National service provider Epilepsy Action Australia has been left with a $200,000 funding gap and an annual fundraising event in doubt as patron Dick Smith Holdings Limited goes into voluntary administration.
Chief executive Carol Ireland said the charity was gearing up for Purple Day activities starting this month and the electronics retailer was pivotal in sponsoring upfront costs and as a network to distribute fundraising merchandise.
“In itself, the potential demise of Dick Smith stores is a national tragedy," Ireland said.
"A sad side effect is it may severely affect the lives of thousands of men, women and children who have epilepsy.”
The Australian electronics retailer had grown to 390 stores when it flagged financial troubles and was put into voluntary receivership on January 4.
Senator Nick Xenophon has called for an independent inquiry into the corporate watchdog to determine how a business that reportedly made $520 million in 2013 had gone under.
Epilepsy Action Australia is the largest provider of education and support services to children and adults with epilepsy across Australia, and Ireland said they were begging for a new last-minute sponsor.
“This is a plea for help," Ireland said.
"Ideally, what we are looking for is a national retailer with a heart of gold that can hopefully step in to save the day but we would be grateful for any donation, big or small, to lessen the blow – it all makes a difference.
“On behalf of the 800,000 Australians that will experience the unpredictable and often debilitating effect of epilepsy at some point in their lives, we would be eternally grateful to anyone that can assist us."
Philanthropist and eponymous retail founder Dick Smith has long been known for his charitable donations and Dick Smith Holdings Limited also sponsors the the annual Variety NSW Bash, disability organisation Ability First Australia, New Zealand charity Computers in Homes and more.