A leading children’s charity founded by an Adelaide Crows legend is on the brink of collapse, as donations dry up in the wake of devastating bushfires.
A leading children’s charity founded by an Adelaide Crows legend is on the brink of collapse, as donations dry up in the wake of devastating bushfires.

AFL great’s sick children's charity on brink of collapse

A leading South Australian children's charity is on the brink of collapse as donations dry up in the wake of devastating bushfires, its founder says.

The Little Heroes Foundation, started by inaugural Adelaide Crows captain Chris McDermott, supports children with serious illness and their families throughout SA and the Northern Territory.

But Mr McDermott says the future of the organisation is dire because there aren't "financial resources to last any longer".

"Since December, contributions to us and our profile has dropped so much that we're now (functioning) month-to-month, we can't look any further ahead," he told The Advertiser.

"If it continues, I don't think we'll see past June 30 and that's after 24 years (of service) and more than $35 million raised."

Much of the money raised goes to lifesaving facilities at Adelaide's Women's and Children's Hospital.

Since 2011, the foundation has also provided daily support to families through the Little Heroes Care program.

Chris McDermott lets TV presenter Rosanna Mangiarelli at the launch of the Little Heroes pasta sauce.
Chris McDermott lets TV presenter Rosanna Mangiarelli at the launch of the Little Heroes pasta sauce.

 

Mr McDermott said he became worried in late November when a charity golf day - featuring Crows champion Tony Modra and NBL great Andrew Gaze - was canned because of "lack of interest".

He said a Christmas fundraiser the following month also tanked as bushfires ravaged the Adelaide Hills and ignited on Kangaroo Island, shifting people's focus to those affected.

"The way people have rallied to the cause for those that have suffered has been fantastic, so it's not about woe is us because of them," he said.

"(But) we pulled everything. It was inappropriate for us to fundraise during that time. Now we're in February and it just hasn't recovered at all."

The non-profit organisation was born in 1996 as the McGuinness McDermott Foundation, with the help of former Crows captain Tony McGuinness.

 

Chris McDermott and Tony McGuinness horse a McGuinness-McDermott Foundation family race day in 2009.
Chris McDermott and Tony McGuinness horse a McGuinness-McDermott Foundation family race day in 2009.

 

It was dedicated to Nicholas Berry, 5, and Nathan Maclean, 7, who died of cancer.

In 2010, the two Crows greats parted ways amid controversy over Mr McGuinness' personal life.

The name later changed to the Little Heroes Foundation.

"(It's) horrible. I've always felt (the job isn't) done, what we've set out to do and wanted to do, I don't think it has an end date," Mr McDermott said.

Since the downturn, charity staff have been reduced from 10 to just four, with two full-time and two part-time workers still employed.

"We're not here to pay wages, we're here to raise money and do what we do," Mr McDermott said.
"If we can't do that, if that day comes, we'll close."

In October, SA charity Muscular Dystrophy shut its doors to hundreds of clients because of "significant financial hardship" following a failed home lottery fundraiser.

The 65-year-old organisation announced its closure on social media.


Woman hosts illegal party at imprisoned man's home

Premium Content Woman hosts illegal party at imprisoned man's home

A CHERBOURG woman faced court this week after hosting a party at her former...

Firefighters respond to large, fast-moving blaze at Hawkwood

Premium Content Firefighters respond to large, fast-moving blaze at Hawkwood

FIREFIGHTER’s are warning residents to refer to their bushfire survival plan and be...

Gayndah’s last World War II soldier laid to rest

Gayndah’s last World War II soldier laid to rest

THE last Gayndah soldier to fight in World War II has been laid to rest in his home...