If you’ve ever wanted an excuse to wear your ‘trackies’ to University, this one’s pretty good.
On Wednesday the 21st of May, La Trobe University will play host to ‘Tracky Dack Day’, an event inviting students and staff alike to don their tracksuit, tights or compression pants (for those fitness fanatics out there) for the day and help raise funds for an excellent cause.
Australian charity, TLC for kids, is the country’s fastest emergency response team for distressed kids in hospital and their families.
TLC’s team cater to requests from nurses or medical professionals who feel a sick child may need a pic-me-up within 48 hours of the request time. Their services include, but are not limited to, surprise gifts, day trips away from the hospital environment and visits from admired celebrities.
The organisation aims to cater for children who suffer from illnesses that do not specifically fit the criteria of other charities, including accident and burns victims, as well as those affected by less common illnesses.
Akin Ozyigit, Bachelor of Strategic Communication student at La Trobe University, is the organiser of the event taking place at La Trobe on Wednesday. Gold coins donated on the day, Akin tells upstart, will mainly go towards the funding of ‘distraction boxes’.
“[Distraction boxes] are set up in around 400 hospitals nation-wide, and they have a range of toys, and distractions for children that the nurses can give to kids so when they’re going through a frightening procedure, that will actually help distract them and keep them calm,” he says.
“Money that is raised goes towards providing for instance certain things for the distraction boxes, whether it be a lap top, or a toy.”
Funds raised through the event, which on a national level takes place through out the whole month of May in schools and businesses, will also go towards assisting the families of sick children.
“[TLC] also provide accommodation and transport for families,” Ozyigit explains.
“The money that is raised will also go towards … courtesy packs, so for instance things to freshen up, like fresh towels, that parents can use while they’re waiting for their children in hospital.”
You may ask the question; why ‘tracky pants’?
According to TLC, for sick children, trackies represent normality and wellness. Nurses encourage children on a daily basis to get out of their pyjamas and into their trackies, instilling a sense or routine into their often chaotic days.
“The main reason why they’re focusing on ‘tracky dacks’ is for people to get into their trackies or really comfortable pants and support the children who are doing the same thing, and getting out of bed and playing and just having a sense of normality,” Ozyigit says.
“[The process helps] to boost their self-esteem and actually start recovery and have a good mind frame.”
On Wednesday at La Trobe, students and staff are invited to make a small donation during their lunch break or before class to one of the many tins that will be placed in cafes and stores around the Agora, as well as in the WLP building.
“Our main aim for the day is to just raise awareness. We want people to actually know what they do, because it’s a great charity,” says Ozyigit.
“The day’s about helping children, and deep down, who doesn’t love kids?”
Jacinta Newbold is a third year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe university and is the current deputy editor of upstart. Follow her Twitter: @jacinta_newbold.