SHARE IN THE BEAR, AND SHOW AUSTRALIA CARES
If you have two dollars, or five, ten, twenty, fifty, a hundred, a thousand or three hundred and fifty-four thousand dollars spare, donate to help the 250,000 Aussies with epilepsy, like my daughter Lila. Together we can raise a million dollars.
(ALREADY ALMOST $70,000 RAISED. LET'S KEEP GOING!)
OVER 250,000 AUSTRALIANS HAVE EPILEPSY. DONATE TODAY TO HELP THE UNLUCKY 1%.
250,000 AUSTRALIANS HAVE EPILEPSY, INCLUDING MY DAUGHTER LILA.
Two years ago I had the worst meal of my life. It was a night when my beautiful six-year-old daughter Lila had a series of tonic-clonic seizures. No warning. No explanation.
Over the next few months she had more and more of these seizures. And then she started having forty or fifty absence seizures every day. It was very scary.
But Lila embraced her diagnosis of epilepsy. And through the support of Epilepsy Action Australia she really owned it, and was so excited to hold a Purple Day (Epilepsy's annual awareness and fundraising day) at her school in March 2020.
But then, COVID hit. And all of Purple Day was cancelled as all public gatherings were outlawed. Lila was devastated she couldn't hold her Purple Day.
While COVID scared the nation, more than 250,000 Australians like Lila still had to live with their epilepsy. And Epilepsy Action Australia services were threatened by a mammoth funding shortfall.
So, I decided to do something.
I remembered Epilepsy Action Australia had sent Lila a Ted-E Bear (the E stands for Epilepsy). She calls hers "Baby Bear". And I thought COVID had made people nervous about the economy and short of money. But there was one group of people who have stacks of money, and in fact increased their wealth in the global pandemic... BILLIONAIRES!
And so, MAXIMILLION, THE MILLION DOLLAR TEDDY BEAR was born.
WE MADE A VIDEO AIMED AT BILLIONAIRE PHILANTHROPISTS...
LILA AND I HAD HOPED THE LUCKY 1% WOULD HELP THE UNLUCKY 1%.
A million bucks would take the richest person in Australia, less than four hours to earn. That’s how long I thought Lila was dead for after the worst meal of my life.
Whereas for the average Aussie, earning $48,360 a year, making a million dollars would take twenty years and seven months.
I guess I figured that because every Aussie on the Australian Financial Review Rich list has a net wealth of more than a billion dollars in 2020, maybe the lucky 1% would step up and help the unlucky 1% in these extraordinary times.
Sadly, we haven’t been able to find an amazing billionaire with a heart of gold to help out Lila and the quarter of a million Aussies with epilepsy. Yet.
So now, Lila and I, are turning our attention to the 99%. We’re turning to you.
It’s time for every Aussie out there to SHARE IN THE BEAR.
CHANNEL TEN'S THE PROJECT RE-MADE THE TED-E TALK IN THE LEAD UP TO PURPLE DAY. AMAZING!
WHAT WILL A MILLION DOLLARS DO?
With this million dollars, Epilepsy Action Australia will be able to provide:
- Support for people with epilepsy of all ages, from very young children to their families
- Seven days a week phone support, with a trained nurse at the end of the line
- Epilepsy education for the broader community
- Campaigning for new treatments
- and raising awareness of epilepsy and its impacts.
THE BEAR ESSENTIALS
The Million Dollar Teddy Bear has been outfitted by 2019 Melbourne Fashion Festival National Designer of the Year Christian Kimber (whose brother has epilepsy), with bespoke designed garments, expertly stitched by hand.
Christian Kimber is a leading Australian luxury menswear brand, redefining the concept of modern Australian mens style. They operate a thriving online, international wholesale, and growing retail business with retail stores in Fitzroy and Armadale in Melbourne.
Designer: Christian Kimber
Producer: Renuka Kimber
Pattern-maker: Linda Rogers
Seamstress/dressmaker: Lucy Nguyen
Overcoat fabric: Loro Piana
The designs are scaled down versions of real Christian Kimber signature garments.
The patterns and production were all done by hand, by industry specialists in Melbourne, Australia.
The fabrics are all garment-dyed Italian textiles produced and sourced from Italy.
The wool for the jacket is from one of the most luxurious wool producers in the world, Loro Piana.
You can also purchase a beautiful cotton Christian Kimber x Million Dollar Teddy Bear bandana for just $20 to show your support for the quarter of a million Aussies with epilepsy, and their families.
THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE MILLION DOLLAR TEDDY BEAR
Two years ago, Lila Wadelton was diagnosed with epilepsy after experiencing a series of full tonic-clonic seizures along with up to fifty absence seizures a day. She was just six-years-old at the time so we know first-hand the amazing support Epilepsy Action Australia offers, and why their services need to continue.
Her Cuddly Ted-E-Bear is a cherished possession. She hopes that someone will buy the Million Dollar Teddy Bear so all the other people in Australia who have epilepsy like her can experience the kindness she felt from the wonderful people at Epilepsy Action Australia.
OPEN LETTER TO WEALTHY PHILANTHROPISTS
There is still time for the lucky 1% to help the unlucky 1% with a tax deductible donation.
The top 100 on the Australian Financial Review all have at least $1,000,000,000 in wealth.
If you didn't see my first attempt to gain a million dollar donation for Epilepsy Action Australia, don't worry. You can still pitch in!
MAXIMILLION AND FRIENDS
Max has met some many amazing people along the journey, keen to share his and Lila's story. Here he is with Lachy the Purple Wiggle, journalist Melissa Doyle AM, comedian Tommy Little, actor Nadine Garner, former Socceroo captain Paul Wade OAM, author Peter FitzSimons AM, and journalist Jessica Rowe AM to name a few.
They talked about him on radio, shared posts on social media, and wrote articles about him trying to get the attention of an amazing philanthropist or corporation. Now, it's over to you to spread the word!
WHAT IS EPILEPSY?
Epilepsy is a common disease of the brain where there is a tendency to have recurrent seizures. It is a neurological disorder—not a form of mental illness—and seizures are caused by a temporary disruption of the electrical activity in the brain.
1% of Australians have epilepsy.
1 in 10 Australians will have a seizure during their life.
More than 300 people a year die from epilepsy each year.
Epilepsy can start at any age although it is more likely to be diagnosed in childhood or senior years.
There are many different types of epilepsies and people’s experiences differ greatly. Some types of epilepsy are age-limited and the person eventually stops having seizures. For others, epilepsy is a life-long condition.