Lion Hearts Learning and SA Pathology team up to help young oncology patients.

20 July 2022

Based on the principles of learning, loving, and living, Lion Hearts Learning has created a safe, fun community for little ones undergoing oncological treatment.

The organisation was founded in 2017 after owners, Jolyn Phillipps and Mat Townsend’s daughter, Codee-Jo Townsend, was diagnosed with Leukaemia.

As Codee-Jo battled with the illness, her parents became aware of her need for continuing education and socialisation throughout her treatment. They were also unable to access ‘mainstream education’ as there needed to be a high-level of cleanliness at any facility she attended with her low immunity. Noticing this gap for oncological kids in South Australia, Jo and Mat created the Lion Hearts Learning Team and decided to make a change themselves where Lion Hearts Learning was born for children ages zero to five.

As oncological patients often need blood testing, word of mouth between parents and from the phlebotomists when attending SA Pathology Women’s and Children’s collection centre, helped Lion Hearts Learning expand their community base and gain a steady rate of interest. But then COVID-19 hit and with less people wanting to attend hospital, the community atmosphere lost momentum.

The Lion Hearts Learning Team got creative and knew that the need for their services was more important than ever, which prompted them to create, “On Lion.”

The online fortnightly service enabled them to educate a wider audience, ages zero to fourteen, with craft packs sent out by Lion Hearts to accompany the online learning. This service has been incredibly popular with the children and their siblings who all enjoy the creativity it offers, and it continues today even though face to face learning has resumed for little ones.

As we continue to transition out of the pandemic, the extended family is once-again giving back to the community with “butterfly house”, an initiative of Lion Hearts Learning which assesses families on a needs basis to have a free getaway at a Victor Harbor house once a year. Six to ten stays a year are available and although applications have only just opened, interest is expected to be incredibly high.

Fifty-six children are currently enrolled in Lion Hearts Learning, and they hope to become even more accessible with the addition of an Edwardstown location.

When families get started with them, Jo says they’ve been told that, “it has changed everything for them, especially their little person actually being able to go to something and be excited.”

SA Pathology currently has paediatric collection specialists at over fifteen locations and is proud to support organisations such as Lion Hearts Learning which are helping keep fun and excitement at the forefront for children and families going through tough times.

If you would like to learn more about the organisation and the work they do, contact them today.

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