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Bunnings BBQ & Fathers Day Raffle

  • Posted on August 19, 2012 at 11:55 am

On 11th August we ran the BBQ at Bunnings, Cannon Hill.  We were advised that we’d probably sell about 700-800 sausages on the day.  Well it must have been Andrew’s “essence of onion” that drew the crowds in as we didn’t stop cooking all day and sold just over 1000 sausages.  We were told that you could smell them all over the car park…..and it’s a big carpark!  We actually had one gentleman come back five times they were that good (yes he ate them all himself).

We also sold tickets in a Fathers Day raffle which was drawn today 18 Aug.

Between the raffle and BBQ we had a very successful outcome and want to thank everyone for their support, many people who bought a sausage (or 5) even left their change behind as a donation.

Thanks to Andrew, Julie, Maree, Glenn, Briana, Quan, Annette, Danielle, Georgia, Jack and Alison for helping out on the BBQ and selling raffle tickets during the day and prior.

Congratulations to the lucky winners of the raffle.

1st Prize – 2 Nights Accommodation at Spicers Tamarind at Maleny. QLD
Winner – Teresa

2nd Prize – $150 Voucher from Tyrepower Morningside and a bottle of Jim Beam
Winner – Jacquie

3rd Prize – 2 Bottles of Wine and a basket of Goodies
Winner – Gavin

NDIS Disgust

  • Posted on August 19, 2012 at 11:09 am

The following story was run in the Catholic Leader Aug 2012 after the QLD Premier Campbell Newman announced QLD would not support an NDIS trial site.

NDIS disgust

Published: 5 August 2012
By: Paul Dobbyn

Speaking out: Maddie Holgate (right) with her friend Georgia Cassar at a Brisbane rally earlier this year calling for Queensland support for the NDIS

BRISBANE archdiocese’s Holgate family has joined with other parents of children with disabilities to voice their outrage at the State Government’s decision to refuse National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) trials in Queensland.

Archdiocesan disability and awareness inclusion officer Deacon Anthony Gooley and Dean of Brisbane’s St John’s Anglican Cathedral Dr Peter Catt are among Church representatives who have also spoken out against the decision.

Richelle and Paul Holgate’s 14-year-old daughter Maddie, who has cerebral palsy, was featured in a story in The Catholic Leader last year.

Maddie attended Our Lady of Lourdes primary school, Sunnybank, for a time and now studies at Corinda State High School.

“We often wonder what all our lives might have been like had a scheme like the NDIS been around when she was born,” Mrs Holgate said.

“An NDIS will give us and others like Mad-die long-term certainty, access to experienced and professional carers, an opportunity for her to contribute to society and not feel like a burden.

“It will give us peace of mind to know that she would be looked after and supported if we suddenly weren’t there.

“People also need to remember disability can come to anyone at any stage in life – you don’t need to be born with a disability to become disabled.”

The family took part in a protest, along with about 2000 other people earlier this year, rallying for Queensland support for the introduction of the NDIS.

Since then the State Government has refused to contribute funding to participate in an NDIS trial proposed by the Federal Government for Gympie.

This was despite recent decisions by state governments in NSW and Victoria to co-fund the trials with the Federal Government.

Their decisions leave Queensland and Western Australia the only states not taking part.

Deacon Gooley said much confusion seemed to exist in the community about what was actually being proposed at this point in plans to implement the NDIS.

“It’s only about having a trial at this point to ensure the scheme can work at its most effective,” he said.
“I’m very disappointed at the way things have gone in Queensland.

“Gympie would have been a good site for the trial as it’s a regional centre and Queensland is the most heavily regionalised of all states.”

Deacon Gooley said the whole issue had been unnecessarily politicised.

“Anyway the trials were not originally the Federal Government’s idea,” he said.

“They were suggested by the Productivity Commission.

“We need to have the trials – they’re a vital stepping stone to ultimate implementation of a scheme.

“We also need to remember 20 per cent of population has a disability so we’re talking quite a significant group in society.”

Dr Catt, as chair of the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane Social Responsibilities Committee, was recently reported as saying “(Queensland Premier Campbell) Newman should find a way to fund an NDIS trial in Queensland”.

He said people should not have to wait until the proposed full implementation of the scheme in 2018.

Dr Catt said it was “a simple matter of justice that people with a disability should have access to support that helps them to live dignified and fulfilling lives” and funding for an NDIS trial in Queensland would bring that goal a step closer.

Mrs Holgate asked whether politicians’ attitudes would change “if they or a member of their family suddenly became permanently disabled”.

“No one seeks out to be disabled – it could happen as easily as falling off their bike on the weekend, being injured in a car accident or having a child or grandchild born with a disability and suddenly your whole life changes,” she said.

