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29th of March 2011
Simon's message for the Pilbara Kids

STUDENTS in the Pilbara are learning more about one of the world's most insidious diseases through a new children's book, Simon Swan learns about Diabetes, created by the Kicks4Kidz Program.

Kicks4Kidz and North West Netball recently travelled to Yandeyarra, 130km south of Port Hedland, nearby Warralong and Jigalong further east, to promote awareness of diabetes, a healthy lifestyle, school attendance and literacy.

The Kicks4Kidz Program, sponsored by BHP Billiton Iron Ore and The Sunday Times, collects football and netball equipment for the children of the Pilbara and the Kimberley.

"Its fantastic to see children enjoying their reading. It's a great form of learning and very important for their development," Kicks4Kidz director Rod Willet said.

"They have a passion for football, so it encourages children to read and to have a better education that's what we're trying to achieve. Were hoping the book brings awareness of diabetes to the whole family."

Kicks4Kidz worked with more than 130 children, and as well as encouraging reading and learning, promoted football and netball.

"I'm sure they'll encourage their friends to come to school next time we visit," Willet said. "Books have been sent to primary schools throughout the Pilbara and the Kimberley, so hopefully we're already creating more awareness about diabetes."

Yandeyarra school principal Graham Bond said the book would have a big impact on the children.

"The message is clear and easily understood. It's one that needs constant reinforcement," Bond said.

"It's a simple explanation of diabetes. The kids are always in contact with the effects of diabetes in their families." The children were rewarded with their favourite footy cards, which were predominantly Eagles or Dockers, for correct answers about the book.

"We're working closely with the Western Australian Football Commission Schools' Program to develop a lesson plan about the book that we'll make available with the book soon," Willet said. n To donate to Kicks4Kidz, email rodwillet@west.net.au or visit www.kicks4kidz.com.au.

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