Of the 140,000* children living on the Gold Coast, almost one in three ended up in hospital in the past 12 months, some with dangerous infections, illnesses and life-threatening emergencies – and the Gold Coast Hospital Foundation is pleading for vital support to help these children.
The focus of this year’s Scrub Up September is children in hospital, supporting everything from the latest health research and purchasing medical equipment to assist with the treatment of children in a critical condition, to creating interactive play areas to provide much needed distraction in hospital.
“Everything we do is around reducing hardship, anxiety and stress about being sick and unwell,” says Vicki James, Gold Coast Hospital Foundation Fundraising Manager.
“There is nothing worse than seeing your child in hospital or one that is not doing well,” she says.
“Money raised directly helps Gold Coast kids who are experiencing medical hardship and being treated in local public hospitals and health facilities - it’s important to give this support as you never know when your family might need the same support.”
Katherine Wiltshire is one of the local families who has been assisted by Gold Coast Hospital Foundation. Her son, Thomas, four, was born three months early suffering a bilateral brain bleed – they weren’t sure their precious son would survive, and if it couldn’t get any worse, he was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
“There were times when we didn’t know if he’d talk or we would be able to have a conversation with him. It’s been a pretty difficult thing to have been faced with,” says Mrs Wiltshire.
“Thanks to Gold Coast Hospital Foundation and his medical team – as well as his tenacious spirit – Thomas has come leaps and bounds already in his short life. Just a few months ago we were able to remove the feeding tubes – so he’s able to eat for the first time.”
“We also got rid of his walking frame and he is now charging around the house.”
“Now we’re preparing for him to start big school in January – none of this would have been possible without the support we received.”
Ms James says Thomas is one of thousands of children who have been helped with generous donations to Gold Coast Hospital Foundation through campaigns like Scrub Up September.
“Thanks to our community raising funds, Thomas was able to borrow the specialist Leckey Totstander equipment purchased by Gold Coast Hospital Foundation to practice standing every day at home,” she says.
“Thomas’ progress of going from the totstander and other pieces of support equipment to now walking all by himself is phenomenal and shows the vital work we do raising funds to support Gold Coast Health staff, facilities and patients.”
The theme of the month is all about having a little fun and ‘scrubbing up’ for kids in hospital – and pre-schoolers, banks, gyms and groups of friends are just some of the Gold Coasters getting behind the initiative with fundraising activities that include squat record challenges, trivia nights, kids’ colour run and free dress days donning scrub hat and dressing up like doctors and nurses.
A number of Gold Coast businesses will be selling patient tokens throughout the month of September, highlighting the reasons children and their families find themselves in Gold Coast public hospitals.
Ms James says the Foundation is aiming to raise $40,000 this September and already Inside Out Health Club, Bendigo Bank, Earth Markets, St Hilda’s School and a number of Early Learning Centres are registered.
“We need more local businesses and groups to register for Scrub Up September to help young patients in our hospitals. We can’t do this without the support of the community.”
“These important projects will help improve patient care, quality of life and wellbeing for unwell or injured children at Gold Coast University Hospital, Robina Hospital and all Gold Coast Health public clinics.”
For more visit www.scrubupseptember.com.au