Fundraising night exceeds organisers’ expectations

TWO-hundred and thirty people attended, 20 volunteers assisted and a massive $19,000 was raised in honour of Lachlan Howard at the “Team Lochie” charity auction.

GREAT SURPRISE: Back from left, Max Vaughan, Peter Howard, Connor Howard, Barry Smith, Nathan Bird, Chloe Vaughan, Luke Vaughan, Jo Howard; middle row, from left, Ray McCoy, Luke Howard, Sue Smith, Porter Bird, Kerry Howard, Preston Howard, Laura Garland, Errol Joy and, front from left, Jo Leacy-Joy, Carley Vaughan, Sam Dunne and Louise Bird.

GREAT SURPRISE: Back from left, Max Vaughan, Peter Howard, Connor Howard, Barry Smith, Nathan Bird, Chloe Vaughan, Luke Vaughan, Jo Howard; middle row, from left, Ray McCoy, Luke Howard, Sue Smith, Porter Bird, Kerry Howard, Preston Howard, Laura Garland, Errol Joy and, front from left, Jo Leacy-Joy, Carley Vaughan, Sam Dunne and Louise Bird.

Held to raise money for the Grace Centre at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, the sum exceeded the expectations of organisers, Luke and Kerry Howard.

The couple put the night together to give something back to the neonatal Intensive unit where their son Lochie Howard spent most of his short life.

After a normal pregnancy and a natural birth, Kerry gave birth to Lochie on November 22 at the John Hunter Hospital but immediately it became apparent his lungs were underdeveloped.

He was then transferred to the Grace Ward Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where the doctors and nurses worked tirelessly to give him every chance of survival.

Unfortunately, his lungs were too damaged to support his growing body and despite fighting hard he passed away peacefully on February 22 with his parents by his side.

Luke said he was shocked to learn how much money had been raised at the end of the auction.

“As this is our first year of fundraising, our goal for the entire year was $10,000 so to make $19,000 in one night was a big shock,” he said.

“The community really embraced the night with the cricket bat signed by the Australian national team going for $1000. 

“Everyone is still buzzing; it was wonderful to get all our family together and do something big to celebrate and remember Lochie.”

The 20 volunteers who helped Luke and Kerry pull of the meticulously planned event were all family and close friends, he says.

At present, as a result of only five months of fundraising the inspirational couple have raised about $26,000 and their ultimate goal is to raise enough money for the hospital to purchase a ventilator in Lachlan’s name.

Luke says he would like to thank everyone for “digging deep into their pockets” and the many local businesses who supported the event.

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