ONE HUGE, lucky Irish-themed pub party and growing popularity of 4EK trucker caps will help bring to life the next chapter in Emma-Kate McGrath's legacy: support for families left with a permanent disability after contracting meningococcal disease.
A Keg for a Cause party that packed Shamrock Hotel in Dunnstown this month raised more than $14,300, completely blowing away event organiser Mariah McMurphy. What started as one-keg event, turned into two kegs with an auction raising more than $9000 plus 4EK merchandise, and an iPod shuffle competition.
This builds on the 4EK movement's 600 trucker cap sales to work with Meningococcal Australia in helping families most in need in financially assisting families with prosthetic limbs or medical needs.
The 4EK foundation started to look to find ways to directly help people more late last year after a strong vaccination awareness campaign. Family and friends said Emma-Kate was always helping people and this seemed the natural next step.
The bubbly 19-year-old died in early May, 2017, less than 24 hours after contracting meningococcal septicaemia strain W. Emma-Kate was in her first year of nursing-paramedicine studies at Australian Catholic University and had spent time volunteering in Cambodia.
Ms McMurphy is a close friend of Emma-Kate's elder brother Jack and their friendship group felt compelled to do more to honour Emma-Kate's memory. Ms McMurphy said they knew little about the disease before Emma-Kate contracted it, so were keen to raise money and awareness.
"We never expected to make this much money," Ms McMurphy said. "We had thought a few thousand would be amazing. We were blown away when it was totalled up."
Early 4EK fundraising in Ballarat distributed $9000 among Meningococcal Australia, Meningitis Australia and The Violet Foundation to promote the ACWY and B-strain vaccines. Now, 4EK founder Lucy Loader said it was important to focus on what was important to Emma-Kate - helping people in need.
Since Emma-Kate’s death, a vaccine against A, C, W and Y strains of the disease has been added to the National Immunisation Program for infants.
In Victoria, all year 10 students or those not at school aged 15 and 16 can receive the meningococcal ACWY vaccine free until December 31.
Young people aged 14 to 19 will be able to access the ACWY vaccine free in a catch-up program from April.
People are urged to check vaccines with their doctor.
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