Dick Gillard Volunteer of the year - Michael Phillips "The Fairy King"
National Volunteer Week (NVW) is a chance for us to celebrate the achievements of our amazing vollies who dedicate thousands of hours each year to help us create a better life for every child living with cancer.
The Gillard Volunteer of the year Award, named after one of Camp Quality’s longest standing board members, is given out annually to one person per Camp Quality local office who has gone the extra mile for children living with cancer. The charity has over 2,500 volunteers nationwide, so competition is tough. Together those volunteers donated approximately 300,000 hours to Camp Quality in the past year. Our charity has just over one hundred staff so volunteers help it to save considerably on costs, as they outnumber staff members by 23:1. This means every donated dollar goes right back to where it’s needed the most: to the kids.
Michael is a ‘companion’ at our camps – he goes along to provide resilience-building support to kids with cancer. One girl, Chloe, used fairies as a way to distract her from the horrors of her long battle & treatment. She created a fantasy fairyland and after one dream on camp, she pointed at Michael and said: “You’re the Fairy King!”
Six-foot Michael secretly decorated Chloe’s room with fairy dust & sparkles and left a note and present from the Fairy King for when she woke up, and he wore fairy wings for the rest of camp. That was over a decade ago and to this day, everyone around Newcastle knows Michael as ‘Fairy King’ or just ‘King.’ Chloe (now 13) next month celebrates 10 years cancer-free.
In 2010, Michael set up a sponsored bike ride, the Ride4Kids, which travelled 400km with 19 riders, raising $60k. Today, it is the 1,000 Ks for Kids, and has risen over $1m since it started – all thanks to Michael. It’s about to set up in SA, too – again, thanks to Michael. Not only does he set up, he also cycles it and leads it, with motivational talks each morning.
Along with Michael we had 10 other nominees across Australia:
- Julian Llewelyn - Sydney, NSW
- Jennie Marsh - Illawarra, South NSW
- Bonnie Boyce - Northern QLD
- Sonia Jordan - South QLD
- Greg Campbell - SA & NT
- Bruce Jackson - VIC
- David Howe - ACT
- Jack Beardsley - TAS
- Tim Collins - Northern NSW
- Cyril Poots - WA
All of which make a large contribution to our organisation and we could not offer the support to all of our families without volunteers like them.
Camp Quality relies heavily on volunteers and currently receives no ongoing government funding. To support Camp Quality to help create a better life for every child living with please register now to become a volunteer