Captain Starlight rockets to the outback: boosting healthcare in remote communities
Sick kids in remote Australian communities face extra challenges when accessing healthcare. But Starlight Children’s Foundation is blazing the way to a brighter future.
In partnership with health professionals, The Foundation’s Healthier Futures initiative is all about breaking down the fear and uncertainty that can prevent children from taking part in vital health checks. Currently, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids have some of the highest levels of preventable diseases in the world. However, change is possible.
At the forefront of the Healthier Futures initiative is Captain Starlight — a positive, friendly figure working to encourage participation in healthcare, and provide positive distraction for kids through song, dance, games, and storytelling.
When Captain Starlight visits remote health clinics, kids are more likely to get the health checks they need. In fact, 98% of the health teams Starlight partners with rated the impact of Captain Starlight on children as significant.
Lucy, and her four-year-old daughter Grace have experienced this firsthand.
Grace, who was born with a hole in her heart, has ongoing clinic appointments at home in community and knowing Captain Starlight will be there helps ensure she attends all her health check-ups regularly.
Lucy also recalls how Captain Starlight made visits to the Royal Darwin Hospital less harrowing for the whole family.
The Starlight Express Room was a safe space to have fun with Captain Starlight, and where aunties, uncles and cousins could visit. There was something to keep everybody entertained together while they were far away from home and their community.
"If Starlight wasn't there Grace would cry and not have her needles and checks ups. She wouldn't go to the clinics. Starlight makes her happy and if Grace is happy, I'm happy," Lucy said.
In 2019 Captain Starlight visited 138 remote communities and delivers approximately 22,000 experiences to children every year.
We’re proud to partner with Starlight on the Healthier Futures initiative with a $100,000 funded from Tatts NT unclaimed prize money. The donation will help Captain Starlight continue to visit communities like Lucy and Grace’s to ensure kids have positive healthcare experiences and get the checks they desperately need.