Triathlon for special kids

Cody Hodgkinson with Mum Ami and Mickey. 163998

The local community will come together for the 13th Beach Osteopathy Kondak Triathlon to raise much-needed funds for Very Special Kids supporting children with life-threatening conditions.
In its second year running and held on 26 February this year, event participants will begin with a 400m swim, followed by a 14km cycle before finishing with a 4km run.
The funds raised from the Kondak Triathlon will provide families in the Geelong and Barwon region with a full 12 months of services from Very Special Kids. This includes 24 hour specialist nursing care at Very Special Kids hospice in Malvern and all-year round support from a trained Family Support Practitioner based in Torquay.
One of these families who know just how beneficial the support is, is the Hodgkinson family from Ocean Grove who turned to Very Special Kids to help them care for their now nine-year-old son Cody, who is a survivor of extra ocular retinoblastoma – a tumour in his left eye.
Cody spent his third birthday in hospital, and due to the aggressive treatment, he became deaf and lost one eye. He also suffers from anxiety as a result of long hospitalisations and traumatic hospital procedures.
Throughout this extremely difficult time, Very Special Kids helped Cody and his family by providing emotional support and guidance from a trained Family Support Practitioner named Peggy, as well as local programs and events that provide families the opportunity to meet each other and share information and experiences.
“Peggy has been an incredible support,” Cody’s mother Ami said.
“There were days where I felt like I couldn’t do it and she was never judgemental. She has been great at putting the normality back into how we’re feeling.”
Very Special Kids also provided trained volunteers to support the family while they were in hospital.
“There was a time Cody was in hospital for 13 weeks straight, and having extra support from the volunteers was really helpful and meant I could take a break,” Ami said.
“They would come in, sit with him and made him feel more comfortable at what was a very difficult time.”
While Cody is now in good health, there are many children that Very Special Kids support who do not make it.
“These kids who have a terminal condition are really dealing with the pointy end,” Ami said.
“If people don’t support these kinds of services, then there’d be a whole lot more families out there in crisis. Events like the Kondak Triathlon are really important to raise awareness and for the community to show their support.”
By providing free of charge care for children like Cody and his family, Very Special Kids relies heavily on the support and generosity of the community. Each year it costs over $7 million to operate.
Help support families like Cody’s by entering the Kondak Triathlon at or by making a donation at