Amy & Mark's story - connecting a family with a sick child with the pro bono legal help they need

Connecting a family with a sick child with the pro bono legal help they need


We saw Amy and Mark at our clinic at the Royal Children’s Hospital (the RCH). They have two children, James, 6, and Michael, 4. Michael is a patient of the RCH. He has a one in a billion illness and he is part of a global research study. He spends significant time in hospital. His parents currently receive benefits because they both had to quit their previous jobs to care for Michael. The couple started their own business late last year hoping that they will be better able to juggle Michael’s care needs and a sustainable income for the family.

They own their own house two hours out of Melbourne but the house is old and requires significant renovation. They decided to rent a home closer to the RCH so that they can see Michael when he’s in hospital and to provide him with a nicer home environment. When they came to see us, they were struggling to keep up to date with their bills. They had already seen a financial counsellor who had helped them clear $90,000 debt but they were still two months in arrears on their mortgage repayments and still owed around $15,000. They planned to make alterations to their home including the installation of ramps and other adjustments but they couldn’t afford it. They had already accessed Mark’s superannuation to buy a vehicle big enough to transport Michael.

They told us they had many friends and family members who wanted to donate money to them. We gave them advice about their debts and referred their matter to a large commercial law firm which provided them with pro bono assistance to set up a necessitous circumstances trust for Michael. It is hoped that this will assist them to better meet the financial needs of their family.