Help for kids, thanks to Facebook and a Kenthurst mum

Helping children: Norma Needham's charity KidsofOz focuses on Indigenous children in Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory.

Helping children: Norma Needham's charity KidsofOz focuses on Indigenous children in Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory.

Norma Needham's first impression of Facebook was like that of many mothers: one of absolute hate.

"I had always hated Facebook, the kids always spent heaps of time on it," she said.

But after she had sold her business of 20 years, Hawkesbury Valley Holden, the Kenthurst resident found herself with a lot more time on her hands and was drawn to the social networking site.

"I found myself lost and lonely after having 65 people working for me," she said.

"I got on Facebook and within three or four months I had over 1000 friends."

Now she has more than 5000 over two separate pages.

Most of Mrs Needham's seemingly countless Facebook friends came from her many hours of community work during her time at Hawkesbury Valley Holden.

"I always gave back to anything that needed help," Mrs Needham said.

Now Mrs Needham is using these Facebook friends and contacts to help her organise a Masquerade Ball through her charity KidsofOz to raise money for an ultrasound machine for Tennant Creek Hospital in the Northern Territory.

The facility is not only used by families in the area but also by those flown in by the Royal Flying Doctor Service for emergency treatment.

"The ultrasound machine is on its last legs. They last for about five years, but this one has been going for over six," she said.

"The only other place [in the area] is in Alice Springs but that's four to five hours away."

Mrs Needham has been able to organise a star-studded masquerade ball, featuring Australia's Got Talent winner Mark Vincent, comedians Three Waiters, ventriloquist Darren Carr and master of ceremonies Ed Phillips.

In addition, everything from photographers to graphic designers, raffle prizes and even table centrepieces have been donated for the event.

KidsofOz, focuses on improving the lives of disadvantaged children in Australia, with an emphasis on the Indigenous community.

"We always sent money overseas but it's about time we spend money back home."

She needs 400 people to attend.

"The more the merrier," she said. "Thank you Facebook. Thank you everyone who has helped."

Masquerade Ball

The Masquerade Ball is at 7pm on Saturday, August 9 at Doltone House, Jones Bay Wharf, Pyrmont.

Tickets/details: kidsofoz@normaneedham.com.au or http://kidsofoz.org.

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