The news that the Good Friday Appeal's funds will help support five regional health services for the first time in its long history, is promising news for youngsters in central Victoria.
Premier Jacinta Allan was back in her hometown to make the announcement, becoming emotional about her own experiences as a parent with a child in the Royal Children's Hospital.
Bendigo Health will join Barwon Health, Grampians Health, Goulburn Valley Health and Latrobe Regional Health as a recipient of funding for training, scholarships and state of the art equipment.
Range of benefits for five regions
Bendigo specifically will receive funds for an all abilities play space, while funds will also support Barwon eating disorder services, improved pre-natal and post-natal care for babies at Grampians Health, life-saving respiratory care at Goulburn Valley and earlier diagnosis through a neurodevelopmental outpatient clinic through Latrobe Regional Health.
Bendigo Health board chair Dr Ewa Piejko said she was thrilled by the news.
"The fundraising will help us start building an all abilities rehab playground this year, which will improve the rehabilitation and wellbeing of young patients in the Loddon Mallee region by providing them with a supportive environment to play and recover," she said.
Play space on the cards sooner than expected
Parents are also keen for the space with Jennifer Pinchbeck having advocated for the outlet for years, for the benefit of children like her daughter Amelia who lives with hemiplegic cerebral palsy.
"To hear that they're hoping to break ground faster than anticipated, that's huge," Ms Pinchbeck said.
"It means that Amelia can enjoy rehab here and be able to utilise it while she is young.
"I think with these projects, you think we're helping pave the way, but it's all happening soon."
Ms Pinchbeck is once again participating in a fundraising run this year for the playground but was very encouraged that more funds are on their way.
Making therapy more fun for youngsters
Sophie and Ben Gardner whose daughter Chloe also lives with cerebral palsy said the increased funds were great news for Bendigo children.
"It's really exciting that, you know, having play spaces on hospital grounds means it takes up less time and we can actually practice using different facilities," Ms Gardner said.
"Playgrounds are a big part of your milestones of development so it's really important to make coming to therapy not an onerous task."
Both Amelia and Chloe already receive the bulk of their care in Bendigo but for other locals, there is the hope of more conversation for Bendigo children who are currently unable to attend services locally.
Locals want more health services close to home
Bendigo's Dom Beagley was only three days old when he was flown by air ambulance to the Royal Children's Hospital.
His mother Megan said she could not speak as she saw her first child, now aged 10, covered in tubes.
"It took quite a long time to figure out all the things that were going on," Ms Beagley said.
He eventually received a diagnosis of primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) which is a rare degenerative condition with similarities to cystic fibrosis, alongside some additional comorbidities.
"We don't we don't know what the future holds, there are things in his future that look different," Ms Beagley said.
Dom's mother said it was unclear how his lungs would function as he grew older, while he also manages cardiac issues.
As the condition is rare, the Beagley family have required regular visits to the Royal Children's Hospital as specialists for the serious and rare conditions Dom lives with are not available in Bendigo.
Ms Beagley is hopeful that the Appeal's decision to broaden the scope of its funding - and specifically the money going towards the local all-abilities playspace - will also influence what health services Dom is able to access in town.