Finding cures for children's genetic diseases


Birthday boy swaps presents for fundraising


Like a lot of kids his age, Oliver Howell has everything he needs. Unlike most kids – he recently decided to swap birthday presents for the opportunity to fundraise for medical research.

When the Vaucluse resident was approaching his ninth birthday, dad Rod said they looked around his bedroom and were hit with a thought.
“All you could see were toys,’’ Rod said. “He had a lot of double ups because he was usually given birthday presents that he already owned. We started to talk and we thought, gosh do you really need another Nerf gun or another Lego set?’’

When Rod asked Ollie what he wanted for his birthday, all he could think of was to go out with his friends. They then decided that presents should be exchanged for a donation to a not-for-profit.

“He thought it was a good idea, and it was really important to us that part of this lesson was learning about where he wanted the money to go.’’

Ollie decided his priority was helping children. He looked into several charities and decided upon Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) because he felt that research could help generations of children.
“I chose CMRI because I wanted to help kids, and my dad talked to me about how funding research can help lots of people in the long run,’’ Ollie said.
Rod said it was very simple and Ollie loved the online component.

“We just went and set up a fundraising page, through Jeans for Genes, together. He loved that it was all online and that every time someone donated he got a new notification.’’

Rod said that the word spread, and he ended up getting donations from friends and family here and overseas, raising $1010.

“It was interesting that everyone said, ‘what a good idea’. We had universal support for the concept of swapping presents for a donation. I think it’s all taught him a lot. It’s important to show the next generation about how you can support the community.’’ 

Ollie said he hadn’t been sure if he would hit his target of $1000 and was very proud of the result.

“It was nice that my friends and family really helped me get to my target,’’ he said. “My brother and sister helped by putting it on their stories on Instagram! It feels good to help.’’

If you would like to find out how you cand fundraise on behalf of Children’s Medical Research Institute please visit: