Challenge Members

  • Challenge members are children aged 18 years old and under who have been diagnosed with cancer or a life threatening blood disorder. As well as this, siblings and parents of that child are equally considered members. Challenge is about the whole family. The wellbeing of the entire family is our fundamental concern and priority at all times.

  • We provide a vast range of practical support programs and services to our members. We provide a range of camps for different age groups, hospital support and activities, weekly playgroup sessions, parent support, movie days, music therapy, massage therapy, home help, bereavement services and more. Through our programs and services, we aim to make life easier as they deal with fighting their illness. 

  • Challenge families are welcome to be involved in the program until their child turns 18 or until such a time they no longer need the level of support that we offer. Challenge members will always be a part of the Challenge family and community. We have a number of events and activities that former Challenge members are welcome to take part in.

  • Definitely not. Challenge understands that the side effects, both physical and emotional, faced by children and their families often continue long after treatment has finished. Challenge is committed to supporting our members from the time of diagnosis, throughout the treatment period and beyond. Bereaved families also have our full support for as long as they need it.

  • Having a child who is sick is not only difficult for parents but also for the child’s brothers and sisters. Challenge is determined to make sure that they are not forgotten, and siblings are always invited to take part and come along on camps and activity days. Siblings are equally as important as Challenge provides support for the whole family.

  • No. Many of our families come from regional and rural areas, mainly in Victoria, however our programs and support services often stretch to families living in Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales. Many of our programs and activity days vary in location, giving all Challenge members an equal opportunity to attend.

About Challenge

  • Challenge was established as an auspice program of the Australian Red Cross in 1983, providing an annual camping experience for children and young people living with cancer. By 1990 Challenge had expanded from a valuable camping program to become the first organisation in Victoria to provide a range of ongoing support and recreational activities for families living with cancer. In 1995, Challenge became independent from the Red Cross to become a stand-alone organisation. Challenge has continued to grow and develop to meet the changing needs of its members, now delivering a full range of support services 365 days a year.

  • Yes, Challenge provides support for our members and services are available 365 days a year.

  • Yes. We offer vegetarian and halal options at all of our events and will support children observing Ramadan during camps. At all times we strive to understand and respect the needs of all of our children and families, regardless of race or religion.

  • Our International Patron is golfing champion Robert Allenby and our National Patron is the AFL legend Nathan Buckley. Challenge Ambassadors include media personality Andy Lee and basketball legend Andrew Gaze. Head to our Ambassadors page for a full list of all our ambassadors.

Challenge Support, Services & Programs

  • Challenge often hosts lunches and social activities where families can catch up and share their stories, experiences and advice. Another great way of understanding and seeing other families on a similar journey is through our Facebook page. Please call Challenge on (03) 9329 8474 if you would like more information on how to connect with other families.

  • We provide services to you and your family, which aim to make your stay or treatment in hospital as comfortable as possible. This includes daily newspapers, parent morning tea, arts and crafts, bedside games, book reading and celebrity visits. Challenge also provides access to iPads with Internet, video games, DVD players and DVDs, iPods and CDs. We also offer a fully catered morning tea and dinner in hospital each month, because mums and dads need a break too!

  • Camps are an extended getaway that our Challenge members are invited to attend, giving them the opportunity to just be kids. A variety of camps run throughout the year and cater to a range of different ages and interests. There are weekend camps and weeklong camps that can take kids all over Victoria, and sees them visit zoos, having cooking classes, going to the movies and more. The important thing is that kids get to spend some quality time with their siblings and are able to make friends.

  • From the age of four years old, all members and siblings can apply to attend any camp that is offered in their age group. It’s great for newly diagnosed kids and their siblings to attend camps and meet other children who are undergoing, or who have recently finished treatment. Camps are available also for members who have completed treatment. As mentioned above, our members remain in the Challenge family throughout every stage of their cancer journey. The strongest friendships and support networks are often formed during a shared camp experience.

  • Unfortunately not. Camps are seen as a good chance for parents to enjoy some much-needed time-out and an opportunity for kids to gain the confidence and independence that comes with meeting new people and staying away from home. It can be easy for parents to wrap a child in cotton wool when they are diagnosed, therefore Challenge camps aim to encourage kids to have fun again and to participate in a variety of activities, all in a safe environment, which is often just what the doctor ordered.

  • There is a qualified nurse available at every camp as well as volunteers who all have their first aid and CPR qualifications.

  • Challenge offers many other programs and services, including small and large activity days, ticketing to sporting and entertainment events, music therapy sessions and holiday accommodation, which are also available to children and families. Visit our programs page for more information.

  • Our support is provided to the whole family, and camps are only one of a range of services we offer and provide. You may like to access other services such as holiday accommodation, playgroup, family activity days and tickets to events aimed at younger kids, such as Disney on Ice or The Wiggles. If you're interested in these services, call us on (03) 9329 8474.

  • Always. Siblings are welcome to attend camps on their own or with their brother or sister. If the patient is unwell, too young or too old to attend and/or if a patient is in hospital at the time of an activity day or camp, this does not effect a sibling taking part.

  • If you receive a flyer about an upcoming camp or activity that you would like to attend, just call the office for an application form or to RSVP. If you see a sporting event or concert that you would like to attend, you can either let our Hospital Activities Coordinator know, or call the office to register your interest. If we can organise tickets, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.

    If you need a break and fancy a stay at one of our four holiday houses, find a few dates that suit your family and then call the office on (03) 9329 8474 to check our availability. If you would like more information or would like to access any of our support services at any time, you can either call or email us.

Support and Contact

  • This might be through attending one of our annual fundraising events, holding an event of your own with friends and family, asking guests to make a donation in lieu of gifts at a special celebration or by donation items to be auctioned at our events to raise funds. Visit our get involved page for more ideas!

  • The Challenge Family Centre is located at:

    529-535 King St
    West Melbourne
    Victoria 3003

    You can also call us on (03) 9329 8474 or via our email mail@challenge.org.au

  • Should a Challenge member need to speak with someone from Challenge on the weekend or outside office hours, call us on (03) 9329 8474 and an alternative number will be provided for you to contact.

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