Dance for sick kids in National Families Week

India Thomas in hospital at the age of two

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is calling on Aussies across the country to get involved in Dance For Sick Kids, a seven-day challenge taking place during National Families Week from May 15-21.

And one of the first Coasties to accept the challenge was with-year-old India Thomas of Terrigal.

India has enlisted classmates from JB Dance at Tuggerah to form a team and the young dancers are determined to do their bit to raise money for the charity.

Mum Priya Thomas said the family had supported RMHC every year since staying at a Ronald McDonald House in Auckland when India underwent heart surgery at the age of two.

“India was born with a hole in her heart and when she was about two it took a nasty turn and she had to have surgery,” Thomas said.

“We were based in New Zealand at the time and being able to stay close to the hospital while she was having surgery made us so very grateful.

Following a couple more medical procedures, India is now in good health and has been enrolled at JB Dance for five years.

“She is now part of an elite team which competes in local and national competitions – and the 14 children in the team are all taking part in the challenge,” Thomas said.

“The children log in a certain number of dance hours each day for the five days of the challenge and it all goes to the team goal.

“The team has already raised enough money to accommodate a family for an eight-night stay at a Ronald McDonald House.”

RMHC has seen an overwhelming level of support for the national fundraiser so far, with over 3,200 Aussies already registered and set to lace up their dancing shoes in preparation for the challenge.

The cornerstone program of RMHC, the Ronald McDonald House, provides a “home away from home” for families of seriously ill and injured children being treated at nearby hospitals.

RMHC currently has 18 Houses throughout Australia accommodating more than 10,000 families annually.

RMHC Chief Executive Officer, Barbara Ryan, said there was still time to register for the challenge and make a difference.

“We have some incredible local and international talent on board, offering exclusive online dance workshops for registered dancers – from our Ambassadors Marko Panzic and Jarryd Byrne, to the cast of Hamilton and The Ellen Show’s tWitch, so sign up today and get out your dancing shoes,” she said.

You can get involved at

Donations to India’s page can be made at

Terry Collins