The Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation was launched in 2012 to brighten the lives of children in the ACT region who are living with serious and long term illnesses. We offer support and assistance to these children and their families, regardless of their diagnosis.
Our founder’s daughter Stella’s passed away at only nine months old. She spent half of her short life in hospital and half of it cared for at home in palliative care. Caring for Stella was a mammoth task, requiring 24 hour care, tube feeding, medication, supported breathing and suction machines, extra oxygen and lots of medical appointments. Though her parents wouldn’t have swapped their time with her for anything, They certainly learnt to appreciate how hard it is for many families in similar situations. Most families lose at least one wage when they have a child with a long term, serious illness, and some lose both wages. Living expenses rise with more travel costs, medication and meals in hospital, so a little support goes a long way to support families through these very difficult times.
Since the launch of the foundation, we proudly provide a range of supportive programs to families in
need to help them through some of their toughest times. Our programs include:
Financial Assistance – We assist families who are struggling financially, whilst caring for a seriously ill
child. We provide food and petrol vouchers, pay for chemist accounts, emergency accommodation and
other more tailored assistance as required. Bereavement Support – Financial grants and memorial
jewellery are provided for families on the sad occasion of the loss of a child. We also actively support families
who are caring for their child in palliative care, in any way we can, to help them spend as much time as
they can with their precious child.
The Stella Bella Children’s Centre – Our innovative respite and care centre for seriously ill babies and
children, is the first of it’s kind. Our centre provides parents with desperately needed respite and offers
their children the opportunity to play and learn in a safe and beautiful environment with specialised staff.
Family support – We offer a range of supports for families to help them in their journey caring for their
seriously ill child. We provide hundreds of meals each year to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the
Canberra Hospital for parents who are far from home and struggling to care for themselves whilst caring
for their sick little baby. We offer free yoga classes for mums to increase their wellbeing. We also host
free seasonal events and an annual family camp to offer families the chance to share experiences and
friendship and to make happy memories together in a safe and understanding environment.
Children in our Little Star Beads Program receive beads for specific medical procedures and milestones in their treatment, and use them to create a string of beads to tell the story of their own personal journey. These bead strings become a very special memento for the children and their families, and are a symbol of pride and courage for all of the challenges that they have overcome. Read more about our Little Star Beads Program.
We have been very lucky to have been supported over the years by many local Canberra businesses and families and each year they have helped us to grow along with the needs of the families in our programs.