What We Do

Little Heroes Foundation and Breakthrough are joining forces to launch a youth mental health initiative: ‘Little Breakthrough Heroes’. It’s a charity-first to collaborate in this way. The two organisations saw the value in working together to address mental health issues that affect not only children, but their families, friends, teachers and the wider community. It’s important that we provide early intervention and prevention strategies that equip children with the tools to ensure their wellbeing and resilience as they get older.

Little Heroes Chairman Chris McDermott said the collaboration between the two charities had been a highlight of his 25-year charity career. “Children have always been our focus and we’ve been supported by some great people over the years and raised an incredible amount of money,” he said “But mental health, and youth mental health, is going to be the biggest health challenge of our lifetime. “That’s why it’s so important to work with like-minded organisations to achieve these big targets.” Breakthrough Executive Director John Mannion said the statistics for youth mental health were alarming. “One in seven children between the ages of 4-17 have experienced a mental health issue in Australia. That’s not good enough. We need to do more to help our children,” Mr Mannion said. “That’s why it’s so important for like-minded organisations – like Breakthrough and Little Heroes – to come together and work towards a common goal. We can’t do it alone.”

For more information, please visit Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation

Our Current Projects

The first project that Little Heroes and Breakthrough have joined forces to support is Big Talks for Little People.

Together with support from Flinders University’s Professor Phillip Slee and Dr. Grace Skrzypiec, we have developed the Big Talks for Little People campaign – an online mental health module for primary school age students (7-12 years) within South Australia and the Northern Territory. Its focus is on prevention through early and meaningful education.

The program content is designed to be delivered by teachers, or on a student self-help basis, with the help of a wonderful animated visual to support the children’s learning.

To further support the program, each school will have a friendship bench installed on site so children can talk to each other about the content they’ve learnt in the class, in real time in the school playground.

For more information on how you can contribute to this project, please contact chris@littleheroesfoundation.com.au

Our Past Projects and Programs

Our projects and programs are researched and implemented as part of our ongoing vision, to ensure seriously ill children have access to the very best care. Each new venture continues to be inspired by our ‘Little Heroes’.

Over the years, we have contributed over $20 million towards new equipment and facilities at Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH), which has funded major pieces of equipment and refurbishments, including:

1997 – Ronald McDonald Clinic

When we were first founded, our priority was to help children and families feel as comfortable and supported as possible during their treatment, which often means significant time spent at the WCH.

Our first major project, to support children surviving cancer, was the McGuinness McDermott Foundation Children’s Clinic. Launching on June 3 1997, this clinic was a $250,000 refurbishment of the old Ronald McDonald clinic, and delivered specialised cancer treatments for families.

2003 and 2011 – Two MRI Machines

Having an MRI scan can be very daunting for a child. As our first project of more than $1 million, we decided to have a bit of fun and model our MRI Machine in 2003 after a big yellow submarine, as a way of easing the stress involved in this particular procedure for children. This project was the first of two MRI machines we have funded in our time, with the second machine including an ambient lighting package in September 2011. All together, the Foundation has provided over $3.1 million for these two projects.

2005 – Endoscopic Theatre Suite

Little Heroes Foundation provided over $1.2 million in funding for a specialised operating theatre to be developed for children’s Endoscopic surgery – otherwise known as “keyhole surgery”. For children undergoing treatments, this type of surgery has significant advantages including quicker recovery times (due to smaller incisions), lower risk of infections, and results in little to no scarring. The Endoscopic Theatre Suite also enhanced the way in which the WCH were able to diagnose, remove and monitor a child’s condition for any new tumour growth or re-occurences.

2006 – Playdeck and adjoining ‘NicNath’ Cafe

The Foundation, having funded significant pieces of equipment and refurbishments, decided to look to other areas to help support children and families during treatments. At the time, the WCH was in need of a new play area for children and families to visit during their stay in hospital. Our Playdeck and adjoining cafe have become a favourite area for children to visit within the hospital when they are able to, and ensures these Little Heroes do not miss out on important play time. The cafe was also named after Nicholas and Nathan, the two young boys who inspired the inception of the foundation.

2011 – Little Heroes Care Program

In 2011, we launched ChildFamilyCare, an initiative delivered in conjunction with various like-minded charities, to support the unmet needs of children and their families in their life after diagnosis of cancer and/or a serious illness. Following the success of this program, it was refined and rebranded as Little Heroes Care in 2012. A detailed list of the services this program provides can be found here.

To this day, Little Heroes Care continues to support seriously ill children and their families based in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

2012 – Michael Rice Centre for Haematology and Oncology

In 2012, Little Heroes Foundation pledged $2 million towards the new Michael Rice Centre for Haematology and Oncology at the WCH. This state-of-the-art clinical treatment facility delivers comprehensive cancer and blood disorder services for infants, children and young people up to 18 years of age. The Centre is named after Dr Michael Rice, a prominent Paediatrician who has been associated with the WCH for over 50 years.

2016 – Centre for Robotics and Innovation

The Centre for Robotics and Innovation is a rehabilitation gymnasium at WCH, featuring state-of-the-art robotic equipment designed to rehabilitate muscles and muscle memory. The Centre is supports children and adolescents, whose motor skills have been affected by their illness and treatment regimes, to get back on their feet. This project is the brainchild of Associate Professor Dr Ray Russo, and is the first of its kind in Australia.