CHANGE-MAKERS: River, Aspen, Amarni, Arlo and Órla and mum Shay Thetford are proud to donate their birthday funds to such a good cause.
CHANGE-MAKERS: River, Aspen, Amarni, Arlo and Órla and mum Shay Thetford are proud to donate their birthday funds to such a good cause. Jessica Perkins

A family trend that is helping save the turtles

FORGET birthday presents, these siblings are donating their birthday party funds to help turtles at Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.

Shay Thetford said the family believed it was important to save the turtles and put money towards an organisation that was doing "so much to help our wildlife”.

"Since our children have been born we have been raising them to be eco-conscious, aware of reducing their carbon footprint and to be active and do more in society to help others,” Mrs Thetford said.

She said they offer each child a birthday party as a way to feel special for the day but they ask for donations in lieu of gifts.

"We want our children to appreciate the company of their friends or valuing friendship over material gifts,” Mrs Thetford said.

"It was only after visiting Quoin last year ... that we decided the better decision would be to use the party opportunity to seek donations as the gift so people could still give and they would be giving to a worthy cause.”

The trend began last year when their youngest daughter Órla turned one and donated $180 to the centre.

Last weekend Amarni, 7, followed suit and donated $277 raised from her birthday party.

And in a couple of weeks Aspen and Órla will have a joint birthday party and will donate as well.

Amarni said she was pleased to make her donation because turtles were "special creatures” and her favourite sea creature.

She hopes the money she donated will help staff purchase medical equipment and cleaning cloths for the turtles.

"I like helping them and I like releasing them,” Amarni said.

She said she wanted other people to remember to "pick plastic up from the beach”.

"If turtles eat it or other sea creatures eat it, they can get sick and they could die,” Amarni said.



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