In the era of COVID-19 sometimes it seems like good news stories are few and far between. However not when it comes to 14-year-old Vixens fan, Ella Young.
When Melbourne Vixens partner, Ozito, put the call out on social media for Melbourne Vixens fans to share their DIY projects they’ve been working on to keep busy whilst in isolation – where the best entry would win a $500+ prize pack thanks to Ozito - they knew they’d get some fantastic entries. But what came next was even better.
Ella was adjudged the winner for her entry, which showed her fixing the fence – whilst wearing her Vixens beanie no less – on her family’s property in Magpie, a town about 8 kilometres out of Ballarat. An impressive effort by the year 9 student whilst on school holidays, but nothing compared to what Ella was to do next.
Ella immediately said she wanted to donate her Ozito prize pack to a fellow competition entrant, Debbie Stoker, who’s entry showed her garden shed that had been destroyed by bushfires late last year.
“When mum came in and said ‘Ella, guess what you’ve won the prize,’ I was like, ‘no, this is not real!’ There were so many other amazing things that had been submitted and I felt like mine was just one of the usual ones that you get…there were amazing ones like a pot plant and decorating and heaps more,” Ella exclaimed.
“So when mum said I’d won the prize pack, I was like that’s really cool but we can afford all that stuff in our own place and we’ve got enough stuff of our own. Debbie and her family have lost so much more stuff than we have - we haven’t been in the bushfires at all – but…they’ve lost their whole shed, they’ve lost everything, they can’t really build anything so they needed it more than us.”
Debbie, who’s from Coraki in NSW, about 50 kilometres from Ballina, was blown away by the generosity of a stranger, particularly one so young.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “We’re just blown away that Ella has done that. It’s such generosity. We’re in our late 50s and early 60s and had been away working in Tasmania. We’d been there for two weeks and then we had to fly home to this fire. We had help from the people around the community and everything - they pretty much all banded together - and I mean that’s fine because you know those people, we don’t even know Ella…it’s just so out of the blue!”
Debbie was encouraged to enter the Ozito competition by her daughter.
“That shed isn’t just a garden shed, it’s our laundry, our garage and where we had all of our stuff stored when we went away. I do a bit of woodwork and I had all my power tools in there, our ride on mower, our push mower, everything…fridge, freezer…the only things we didn’t have in there were the big parts of furniture that were in the house. So my daughter said to me, ‘Mum, this will probably help out to get started again, why don’t you put your name in,’ so I did!”
Ella’s mum, Cassie Lindsey, said she was incredibly proud of her daughter’s response.
“I was super impressed and obviously pretty proud as a parent,” Cassie said. “When I told her she’d won she was super excited, and we talked about the prizes, but to then straight away want to give it on…that’s what you want from your kids, you hope you instil those kind of values in them, so that was pretty exciting for me.”
Ella’s generosity did not go unrewarded, after receiving a special message of congratulations from Melbourne Vixens defender, Emily Mannix.
“After I got Emily’s message and she said she actually watched the video I was pretty proud that even one of the players watched it,” Ella continued, “but when she said that Ozito was going to give me something so I didn’t come away with nothing at all I was pretty stoked about that, because even though I gave my prize away, it was pretty nice of them to say ‘we can give something back to Ella and her family as well.’ So, I’d just like to say thanks to Ozito, that was very nice of you!”