The Michael Manion Foundation gives young Kate a new lease on life

HEART HELP: Bendigo family Duane, Carly, Kate and Tom Bannon have been helped by the Michael Manion Wool Industry Foundation. Photo by Squirrel Lane Photography.

HEART HELP: Bendigo family Duane, Carly, Kate and Tom Bannon have been helped by the Michael Manion Wool Industry Foundation. Photo by Squirrel Lane Photography.

The pain of having to move from the Victorian Murray River town of Koonoomoo to Bendigo, to seek medical treatment for their young daughter, has been offset for one young couple, with a generous grant from a wool industry charity.

Duane and Carly Bannon's daughter Kate, who is just about to turn four, has congenital heart disease.

Mr Bannon, who has a shearing business, said the condition was discovered at birth.

"We ended up selling our property and moving to Bendigo, two years ago, anticipating the surgery," Mr Bannon said.

He heard about grants, from the Michael Manion Wool Industry Foundation, which helps rural families who are facing hardship, or need to cover medical expenses.

The foundation was set up in 2015 as a support service for rural families or children in need.

"Michael was a larger than life, gregarious person who had empathy for people," the MMWIF Board of Directors said.

"During his lifetime in the wool industry he always went out of his way to mentor and help young people in the trade."

"We really want to make a big impact raising funds for the rural community," board members said.

Mr Bannon said he had been shearing since 2011.

"My wife's family is from Bendigo, can shear anywhere, but she can't get the support she needs, anywhere," he said.

Kate underwent successful surgery, just as the coronavirus epidemic kicked off, and Mr Bannon said the family was fortunate to be able to spend time with her, when she was hospitalised.

"I had a month off work and it just helped us paying bills, accommodation and for meals," he said.

"She's incredible now, it nearly makes you cry, when you realise how little energy she had beforehand.

"Everyone that has known about it can't believe how good she is."

He said the family was grateful their son, Tom, two, didn't have the condition.

"They can't follow where it comes from, or how it gets transferred," he said.

"But the surgery is an absolute life changer; we had two new cars, and sold one of them, to make sure we could make ends meet."

United Wool Company senior buyer and trader Paul Ferranato said the donation summed up what the foundation was about.

"It's here to help anyone who may be doing it tough, or going through a rough patch, in life," Mr Ferranato said.

"It's been an honour working with the foundation, it's been heart warming and satisfying.

"Our small donation to them has gone such a long way, they gave up so much, as parents, it's up to us to give back to them."

This story 'She's incredible now': New lease on life gifted to girl in need first appeared on Stock & Land.