’s a great night that raises money for a very important cause.”
All funds collected will go directly to the Clancy Ward in the Children’s Hospital at Westmead where John received most of his care.
This unit specialises in liver and kidney transplants and cares for patients under the age of 18 prior to and after their procedures.
“We are very grateful for the money raised through fundraisers like Mal’s and his family’s,” Clancy Ward’s Acting Unit Manager Dorothea Hamilton told The Beast.
“It allows us to buy equipment and aids including prams, wheelchairs and specialised occupational therapy chairs. We also use the funds for supporting transplant nursing education and paediatric monitoring machines.”
The nurses from the Clancy Ward, including Ms Hamilton, make a big effort to attend the fundraiser each year.
Mr Ward said that, despite some very well-known guests in attendance, the nurses are the “real VIPs” and they are admired for their dedication and work.
The community’s continued support over the years of fundraising is greatly appreciated and Mr Ward insists that he will keep the Forever Johnno charity alive as long as there are kids in need.
“Kids keep getting sick and the hospital relies on a lot of funding from the community,” Mr Ward told The Beast.
“I’m always going to keep doing it in John’s name and memory.”
So please come down to the Coogee Bay Hotel from 7.00pm on May 25 with your friends and family to help support this great cause. If you can’t make it on the night you can still make a donation to the Clancy Ward through the Forever Johnno Facebook page. Any prizes or auction donations from businesses or individuals are also greatly appreciated.
The Forever Johnno Monster Raffle and Auction will take place in the Sports Bar at the Coogee Bay Hotel on Friday, May 25 from 7.00pm. For more information, or if you’d like to make a donation, email