VIDEO: Families wrapped with Special Children's Christmas Party
CHRISTMAS came early for thousands of special young boys and girls, eager to play with friends, have a dance and the chance to sit on Santa's lap.
The Rockhampton Special Children's Christmas Party offered family's respite from their often raw day-to-day realities, and the chance to make memories with their children, brother or sister.
Despite the high-30s heat, countless kids raced around the Rockhampton Showgrounds, faces beaming and bags brimming with gifts.
Casey Bartlett attended with her son, Dylan, who she said was usually shy, but today was as excited as any other party-goer to socialise.
"Dylan, he's autistic and quite shy, but he's starting to come out of his shell, and we try to make it each year,” Casey said.
"He's noise sensitive, and he used to have to wear headphones, but as you can see he doesn't have to wear headphones anymore.
"So it's really good for him, the interaction with everyone and the sensory issues, we really appreciate it as well.”
Organisers explained parties and presents can often be difficult for parents and carers because of the high costs of having a child with special needs; medicines, wheelchairs, hydraulic lifts, special beds and chairs, bathing equipment and transport all adds up.
CQ Capras' new recruit Oliver Percy joined his teammates in handing out hoards of presents to the countless grateful children trucks, stuffed toys, remote controlled gadgets
"It's a really awesome day they've put on, all the kids are having a ball and getting plenty of pressies, I think it's awesome,” He said.
"It's good how the whole clubs there helping out... we sort of just all got told about it, and everyone's rocked up to help out.”
The annual event is often the only time these children could get together socially away from the hospital.
This reality was penned in a letter from a local school representative to organisers of last year's party.
"It is a wonderful event. Parents have said over and over how grateful they are especially when their child is very rarely (or never) invited to other parties, or other parties don't cater or allow for their child's disability.”
As in previous years, the party is supporting Ronald McDonal House North Queensland.