Finding cures for children's genetic diseases


Three Sisters Find That Spare Change Adds Up


It may be just loose change to everyone else but to the three young McKinnon sisters – it is a valuable contribution towards medical research.

The McKinnon sisters - Chelsea 11, Amelia 9 and Nellie 7 - travelled down from the Blue Mountains on the first day of the school holidays to present their huge jars of coins, worth more than $400, to Children’s Medical Research Institute. Full of silver coins, mostly 20 and 50 cent pieces, it was so heavy they had to bring it on a trolley that they’d specially decorated for the train trip.

The girls from Wentworth Falls were inspired by grandfather Don who has been donating to CMRI for many years, according to mum Clare Zagami. 

"He has been a long-term donor to CMRI and he thought he’d just start putting some coins away. The girls love to pop a coin in the jar.’’

The project took on a whole new dimension two years ago when Chelsea was diagnosed with a rare condition known as renal stenosis.

It causes the narrowing of the arteries which impedes blood flow to the kidneys.

“It started out with Chelsea having a sore toe,’’ Clare said. “Then it led to a bone infection and she ended up in intensive care.’’

An extremely high blood pressure reading led to tests and resulted in Chelsea being diagnosed, having multiple surgeries and now being on 23 different pills.

“It can affect a million different parts of her body. For us we know how important medical research is because from her eyes to her kidneys – there’s always something we’re at the hospital for. All the girls are interested in science, their dad is a scientist, so they understand the importance of research.

Don McKinnon, who is in many local community organisations in the Mountains, said even many of his mates had contributed to his jar collection.

“It just started out as putting some change in there but then people from the men’s shed or bush care started giving me their coins. It’s a real community effort. Children have to have a life – that’s why I’m donating.’’
You can join the McKinnon sisters and their Grandfather in supporting CMRI by making a donation today. We receive no guaranteed government funding for our research, so community support is vital​.