Donations flood in for little Vinny

GRATEFUL: Sally Neidorfer, Michael Falcione and their son Vinny have been supported by the community during Vinny's fight with childhood cancer.
GRATEFUL: Sally Neidorfer, Michael Falcione and their son Vinny have been supported by the community during Vinny's fight with childhood cancer.

Vinny Falcione is facing a battle at six-months-old that many of us, even as adults, could never imagine.

In February this year, the Falcione's received the life-changing news that their baby boy had a rare form of childhood cancer called neuroblastoma.

Vinny is undergoing gruelling chemotherapy treatment, leaving the family split between Port Augusta and their time at the Adelaide Women's and Children's Hospital.

Neighbour and friend Amanda Horner noticed the toll the travel was having on parents Sally and Michael, so decided to do something about it.

A self confessed hater of all things fitness, Amanda has walked 150-kilometres in June with donations flooding in from Port Augusta, interstate and even overseas.

"I wanted them to be together without the burden of having to cover costs," she said.

"Michael was going back and forth and if that was me, obviously having Jackson (son) a similar age, I wouldn't want my husband to be away from me. I would want to be all together."

Amanda rasied over $20,000 to help the family.

Amanda rasied over $20,000 to help the family.

What began as a small Facebook initiative to raise $500 has snowballed into an ambitious $20,000 campaign.

Amanda has been heartened by the community support, saying she hasn't walked a day alone the entire month.

"It's taken off and I didn't really expect it to go that well," she said.

"There's people who have donated who don't even know the family and I think because it's a young child, people just want to help.

"Why not give back to a really nice family. Michael and Sally would do the same if roles were reversed."

Amanda (left) never walked alone, she even had special guests Sally and Vinny on one occasion.

Amanda (left) never walked alone, she even had special guests Sally and Vinny on one occasion.

In fact, even with all the travel to Adelaide and Vinny's busy treatment schedule, Michael and Sally have taken on the task of raising money for other sick kids.

Vinny's Village, the family ab-crunching squad, has raised $5626 for Redkite in the Crunch4Kids With Cancer challenge.

"The South Australian community have been incredibly generous, and we can't thank them enough for their donations," Sally said.

"On most days we crawled into bed just to realise we have forgotten, and had to drag ourselves back out to do them.

"Vinny enjoyed the days he got to sit on us whilst we crunched. He found the whole process very entertaining.

"Our stomachs are feeling a bit sore, but its all been worthwhile to raise funds for other families facing cancer."

Redkite provides essential support such as free counselling, financial assistance to families, as well as funding music therapists and social workers in children's cancer wards around the country.

"Redkite continue to support us, and many other families in South Australia with offers of financial assistance and counselling," Michael said.

Over the last year, Redkite has supported approximately 150 South Australian families facing cancer and since the outbreak of the pandemic has seen a rise in demand for services.

In April alone, the number of support sessions delivered across the country was 60 per cent higher than the 2019 monthly average.