nib foundation and the Newcastle Knights helped a special fan live out a dream at Hunter Stadium on Sunday afternoon in the lead up to the Knights’ final home game of the year.
Kahlia Billiet, a self-confessed Knights tragic who was diagnosed with Crohns Disease more than five years ago, joined captain, Jarrod Mullen, Parramatta skipper Reni Maitua and the match officials for the all-important coin toss prior to kickoff.
After leading a healthy childhood, in 2008 Kahlia was diagnosed with the disease as a 14 year old and has spent much of the last five years undergoing many different treatments in both Sydney and Newcastle.
After experiencing a number of major health issues associated with the disease, Kahlia is now close to remission. With her blood counts stable and health greatly improved, the 18 year old is now getting back to what she hopes will be a normal life, which includes studying a Bachelor of Teaching (Primary)/Arts at the University of Newcastle.
Kahlia had the opportunity to meet some of the Knights’ players during one of her many stays in Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital when they visited the Starlight Room, but this was topped by her experience on Sunday.
“I have been supporting the Newcastle Knights for as long as I can remember. I love going to the game and cheering on the boys, but this one was something special,” Kahlia said.
“It was just amazing meeting Jarrod Mullen before the game. He is such a great player, and as it turns out, an even better person.”
Knights major sponsor, nib health funds, and its charitable organisation, nib foundation, have made this once in a lifetime opportunity possible for Kahlia through their partnership with the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
Since 2011, nib foundation has supported Starlight’s innovative Livewire program, which has provided Kahlia much support in recent years following its expansion into the Hunter region.
Livewire is a unique program that aims to provide long-term benefits for hospitalised adolescents with a serious illness or chronic health condition by supporting their wellbeing and resilience.
Led by professional facilitators, the program features a range of creative activities aimed at adolescents, including music, film-making and art. The activities also allow young people to leave the ward environment, connect with their peers, explore new interests and enhance their skills.