Absolute ball had to raise awareness of Oesophageal Atresia

Champion footballer Chris Judd signs a portrait of himself, painted by Joe Zapp, to raise funds for newborns who are born with OA (Image Credit: OARA Australia).

A STAR-STUDDED gala ball in Elsternwick has helped raise awareness of Oesophageal Atresia (OA), a rare congenital medical condition that causes the oesophagus to detach from the stomach in newborns.

Up to 160 guests attended the evening on Saturday, June 3 which featured star footballer Chris Judd, humanitarian Moira Kelly, MasterChef star Dani Venn, artist Joe Zapp and footballer-turned-singer Russell Robertson along with entertainer Phil Ceberano.

Oesophageal Atresia (OA) is a malformation of the ‘food pipe’ which is not connected to the stomach and often requires life-saving surgery to correct the problem.

Patients can then go on to have serious ongoing issues with the narrowing of the oesophagus and reflux. The condition affects one in 3,500 children each year.

OA can also be associated with tracheo-oesophageal fistula (TOF), which is an abnormal connection between the oesophagus and the trachea (windpipe) and can cause ongoing breathing difficulties.

OARA Australia Director Matthew Quinn had an absolute ball. “All the guests had a great night. Most people, without a doubt, thought that Moira Kelly was really inspirational in the way she presented and her philosophy on life,” Matthew said.

“We also had Nicole Cloak, who has a newborn with OA, and she was equally inspirational when she shared her story and challenges her family and little boy, Lenny, have to face every day,” Matthew said.

The night also included an intimate Q&A session with Chris Judd. “It was a light-hearted take on not only Chris Judd’s amazing playing career but also his lifestyle outside of footy.

“Russell was very witty and entertaining,” Matt added. Judd also signed a portrait of himself that was painted by well-renowned speed artist Joe Zapp and was gratefully donated at the end of the night.

OARA currently funds two nurses at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne to care for patients with the condition.

“Whilst the night was hugely successful, in terms of raising awareness of OA, it has also enabled OARA Australia to pursue its ambition of rolling out an extensive nurse program throughout other children’s hospitals around Australia,” Matt added.

If people were unable to attend the gala ball, but would still like to make a tax deductable donation, you can still do so by visiting this link: oara.org.au/donate or via online banking using these details:

Account Name: OARA Ltd. BSB: 063-733 Account Number: 10405339.

To find out more about OARA Australia and their future events please visit oara.org.au or follow them via their Facebook Page and Twitter.

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Ryan Fritz

Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities with another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years of experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities.

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