“Would the politicians then be happy to endure the unfairness of the current system and be disadvantaged and have to rely on the goodwill of the community to get by?
“Would they then bicker between themselves, penny-pinch and politicise people’s lives?

“We live in one of the most successful economies in the world, so much so (Prime Minister) Julia Gillard feels confident enough to tell other countries they can learn from us.

“So why is a decision like this so hard to make?”
The Every Australian Counts campaign in support of the NDIS recently noted “while the racing industry receives $110 million in State Government funding support, our Government could not find $20 million to invest in people with disability to contribute towards a launch site”.

Deacon Gooley said it was important for all Catholics to become informed about the NDIS issue so they can become advocates for the scheme.

“They can do this through such things as social justice groups in their parishes,” he said.

“People in Queensland need to push for these vital NDIS trials.

“It’s an issue of equity and justice.”

Generous Supporters

  • Posted on August 19, 2012 at 11:01 am

In December 2011 the following story was run in the Catholic Leader.  We thought it would be nice to share with all.

Maddie thankful for generous supporters

Published: 18 December 2011
By: Selina Venier

Generosity abounds: Maddie Holgate (centre) with retired Bishop of Townsville Ray Benjamin (seated) and members and friends of the Nagle House Rosary group in Manly parish, who have supported her fundraising Picture: Selina Venier

CHRISTMAS arrived early for Madison Holgate.

The 13-year-old, who has cerebal palsy and was featured in The Catholic Leader on October 2, said the Nagle House Rosary group and the Knights of the Southern Cross within Manly parish helped grant a Christmas wish after reading of her challenges.

In early December Presentation Sister Teresa Geraghty gave the Holgates more than $3300 raised within the parish to help with Maddie’s mobility.

The funds will specifically be added to other money raised for a $15,000 lift for their two-storey Camp Hill home.

On December 7, retired Bishop of Townsville Ray Benjamin celebrated the Nagle House morning Mass and Maddie, her sister Briana, and parents Paul and Richelle were present.

They were invited to meet some of the parishioners who helped raise the funds.

Bishop Benjamin blessed Maddie at the end of the Mass.

The Holgates were overcome with gratitude during the gathering and Sr Geraghty encouraged them to “ask for help whenever they need it”.

“Many of us have worked in aged care and we know how expensive things can be,” she said to the larger group gathered.

“… You grow out of a wheelchair and a new one costs twice as much.

“I’ve made the Holgates promise that if they need something, they will let us know.”

Maddie brought with her a handmade card, shared to the group by Sr Geraghty.

“We are so grateful for your support and generosity to make our lives easier,” Maddie had written.

Paul and Richelle Holgate were thankful for the support.

“I never thought this (generosity) would have happened,” Richelle said.

“We just want to say a big thank-you,” Paul said.

“This lift will give Maddie more freedom.”

Maddie had an operation on October 15 to help her achieve another “wish” – to walk.

Her recovery has been “steady”, Richelle said, with daily physiotherapy since she’s been strong enough and hydrotherapy sessions about to begin.

The Holgates, who have family interstate, are looking forward to “Christmas with just the four of them”, Richelle said, with Briana charged with decorating their home.

“On December 1, she was up at 9am, already putting up the lights,” Paul said.

“No I wasn’t, it was more like the afternoon,” Briana said.

In any case, Maddie’s set for a memorable Christmas and a bright new year thanks to her loving family and the support of those who were strangers but have now become life-long friends.

Setting the Bar High

  • Posted on August 19, 2012 at 11:00 am

Here is a story from 2011 about Maddie from the Catholic Leader.

Maddie sets the bar high

Published: 2 October 2011
By: Selina Venier


Family strength: Madison Holgate (centre) with her mother Richelle (left), father Paul and sister Briana

WHEN the rubber hits the road, Madison Holgate is unstoppable.

Abseiling? She’s done it.

Ride a flying fox? No problem.

Skiing? Tick that box too.

The list of activities the 13-year-old, who has cerebal palsy, has experienced could go on – horse riding, swimming, cooking, sewing – and the list will go on.

Cerebral palsy is a condition that limits movement and is caused by damage to the developing brain, normally before birth.

While there’s no known cure, parents Richelle and Paul set the bar high of what their daughter could achieve.

“We just wanted the best for her … to be as independent as she can be and do as many things as she wants to,” Paul said from their home in Camp Hill in Brisbane’s inner suburbs.

“She’s got potential and we want to realise it.”

A beaming Richelle caresses her daughter’s hair and adds her sentiments.

“I know there are lots of parents who don’t have the same attitude as us,” she said.

“(But) we’ve never not done something because we had a wheelchair.”

Maddie, as she’s known and loved, was born at 28 weeks gestation.

Her twin didn’t survive, but she kept up the fight for life.

“Maddie just kept growing and growing,” Richelle said of her improving birth weight of 680 grams.

While carrying the twins she suffered “twin-to-twin transfusion”.

It’s a condition that since 2000, can be assisted by an operation to “cut off the blood vessels causing the problems and you end up with two healthy twins”, Richelle said.

The Holgates, who also had two-year-old Briana at the time, brought Maddie home after a four-month hospital stay.

They remember the relentless “screaming”.

“She just cried and cried and cried,” Richelle said.

“I was beside myself.”

At 12 months of age, Maddie was diagnosed and Paul said it was “a relief” because they knew what they “were dealing with”.

So began a lengthy journey of physio, speech and occupational therapy.

Maddie began speaking when she was four.

Four years of horseriding with a school for people with disabilities “opened up her hips and gave her a good stretch”, Richelle said.

On-going gym sessions and riding a three-wheel bicycle has also allowed extraordinary gains in balance and strength.

Maddie attended Our Lady of Lourdes primary school, Sunnybank, for a time and now attends Corinda State High School.

She said her “Mum thinks maths” is her favourite subject, and was quick to share of her sewing and cooking achievements.

“We made a book and a pencil case,” Maddie said.

“I pushed the sewing pedal with my hand.”

“They put the pedal on the desk and the teacher aide guided the material,” Richelle said.

“(And) Maddie made lots of yummy things in her Health and Nutrition elective – but didn’t bring many home.”

“Yes I did,” the 13-year-old piped up.

“I made fried rice.”

It’s soon realised chocolate is a favourite.

Maddie admits she wanted her sister to score a job in a local ice creamery so she could enjoy the benefits.

The girls’ relationship is close-knit.

“Maddie’s always got a smile on her face,” Briana said.

“She’s willing to try anything.”

With so many achievements and experiences to date, one very special “wish” remains.

“I want to try and walk,” Maddie said.

An October 15 operation will hopefully allow that dream to be realised.

“We haven’t ever wanted to rush surgery,” Richelle said.

“We were told we only have a window of 12 to 18 months and decided not to wait any longer.”

Paul said the decision was his daughter’s.

“We didn’t want to make the decision for her,” he said.

“She’s the one who has to do the work afterwards and she has to be committed.”

The operation will offer a “hamstring release and de-rotation of the hips”, Richelle said.

It’s anticipated Maddie will be bed-ridden for six to eight weeks after surgery and won’t return to school this year.

Paul said they were hopeful Maddie would be able to “pull herself out of the chair”, walk with assistance and “step into the car”.

The family too have a wish list – a lift for their two-storey home (at a cost of about $15,000) and new ramps for the car.

“We need a new car too but will get by with what we have, for now,” Richelle said.

They, along with supporters from Briana’s school of Lourdes Hill College, came out to help Maddie’s fundraising at a recent walk.

That event alone raised $7000 and the collective efforts of family and friends are ongoing.

So is certain faith in God.

“We wouldn’t be the same people without her,” Paul said.
“There is a plan.”

“From when Maddie was born I thought, ‘Well, this is what God wanted’,” Richelle said.

“She’s here for a reason and we’re determined to make everything possible for her.

“The fact that she’s happy and determined herself makes things easier for us.

“We always put in Maddie’s mind that just because she can’t walk doesn’t mean she can’t achieve whatever it is she wants to.”

And what’s on Maddie’s wish list after walking?

“Depends on how old I am,” she said.

“I’ll probably try and get a job.”

To track Maddie’s progress or offer support go to

Maddies Mates Trivia Night

  • Posted on August 19, 2012 at 10:37 am

On 2nd June 2012 we held our first ever Trivia Night.  After a lot of planning, brainstorming and ideas from Andrew, Maree and Julie the night turned out to be a great success.  Lourdes Hill College generously offered us the use of the hall and all the equipment including all the tables, chairs, projectors, microphones etc .








The theme for the night was something beginning with M or T (Maddies’s Trivia) and everyone really got into the spirit of the night and there were some fantastic outfits and table decorations.









We were also very lucky to have some great raffle prizes which were also donated as well as a mountain of lucky door prizes which Richelle took great pleasure in handing out.  Some of the raffle prizes included:

The actual result of the trivia competition was very close with 1 ½ points separating 1st to 3rd place and some of the questions really tested the memory recall of just about everyone, especially towards the end of the night after a couple of drinks….:)

A BIG THANKYOU to everyone who came along on the night, we hope you had as much fun as we did.  The night would not have been possible without our MC Extraordinaire Andrew Challenor, Maree and Julie for helping to organise and then keeping things on track on the night, Richelle’s Mum and Dad also for helping on the night, David, Veronica and Ann who helped us with information and material, plus all the people and businesses who so generously donated the prizes.

Judging by the feedback next year is going to be bigger and better, hope to see you there.