03 Dec 2021

Lachlan's Great Big Heart

Last year Cobram AGS student, Lachlan Ross (Lachie) set out on a mission to hold a fundraiser to help two organisations that he cares about greatly - HeartKids Victoria and ANZ Fontan Registry.

Lachie, who is a heart teen himself, is 17 and is completing his VCE at Cobram Anglican Grammar School. Since his birth Lachie has conquered countless health issues that have seen him spending far too much time in the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Despite the many challenges with his health, Lachie suffered a stroke just weeks ago when out working on his family’s dairy farm, he has remained involved with his local community, assisting with charity work, all whilst he has been back and forth from RCH. The countless surgeries and ongoing setbacks with his health have not prevented Lachie from his unwavering commitment to help others. There is no denying Lachie has the biggest heart of all.

Last year, in association with the Katamatite Lions Club Lachie took it upon himself to organise a toy drive prior to Christmas. As a consequence of Lachie’s efforts, the drive received an abundance of new toys that Lachie donated to HeartKids to provide the children and their families impacted by CHD with something wonderful for Christmas. Lachie also organised a gold-coin, casual clothes day at Cobram AGS and raised an incredible $1,183.40!

Due to the 2020 COVID restrictions, Lachie and his family had been unable to present the success of their Christmas toy drive and his school fundraising efforts to HeartKids and The Fontan Registry at the end of last year. However, more recently, Lachie was able to do so and his Clinical Care Team at The Royal Children’s Hospital and The Fontan Registry staff were thrilled to accept his donation to The Fontan Registry and HeartKids.

This magnificent display of citizenship has continued for the Cobram Anglican Grammar School student into 2021. Lachie has maintained and even increased his commitment to raise money for toys for Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital and this upcoming Christmas many children at the RCH will again be the recipients of some wonderful gifts. Remember that Lachie has achieved all of this after suffering a stroke just a few weeks ago.

Lachie has spent his entire life in and out of hospital and has faced his fair share of challenges over his 17 and a half years of life. But instead of complaining, Lachie just wants to help others as much as he can. 

Having spent Christmas confined to a hospital bed at the end of 2020, Lachie knows how hard it can be and it was this experience that influenced him to run a fundraiser to purchase toys for the children and show his appreciation to the hospital.

As part of his goal to raise funds and gather toys for the RCH Lachie approached his school to ask for their support.

“I knew if I reached out to the school they would help me and it's sort of that school where you know if your heart is in the right spot they will help,” he said.

“I reached out to the principal Keith Willett and he and the school embraced the idea with open arms” said Lachie.

Lachie and his mum Simone Ross plan to purchase more toys including board games and cards from local stores in Cobram and will once again deliver them to the Royal Children's Hospital in time for Christmas this year.

Mrs Ross said it was their turn to give back to the people at the hospital who had helped them.

“You know they are bored and there's nothing to do, but leaving your child in ICU is really horrible because you don't know what's going to happen,” she said.

Cobram Anglican Grammar School principal Keith Willett said the school became involved to raise money, but to also raise awareness for the hospital.

“Lachlan is a very genuine, compassionate and insightful young man,” Mr Willet said.

“He approached me about creating an opportunity to raise funds for the hospital and we identified our last day of school as a casual clothes day.

“We've had fantastic contributions, for example, one of our Year 7 classes, instead of having their own Kris Kringle where they give gifts to each other, they actually raised $150 for Lachlan and his cause.

“It's just great seeing young people being prepared to forego something for themselves and donate to a good cause.”

“The fact that we raised that amount of money in a difficult year is a real credit to Lachlan but also demonstrates the awareness of our school community around being generous and supportive of others less fortunate than themselves,” Mr Willett said.

This is the second year the Ross family is hosting this fundraiser and they plan to run this annually, with Lachie the main driving force. Locally, across the region so many people are in awe of Lachie’s drive, commitment and compassion for others. He truly does have a big heart.