KERRYN Tippett knows exactly how crippling grieving a lost child can be, and she will do everything she can to prevent another parent from going through it.
Ms Tippett has launched the Hunter Hearts campaign, a fundraising initiative designed to raise money for the John Hunter Children’s Hospital in honour of her daughter, Maddie Tippett, who would have been six this year.
News of Maddie’s death in 2014 made headlines around the world as millions of people mourned the loss of the little girl from Newcastle who made them giggle with her cheeky antics in an online video called “Who’s Your Favourite?”
In memory of Maddie, Ms Tippett hopes to sell as many love heart padlocks as possible ahead of Valentine’s Day, when the “lovelocks” will be attached to a giant metal heart in Newcastle’s CBD.
“All the proceeds, every single cent, is going to the John Hunter Children’s Hospital,” Ms Tippett said.
After contracting two strands of the common cold, Maddie tragically died on February 18, 2014.
“The idea of the heart was that Maddie passed from heart complications due to the virus,” Ms Tippett said.
“It tied in really quite beautifully.”
The Hunter Hearts campaign aims to raise at least $30,000 for the John Hunter Children’s Hospital.
“But to be honest, I want to smash that,” Ms Tippett said.
“I want to raise more. If I sold all of the lovelocks at $25, there would be $75,000. It’s a big ask, but I’m going to give it a crack.”
She hopes more people, and businesses, support the campaign with donations big or small.
“I’ll tap dance in their foyer – I will even bake them a cake – if they will donate big money,” she laughed.
Ms Tippett would be eternally grateful for the staff at the children’s hospital, particularly those who were there the night Maddie died.
“I am in awe and honour of what they did, what they do,” Ms Tippett said.
“There were so many people there on the night I want to thank – like the triage nurse. She just kept looking at Maddie with a concerned look, and she pushed her straight through the doors into emergency.”
The idea for the lovelock fundraiser was inspired by people fixing padlocks to bridges all over the world – in Paris in particular – as a symbol of their love.
“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if there was a place people could do that?’
“Unfortunately this won’t be a permanent fixture, but people can do the gesture, get it out of their system – do a nice thing for their partner on Valentine’s Day, and it’s all for a great cause. Don’t skip the roses and chocolates, but do this as well.”
Donate, or buy a lovelock, at hunterhearts.com.au.