Amelia Callow is the face of the Big W 'Big Hearts' campaign to help fund the Children's Hospital Foundation.
Amelia Callow is the face of the Big W 'Big Hearts' campaign to help fund the Children's Hospital Foundation. John McCutcheon

Amelia’s big heart captures campaign

AMELIA Callow is preparing to take the world by storm.

The 13-year-old was projected onto television screens at the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane after she interviewed the cast of The Sound of Music musical for Juiced TV and now her face is on the walls of Big W stores across Queensland.

Amelia was selected to feature on the wall tokens of the department store’s Big Hearts fundraising campaign, which gives shoppers the chance to buy $2 tokens with all money going to the Children’s Hospital Foundation to continue vital life-saving research into respiratory diseases such as cystic fibrosis.

Amelia was diagnosed cystic fibrosis when she was just six weeks old and she also has Morquio syndrome, a metabolic disorder that affects her bones and her growth.

At 13 years old, Amelia is only 99cm tall and mum Danielle said they travelled from their Tanawha home to the Lady Cilento one day a week so she could receive a synthetic version of the enzyme that she was missing to help keep her as healthy as possible.

“At least once a year, Amelia also has to go in for a two-week intensive treatment for her cystic fibrosis, where she has intensive medications and physio, so we’re frequent fliers at the Lady Cilento,” Ms Callow said.

“Amelia came to (the campaign organiser’s) attention after being on Juiced TV, which also has a You Tube channel, and of course we are regulars at the hospital, so she was asked if she would do the campaign and she agreed.

“They came to the hospital during one of her treatments to get some photos of her.

“She is taking it all in her stride. This is her first step towards world domination.”

Amelia Callow has become the face of Big W's Big Hearts campaign.
Amelia Callow has become the face of Big W's Big Hearts campaign. Contributed

Far from being a shrinking violet, the Matthew Flinders Anglican College student is passionate about singing and dancing and has thrived in musical theatre through the Little Seed Theatre Company.

Ms Callow said this had been a welcome distraction for Amelia.

“We hope that people might give a couple of dollars to the campaign when they go shopping and although it might seem like something small at the register, they don't realise what a massive difference it can make for kids whose lives are pretty much built around hospitals and treatment,” she said.

“All the medical stuff is very intrusive and it forms so much of their existence, so something like this is great makes them feel special.”

Just 20 years ago, it was rare for a child with cystic fibrosis to survive beyond their teens, but research has more than doubled the survival rate with an average life expectancy of 37 years.

From now until July 16, every $2 wall token sold at Big W will help the Children’s Hospital Foundation fund vital research for kids just like Amelia.



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