SNOW in summer, a life-sized Santa Claus on a rocking chair, and a walk-through dome full of twinkling coloured lights are just some of the hundreds of decorations making a Christmas wonderland for Melbourne residents from Sunday, 1 December.
Mother-of-five, Rayleen Valkanis and her family, is giving her house in Glen Waverley a complete Christmas makeover to raise funds for Redkite, a leading national cancer support charity for children and young people that provides enormous support for local Victorian families.
The Valkanis family – including husband Jim, daughters Kimberley, Kayla, Kassy and Karissa, son Jim, and grandmother Eva – have been spreading Christmas joy throughout the community for 14 years with their dazzling Christmas lights display and carol sing-alongs.
“It’s great to see so many people come and experience the show,” Rayleen said. “We love doing it for the community and we love Christmas,” she added.
Redkite is a cancer support charity that delivers essential, practical support for families facing the unimaginable impacts of their child’s cancer. From grocery and fuel vouchers to keep food on the table and fuel in the car, to counselling to support families’ emotional wellbeing during a time of great distress, Redkite has been helping families for more than 35 years face the devastation of a cancer diagnosis.
“It’s just such a fantastic charity. My daughter happened to mention Redkite and she wanted to raise money for a very worthwhile cause,” Rayleen said.
The Valkanis family encourage everyone to immerse themselves in the Christmas wonderland.
“Everyone needs to get out of the car to experience it and get a close look. While you’re exploring, we’d love people to donate to Redkite at the Wishing Well, which will be right next to our letterbox,” Jim said.
Redkite CEO, Monique Keighery said she was touched by the generosity of the Valkanis family.
“Cancer treatment and new diagnoses does not stop at Christmas. In fact, it can be the toughest time of year for families affected by childhood cancer both emotionally and financially. Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for Redkite’s counselling support service and our critical family financial assistance to keep food on the table and the lights on at home,” Ms Keighery said.
“As a charity that receives no government funding, we simply could not be there with our essential support without the generosity of families like the Valkanis’. What a special and beautiful way to give back to sick kids and their families this Christmas. Their Christmas lights and light show are not to be missed!” Ms Keighery added.
“This year we have supported Melbourne families and thousands across Australia who are often facing the enormous challenge of running two households: one in the hospital and one at home. This Christmas, we need to support even more families so we can help keep food on the table and the lights on at home over Christmas and beyond,” Ms Keighery said.
This year, Redkite supported 264 families throughout Melbourne, with 146 families receiving financial assistance, 161 families receiving counselling services, and 42 young people receiving career and education support.
The Valkanis’ Christmas light shows will take place from dusk every night of the week and weekend from 1 December until late December at Windella Crescent, Glen Waverley.
To learn more about Redkite or to donate to Redkite’s Christmas Appeal, please visit: https://sforce.co/2EMSOSN.