CHE Proximity has launched an Australian first fundraising initiative, Curing Homesickness with Sydney Children's Hospitals Foundation (SCHF), to raise money for children's hospitals across Australia.
The campaign was created in partnership with the children's hospitals, celebrities and brands like Coles, The Walt Disney Company Australia and New Zealand, Assembly Label, Pasta Pantry, NRL, and eBay.
Money raised will fund equipment, care and research to get kids home from hospital sooner.
The initiative launches with a film called “Mum’s Sause” which is about a young girl in hospital named Ali, who despite all she’s going through, misses her mum’s pasta “Sause”.
The film, directed by The Glue Society’s Pete Baker, follows the story of how her brother spots a handwritten note from Ali who has misspelt the word ‘sauce’.
The note becomes a social post, a social post becomes an internet sensation, and “Mum’s Sause” becomes a symbol that unites brands, celebrities and the community to cure homesickness.
Ali’s story isn’t real, but homesickness is, as the story represents the hundreds of thousands of kids in Australian hospitals every year.
The film features Australian celebrity cameos from Rose Byrne, Lee Lin Chin, Hamish Blake, G Flip, Mia Freedman and news presenters from Channel 9 and 10.
“Mum’s Sause is designed to not only be part of culture but inject itself into it. We are purposely blurring the line between reality and fiction," CHE Proximity chief creative officer Ant White says.
"Apart from Ali and her family, who are based on the stories of millions of Aussie families, everything in the film is real – Coles made Mum’s Sause, Assembly Label printed tees, Disney are hosting special screenings, Pasta Pantry are donating parts of their menu, eBay are contributing in a big way too.
"These are just some of the ways people can become part of the story. Even the influencers, newsreaders and journalists in the film will be posting, sharing and airing content today mirroring the story.
"People want to be part of good stories today. It’s a form of social currency. We wanted to create a movement that allowed people to join in, and make a real difference, not just a campaign that pulls at the heartstrings. But we’re sure it will do that too.”
Other celebrities have also joined the mission including Nicole Kidman and NRL sports teams, who have all rallied around the cause to help raise awareness for the movement. Demonstrating the power of social media, it is hoped that life will imitate art with all of Australia helping spread the message about curing homesickness.
“We know that kids get homesick when they are in hospital, but homesickness isn’t always recognised as a serious complication or illness, and this is the first time it has been the focus of a fundraising campaign to address it," Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation CEO Nicola Stokes says.
“We developed the idea because our Foundation was exploring how we could make more of a difference to the emotional wellbeing of sick kids, as well as raising funds for vital equipment, ground-breaking research and excellent clinical care. When I shared our idea with colleagues at other hospital foundations across Australia, they wanted to be involved and they immediately offered to collaborate with us to deliver national impact for every child and every community.”
Studies show that severe homesickness symptoms actually worsen in children the longer they are away from home. The cure for homesickness is home.
50% of hospitalised children suffer from moderate to severe levels of homesickness. The campaign aims to unite hospitals across Australia to help get kids home faster.
“This project started two years ago with a request from Nicola and the board to help increase donations," CHE Proximity chief strategy officer David Halter says.
"During our hospital visits, we noticed a simple insight: Kids who are in hospital for a particular sickness also have another sickness that Australians are currently unaware of - homesickness.”
To accompany the campaign, Coles has created a pasta sauce with a health star rating of four which will be stocked in more than 800 stores across Australia with 50 cents from every jar go to Curing Homesickness.
Disney’s Marvel Studios The Avengers Infinity War and Endgame back-to-back sessions will be held across Australia on Saturday 3 August at select Event and Village cinemas with 100% of ticket sales will be donated to the hospitals.
Assembly Label has released a limited-edition range of ‘Homesick’ t-shirts for men, women and children available in-store and online, with all proceeds going towards Curing Homesickness.
Pasta Pantry’s Sydney stores are raising awareness and donating funds from the sale of their flagship pasta and lasagne dishes in support of the initiative.
The activity is supported by a heavy PR presence and donated TV, cinema, outdoor, and digital all reminding Australians how kids in hospital are also homesick.
CHE Proximity worked with all brands and media partners including Network Nine, Network Seven, ARN, Nova, MCN, Verizon, NewsCorp, oOh!, QMS and JCDecaux, to secure donated media space.
Other elements of the launch include 30 and 15-second cut downs and a social, PR and influencer campaign.
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