Plant sale by Leon Gietzmann raises critical funds for kids in need

April 15, 2021 |
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A charity plant sale in Toongabbie over the weekend has raised about $2,000 so far for children suffering from a rare form of dementia, as Western Sydney locals banded together and donated to a worthy cause.

Leon Gietzmann of Laing+Simmons Wentworthville coordinated the community initiative after a twist of fate saw him help Ingrid Maack purchase her new home off-market.

Ingrid is heavily involved in fundraising for the Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation and Leon had donated some plants for a garage sale she organised. Learning more about the cause, it really struck a chord, he says.

“Understanding the passion Ingrid has for raising money for this important community organisation, I realised that there was a way for Laing+Simmons to contribute as well,” he says.

Sanfilippo is a rare genetic condition that causes childhood dementia and fatal brain damage. Most children with the condition never reach adulthood.

Leon wanted to help in a way that was close to his own heart: gardening.

“I’m a green thumb through-and-through, and I run a plant swap group with nearly 400 members. I felt if I organised donations for a plant sale that the community would respond, and they did,” Leon says.

“I love all aspects of gardening and my garden is a place where I can be calm, find peace and take refuge. Thinking about the challenges facing these kids and their families, I felt that a charity plant sale made sense, as plants are simply and naturally beautiful, and can bring a sense of calm,” he says.

Laing+Simmons Wentworthville hosted the plant sale and barbecue on Sunday 11 April and over 100 people attended, enjoying a sausage sizzle, home-made biscuits and more. There were potted plants, garden ornaments, garden pots and all sorts of gardening paraphernalia on offer, and locals showed their generosity in droves.

Councillor Sameer Pandey played a major role in the day’s success, organising a mixed collection of 50 plants as a donation from Parramatta Council.

One hundred percent of proceeds went towards funding vital research to fight this heartbreaking form of childhood dementia and bringing hope to children and families supported by the Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation.

Leon’s initial target was to raise $1,500 but given the strength of the community’s response, he now has his sights set on raising $5,000 this year. To ensure the target is reached, Laing+Simmons Wentworthville will donate $100 for every sale Leon completes in 2021.

Such has been the success of the initiative, Leon plans to make it an annual event.

“The work of the Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation is vital and people like Ingrid are an inspiration. We plan to continue to help and hope to make next year’s plant sale bigger and better,” he says.

Get in touch with Leon on Facebook at facebook.com/LGietzmann to find out how you can get involved. Help out the Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation directly here: sanfilippo.org.au/donate.

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