Staff member and Butterfly Mascot Lucy Mills (centre) with staff members Stevie Lombard (left) and Sally Clay and enjoying Sunshine Butterflies’ 10th birthday party.
Staff member and Butterfly Mascot Lucy Mills (centre) with staff members Stevie Lombard (left) and Sally Clay and enjoying Sunshine Butterflies’ 10th birthday party.

IN PHOTOS: Founder reflects during milestone celebrations

As the happy crowd celebrated Sunshine Butterflies' 10th birthday, very few knew the history of the disability support organisation, and how close it was to never eventuating.

In between the many birthday well wishers and congratulations, Sunshine Butterflies CEO and founder Leanne Walsh took a minute to look back on how far they had come.

With her husband Damien, Ms Walsh had the idea of creating a place for her son, who was born 13 weeks premature, leaving him with cerebral palsy.

"Having a vision come to life is a dream come true. Receiving thankful messages and positive feedback from our families is the icing on the cake," she said.

A challenging decade to say the least, the most memorable moment was purchasing the property "Our Backyard" - five acres of endless possibilities and opportunities.

"It was created for families like Damien and I, to know they can send their sons or daughters to a place where they can be themselves, always happy, always learning and mostly always safe," Ms Walsh said.

But it wasn't an easy journey by any stretch.

Pressures from local council, including a request to widen the road at a cost of approximately $250,000 meant Sunshine Butterflies was nearly over before it began.

"It was heartbreaking to receive letters threatening closure when we felt we were providing a much-needed community service," Ms Walsh said.

"I don't think anyone thought we would actually be able to achieve this."