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A Helping Hand: Mal Ward And Forever Johnno

By James Hutton on May 14, 2012 in People

Photo: Grant Brooks

Mal Ward founded local charity Forever Johnno when his son Johnno was diagnosed with liver problems back in the year 2000…

Tell us a about Forever Johnno in a paragraph…

Forever Johnno has been set up to help sick kids in hospital.

Which hospitals are you helping?

The Westmead Children’s Hospital, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick and Melbourne Children’s Hospital.

How long have you been going for?

This will be the twelfth year for the annual Johnno raffle in Sydney, the second year for the Melbourne raffle and the fifth year for the Christmas present drive.

What made you decide to start Forever Johnno?

I started when John was first diagnosed with liver problems. Our first raffle was held six months after we found out he was sick.

What have been the most difficult challenges you’ve faced with Forever Johnno?

There haven’t really been any challenges running the charity side of things.

What’s the best thing about Forever Johnno?

The best thing is the appreciation from the kids and the hospital staff – it’s always very humbling.

Have you got any fundraising events coming up?

The Forever Johnno night on May 25th at the Charing Cross Hotel is the next big one. The Christmas Presents for Sick Kids drive is also on every year on the Sunday before Christmas in Sydney and Melbourne.

Do you get any assistance from the government?

We don’t receive any government assistance.

Are you affiliated with any religious organisation?

We are definitely non-religious.

What’s your medium to long-term plan for Forever Johnno?

I’m going to continue the Sydney raffle and auction every year on the last Friday in May, and also the Melbourne one the following Friday. I would love to get the same thing going in other capital cities.

How can Beast readers get involved?

They can come along to the fundraisers, tell their friends about what we’re doing and do their bit to help out. If you’re interested in donating a raffle prize or an auction item please call 0414 293 396 or email