Mighty River Run raises funds, awareness for Novita Children's Services

A flotilla of boats has been running up and down the River Murray this week, raising funds and awareness for Novita Children's Services.

Participants in the Mighty River Run left Tailem Bend on Monday and will travel up to Morgan and back to Mannum by Thursday night.

By doing so, they will draw attention to a non-profit organisation which supports about 3000 South Australian children, teenagers and young adults with disability, helping them discover their abilities and reach their potential.

Among those young people is Ava Vonthethoff, of Tepko, who brought her family to a clients' lunch at Woodlane on Monday.

She said she enjoyed her speech pathology and occupational therapy sessions in Murray Bridge, which included riding bikes, making friends, practising yoga, playing in the playground and kicking a footy, like her favourite Melbourne Demons.

Her mum Simone said the sessions had been an immense help as Ava learned to manage life with autism.

"The way she has progressed since has been amazing," she said.

"The therapy is so professional and so reliable.

"She actually asks when her next session is because she loves them."

Novita chief executive officer Greg Ward said the funds raised through the Mighty River Run would help buy equipment for clients and their families.

Gatherings like the one at Woodlane also allowed Novita staff to give something back to clients and their families, and to raise the organisation's profile.

"We've been serving these communities for 80-odd years and we're keen to keep doing it," he said.

"In the current environment, with the NDIS and all those changes, it's important that we keep our profile out there.

"We're still here and others like us are still here, working to do what we've always been doing."

The idea for the run originated with, among others, footballing great Russell Ebert, who attended the clients' day.

"John Riddell and Snowy Carter thought we'd been away on car odysseys a few times, we knew a few people with boats and thought we could reproduce that on water," he said.

"Anytime you can get back to the river and have a week on the river where everyone wins, we benefit children and families, you're on a winner."


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