I'm A Celebrity 2019: The Charities Each Celeb Is Playing For
While our brave gang of celebs surrender all their luxuries and comforts for a few weeks to face all the trials thrown their way, they do so for more than just our entertainment.
Each celebrity is vying for the title of King or Queen of the jungle, which will earn them $100,000 for a charity of their choosing. We caught up with each celeb before they went into the camp to hear which charity they chose and why.
Ajay Rochester: 4 ASD Kids
Founded by Chloe Maxwell and husband Mat Rogers, 4 ASD Kids is a charity that raises money to support children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
“One of the things that really can help a kid is early intervention and support services,” Ajay told 10 daily, adding, “they’re extremely expensive and unattainable for most families.”
As a single mum to son Kai who has Asperger's, the charity is close to her heart. “We were lucky because it was in an era where there weren’t as many kids, so we availed ourselves of some services but we could have done so much more,” she shared.
“Giving access to kids for early intervention is life-changing,” Ajay continued, “Not just for the kids but for the parents. I’m so strongly for it and I think it’s a great charity.
Angie Kent: Mission Australia
When deciding on a charity, Angie told us that she found choosing just one cause difficult. “I was going to hone in on one because we do so much for NSW Disability, Step Up for Down Syndrome, my brother’s also autistic and I’ve suffered with mental health,” Angie said, adding, “most of my family have.”
Angie picked Mission Australia because of the wide range of causes they assist with. “They look after people with disability, mental health -- kids with mental health [issues], which I wish I had more of when I was growing up -- housing… they don’t discriminate,” she explained, “so my heart kept going back to Mission.”
Dermott Brereton: LifeChanger Foundation
Dermott also picked a charity close to him. Founded by Trevor Hendy and Scott Watters, the LifeChanger Foundation aims to give young Aussies opportunities to become their best self. “LifeChanger is about putting in place and implementing strategies that make sure at-risk teenagers have the best chance of taking the right direction as they enter young adulthood,” Dermott explained.
LifeChanger provides mentoring, workshops and digital outreach as well as working with communities to assist with implementing change on a generational level.
Jacqui Lambie: Team Rubicon
Jacqui’s charity of Team Rubicon is “for veterans and those who have served in other emergency services,” she said. “What they do is they basically go out to natural disasters and they help clean up.”
Team Rubicon’s mission is twofold -- to assist in disaster relief and emergency response as well as helping reshape the pathways for Australian veterans. “Recently they’ve been up at the fires in NSW and the floods in Queensland,” Jacqui -- a veteran herself -- explained.
Justin Lacko: Kid’s Foundation
Justin’s charity is Kid’s Foundation, an organisation that helps educate young kids about safety awareness, as well as supporting kids and adults living with serious injuries and burns.
“I’d love to be there to support young children who are going through school or who are dealing with their life situations,” Justin said. The foundation reaches more than 30,000 kids each year and hopes to reduce the number of preventable injuries by introducing educational programs aimed at preschool, primary and secondary schools.
Justine Schofield: Share the Dignity
A charity that focuses on homeless women and victims of domestic violence, Share the Dignity collects personal hygiene products, pads and tampons and provides them to women who need them as well as funding funerals for victims of domestic abuse.
“Simple things, sanitary items, a handbag, just to give them back their dignity,” Justine said. “I think it’s really important that we look after the women out there.”
Luke Jacobz: Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer
“Myself and my fiancée both lost our dads to brain cancer,” Luke said, “When we first met we both realised… so we thought this would be amazing.”
“To go in there and do that because -- you know -- not having a dad sucks," he added. "We’re doing it for them.”
Founded by Carrie Bickmore after her husband Greg passed away in 2010, Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer aims to raise money to help fund research into brain cancer. According to the stats, 1,600 Australians are diagnosed with brain cancer each year. Survival rates of brain cancer have not changed in the last three decades.
Natasha Exelby: FearLess
FearLess is a charity that works with Australians who are dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and the family members also affected by it. “A lot of people associate that with soldiers returning from war,” Natasha said.
“It’s very, very common. In Afghanistan, for example, nine times the number of soldiers that were killed have taken their own lives since coming back,” she explained. “It’s common in our emergency service workers, but much wider than that -- in the larger community -- people who have dealt with natural disasters, man-made disasters, terrorist attacks, people who have suffered at the hand of domestic violence.”
According to Natasha, FearLess treats PTSD like a brain injury. “It’s treated with the same kind of medical science and urgency that you would for any other trauma to the brain. It’s looking at helping people live very normal lives.”
Richard Reid - Beyond Blue
Though he’s known for his outgoing, cheery disposition, Richard told 10 daily, “I myself have crazy anxiety at times and have learned that if you can just reach out, or tell a mate or have a great resource like Beyond Blue to steer you in the right direction… everyone would be much better off.”
More than three million Aussies live with depression or anxiety, and Beyond Blue aims to provide support, assistance and tools for those who are struggling with mental health.
Sam Dastyari - Cat Adoption Foundation
With the goal of a no-kill Australia, the Cat Adoption Foundation rescues, fosters and re-homes cats and kittens.
Self-confessed crazy cat guy Sam had a very simple reason for why they became the charity he’d support, “My 7-year-old daughter chose it,” he admitted.
“We’re big cat people, I have four rescue cats. People always ask me how many cats are too many? Four is definitely that amount.”
Tahir Bilgic - Save Our Sons
Tahir has been involved with Save Our Sons for nearly a decade. “I’m an ambassador, so it’s a personal thing for me,” he told 10 daily.
“It’s a charity that deals with muscular dystrophy, which is a muscle wasting disease affecting 99 percent boys, very rarely girls,” he said. “The life expectancy is mid-20s… they’re desperately trying to find a cure for it.” Save Our Sons Duchenne Foundation raises money to help fund research, provide assistance to families who may not be able to afford essential life-equipment and even help fund programs for nurses.
“I know the person who founded the charity,” Tahir said, “he’s become a friend and he’s trying his best to save his son, basically.”
“This is not just a charity I’ve chosen willy-nilly, it’s something quite personal for me. It’s something I’ll be thinking about to help get me through some of the challenges.”
Yvie Jones - Safe Pets, Safe Families
Safe Pets, Safe Families is an organisation that is there to provide help to people with who are facing difficult, dangerous or crisis situations -- especially domestic violence.
“They’ve found that women sometimes won’t leave a situation because they won’t leave their dogs behind,” Yvie explained, “this service takes care of the pets until they get themselves on their feet, then they hand the pets back.”
Yvie said the charity also reaches out to those who are facing homelessness, struggling with mental illness or medical emergencies.
“The woman that started it had such an awful situation happen to her and to see her start this on her own,” Yviie said, “to turn it into something so positive… to win her $100,000 would be amazing.”