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Monday, 24 February 2014
Page: 539

Mr LAUNDY (Reid) (13:34): In November 2006, John and Justine Perkins tragically lost their baby daughter Olivia, at just eight months old, to a rare illness. As a father of three children, I cannot begin to imagine what this must feel like. Where this would break most parents, for John and Justine this awful tragedy brought with it new meaning—a vision that the world would be a place for healthier, happier kids. With this in mind, John and Justine started the Touched by Olivia Foundation.

In her short life Olivia touched many hearts. It is John and Justine's hope that Olivia will continue to touch many more lives through the work undertaken by the foundation. The foundation's dream to give children healthier and happier lives is being realised through two key initiatives—vascular birthmarks research and a network of inclusive playgrounds. The research into vascular birthmarks is enabling Sydney Children's Hospital Randwick to become a centre of global expertise in this area. In addition to this work, the foundation is working with local councils, communities and corporations to upgrade or build inclusive play spaces, giving children, regardless of ability, the opportunity to play side by side. These playgrounds are called Livvi's Place. The first Livvi's place was opened at Timbrell Park, Five Dock, in my electorate of Reid in 2009 and a number of additional playgrounds are under development around the country. I would like to pay tribute to John, Justine and the hundreds of volunteers who support the foundation. I encourage people in my electorate and across Australia to donate to Touched by Olivia and help fund medical research and the creation of inclusive playgrounds.