Evie and her Dad, 2nd Lt. Ashley Blain
This year marks the inaugural Good Friday Appeal for Lara Fire Brigade, all because of a special connection to a young girl named Evie.
Evie’s dad, Ashley Blain, has been volunteering with CFA since early 2007 and currently holds the rank of second lieutenant with Lara Fire Brigade.
Ashley said that in March last year, then six-year-old Evie was rushed to Geelong hospital with breathing difficulties.
“After a few days in and out of hospital, she was transferred to the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) with complications relating to a complex case of pneumonia,” he said.
The next day Evie underwent surgery to drain the fluid around her lungs and wound up spending six days in intensive care at RCH, followed by a few days on the ward, before being transferred back to Geelong Hospital.
“We were expecting our brave little girl to go in for a complex but routine surgery, only to get the call saying she'd been intubated and taken to the intensive care unit (ICU),” Ashley said.
“This was possibly one of the worst situations imaginable for us as parents.
“My wife Sarah was home in Geelong with our youngest daughter Georgia, so I was alone at the hospital and so scared for what was happening.”
The nurses, doctors, support staff and volunteers were fantastic and made the journey so much easier for Evie and Ashley.
“From the nurse that calmed me down when Evie was taken to the ICU, to the doctors that explained complex medical terms in plain language, right through to the support teams that entertained Evie to give us a break from her bedside.
Ashley said everyone was simply amazing and that he and his wife Sarah cannot thank them enough for what they did for their family.
“Evie’s stay was a short one compared to a lot of other children, but the care provided for such a sick little girl, and her scared Dad, was brilliant.
“After this experience, our family knows first-hand how important the Royal Children’s Hospital is, and we want to give back in any way we can.
“Being a member of the fire brigade, I know the strong connection and history CFA has with the Good Friday Appeal, so I spoke with the brigade Captain to see what we could do.”
As a result, Lara Fire Brigade is getting behind Evie and many other children like her by collecting for the Good Friday Appeal for the first time this year.
Their first Good Friday Appeal fundraising event will be a barbecue at Lara Quality Meats this Saturday 18 March, from 9am until 12pm.
The brigade will also be collecting via their online fundraiser at https://fundraise.goodfridayappeal.com.au/fundraisers/larafirebrigade.
- Evie and her beloved 'Slothy', who was by her side at RCH
- Evie (left) with Dad Ashley and little sister Georgia