‘Pay it forward’ balloons bring joy

Birthday parties may be out during the pandemic but one recurrent house guest has likely attended more celebrations in the Macedon Ranges than anyone at this time.
A cheerful balloon garland has made its way to about seven children’s ‘iso’ birthdays and shows little sign of feeling flat as families continue to pass on the joy.
Residents have shared the garland’s travels on social media as they seek new families with pending celebrations to brighten in order to ‘pay it forward’.
Tylden’s Laine Shuffell unwittingly launched the garland’s social media fame after seeking a second home for the balloons that had brought joy to son Cooper for his third birthday on July 17.
“We posted on our local Tylden Facebook page, thinking I did not know how it would be transported and that maybe no one would want it anyway. That’s not what happened at all,” Laine said.
The garland has since travelled to Woodend and Gisborne and back to Woodend and has gained quite a following on social media with people excited to take the booking.
Laine said she was happy to see the balloons brightening birthdays for those who could not celebrate with friends and family. It’s the very reason she made the initial purchase.
“We wanted to make Cooper’s birthday as special as we could. Our friends and family had gone into the second round of lockdowns and his party had been cancelled,” Laine said.
“The balloon garland being so simple helped brighten our home and brought a smile to my son’s face.
“I’m really loving watching new posts and the garland being passed on to brighten other celebrations. People are trying to book it for different dates and trying to work it out so everyone can have it. It almost needs its own admin assistance!”
Initially unprepared for the garland’s adventure, Laine said she had since started a social media thread to keep track of its journey.

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