Coolum buskers raise funds for rare disease

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The ‘Shoplifters’ who are a group of friends who meet weekly to busk in Tickle Park and just have fun playing music, recently surprised a local family who is dealing with a rare form of cancer by donating their busking monies to the family. The Shoplifters started out busking in front of a coffee shop in Coolum – hence their name and moved on to play in Tickle Park last year and whilst entertaining passers-by, their case is always open with money collected given to local charities and causes. The Whitrod family set up the charity ‘Genetic Cures for Kids’ which aims to fund research into rare genetic diseases such as the one affecting their daughter Tallulah Moon. On a recent Wednesday morning in Tickle Park, The Shoplifters were delighted to present to the Whitrod family a cheque for $2,000. Photo: Contributed

Coolum musical friends and buskers, ‘The Shoplifters’ are using their musical abilities to not only entertain but to raise money and have managed to collect $2,000 for Genetic Cures for Kids – a charity that funds research to cure the rare genetic disease affecting a young Coolum girl Tallulah Moon.

The Shoplifters accumulate their busking money and once they have amassed a large sum a donation is made to a local charity.

Two-year-old Tallulah Moon moved to the Sunshine Coast with her parents Golden and Chris and big brother Finn to access the region’s specialist Paediatric services in an effort to combat ‘Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia Type 56’ (SPG56) – the progressive neurodegenerative disease that’s attacking her and has progressively taken away her ability to walk, talk and move independently.

However, the Whitrods were dealt a cruel blow and told by doctors that there was no current treatment or cure.

Tallulah’s parents started the foundation to fund ‘Genetic Cures for Kids’ to research and cure the ‘incurable disease’ affecting their daughter.  

“We quickly learned that there are very promising research opportunities out there to cure rare diseases, but it’s very expensive and until big pharmaceutical companies and government agencies adequately support the research, it’s up to families to come up with the money,” Mrs Whitrod said.

While establishing Genetic Cures for Kids and its associated campaign ‘Our Moon’s Mission’ in 2021, the Whitrod’s filmed a short video to tell their story, and whilst doing so, The Shoplifters were busking ain Tickle Park on the day of the shoot.

Musician Jim Tannion noticed the family dancing to their music with the camera, however it wasn’t until December 2021 when the charitable foundation launched, that he saw the film about Tallulah’s plight.

“My friend rang me and said ‘I think you’re in this video’ and sent me the link. We had no idea what it was about but when we learned about this family’s fight to cure SPG56, we knew we wanted to help raise some funds for this precious little girl,” Jim said.

Tallulah’s dad Chris Whitrod said the Shoplifters’ heartfelt fundraising effort took them completely by surprise.

“We were walking up from the beach one morning and stopped to listen to the music and when the band stopped and suddenly said our charity’s name and started talking about Tallulah, we almost fell over,” Chris said.

Fellow musician Les Kirkbride said the record fundraising effort ran over two months during the school holidays and the community response was amazing.

“We’ve fundraised for a plethora of charities over the years but people really responded to Tallulah’s story. We thought we’d try to raise $1,000 but when we reached that and the momentum was there, we knew we could keep this going,” Les said.

Les said the Shoplifters had not only raised important funds, but also lifted the spirit of the community and raised important awareness about rare genetic diseases and SPG56.

“It’s been amazing to meet Tallulah and be part of her journey through raising this money with the community, as well as putting good vibes out there,” Les said.

Jim said the Shoplifters would continue to play at Coolum’s Tickle Park each Wednesday and Friday morning from 8am to fundraise for community groups who need their help.

“We love what we do, we love where we live and we love our community,” Jim said.

“We may be in our 70s, and the hippy shake is more like a hippy break now, but it gives us a whole new lease on life to help people like Tallulah Moon.” Jim said.

To donate to Genetic Cures for Kids and help find a cure for Tallulah Moon Whitrod please visit –

More information about the Whitrods and Tallulah Moon can be found via –

Young Tallulah Moon Whitrod enjoying the music performed by Coolum buskers, ‘The Shoplifters’. Little Tallulah is battling a rare genetic disease and funds raised by The Shoplifters will go towards finding a cure for her genetic disease. Photo: Contributed

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