A Brisbane girl with a passion for helping sick and disabled kids, Pip Russell is making mammoth moves in the charity world. But don’t dub her a master of philanthropy just for the sake of it. Pip’s motivation runs deep and she is more than just a happy face on the tube.
Juiced TV is set to be an innovation in enriching the health and wellbeing of sick kids. A channel made for children, by children, the show will also be connecting kids and their families so they don’t feel alone in their journey. “They’ll have production meetings every week, and they’ll be able to give feedback on it through the website. The kids are busting to do double dares on the hospital teachers for the show,” Pip laughs. “We’ll organise weekly parties to film and there’ll also be one film day each week where the kids will host and interview guests.” Giving patients a stimulating resource to enhance their life while undergoing treatment, Pip Russell is determined to get these kids on the road to recovery sooner rather than later.
Once the host for children’s television shows Toasted TV and Totally Wild on Network Ten, Pip is no stranger to being in front of the camera for kids. She has spent the last four years producing Juiced TV, aiming to create an environment that kids won’t associate with negative experiences. “Kids instantly lose choice and control when they go into hospital,” Pip notes. “They have to do what everyone else says which is sad because kids are so carefree. I came from a great childhood with an awesome school and friends. It really sucks these kids are missing out, so I want to be able to help them.”
From aid work in remote villages of Africa to presenting a documentary on Australian Aid in Cambodia, and raising over $20,000 for cancer research, Pip has done enough volunteer work to guarantee good karma for life. After volunteering for the Children’s Hospital Foundation, she then looked at arranging parties. “We’d have parties on the hospital lawn with magicians and other performers and that’s where the idea came from,” Pip reveals. “I thought making this into a television show would be a great way to get other kids involved who were stuck inside or in other towns, and my experience in TV equipped me to actualise this.”
The production of Juiced TV will also go beyond the hospital walls with patients’ wishes coming true filmed for the show. “We really want the kids fulfilling their dreams,” Pip states, “whether it’s swimming with dolphins, going to a Broncos game or riding in a racing car. The aim is to keep their spirits high; to make them feel normal. We don’t need to highlight they’ve got a disability or are sick.”
Pip raised funds through crowd funding earlier this year, and impressively raised more than double her goal, reaching over $30,000. While half of that would’ve been enough to produce early episodes, she was in fits of both laughter and tears when $6,000 was raised in minutes as the story appeared on the Today Show. “People want to help but don’t know how. Juiced TV is tangible, so people can see where their donations are going.”
Following the pilot period in Queensland, Pip hopes to take the show national but she acknowledges that she can’t do it alone. “The biggest thing for us is gaining sponsorships so we can continue,” Pip declares. “We’d like to take it to more hospitals as soon as we can and I really need Brisbane to get behind it.” With Pip doing everything from public relations to web development, she could certainly use the help, be it with services or funding. Pip points out that she wants to make this a positive and fulfilling experience that benefits the kids and families. “We need sponsors to come onboard to help fulfil our mission of giving sick kids back their childhood.”