The year that was from Lisa Rowe - Wishlist Org
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The year that was from Lisa Rowe

25th November, 2020

We all agree that 2020 has proven to be year like no other. 

A year that’s seen us all realise, in waves of astonishment and disbelief, that nothing is guaranteed … the overseas holiday you’ve been working towards, attending your daughter’s wedding, taking part in the Coast’s favourite annual fundraising appeal or even attending a loved one’s funeral.

We’ve been confronted by the reality of a health crisis not experienced by our generation and I certainly feel eternally grateful to call Australia, and in particular the Sunshine Coast, home.

We’ve witnessed triumph of the human spirit on a grand scale with moving gestures of kindness and unity featuring on social media and otherwise depressing news bulletins, and gestures of gratitude across the globe for the heroes of this awful year – our health workers risking all to save lives.

We’ve seen the Sunshine Coast again support it’s own by donating generously to Care Packs for vulnerable patients being sent home to quarantine or isolation, and gifts for staff of our hospitals to thank them for their service.

Our charity, and so many others, suffered a dramatic financial setback when restrictions saw  activities such as Mix FM’s Give Me 5 for Kids and Wishlist Spring Carnival cancelled.  But we were humbled and so very grateful to see the Coast give generously to our Wishlist Giving Day in August, raising $240,000.

Local heroes Mark and Tanya Martin of Narellan Pools auctioned another “Sam’s Pool’ – the annual tribute to their beautiful son Sam – raising $37,900 for “Give Me 5” and promising the lucky buyer they’d be swimming in their pool by Christmas.

Heritage Bank donated $10,000 to fund more Kits for Kids, an initiative started a year ago that sees Wishlist provide backpacks to children taken into out-of-home care through Child Protection.  Often these children leave home with nothing, so the backpack contains pyjamas, a change of clothes, books, a teddy bear, toiletries and a torch.  The torch is a big winner because most of the children are scared of the dark.

The Rotary Club of Caloundra Pacific generously provided $5,000 to support the cost of accommodation for families who are unable to afford the $60 per night fee at Wishlist House or Reed House.

Sunshine Coast Challenge Golf Inc donated a further $5,000 to Wishlist for priority needs of local hospitals, taking the total of their annual donation to Wishlist beyond $100,000.

The local Clown Doctor service with crafters Lottie and Margaret.

Ord Minnett donated a further $10,000 to support adolescent mental health patients, which we will hold until a project is identified by the team.

Our Tropical Escape raffle is in the final week, so far raising a record $22,400 for Wishlist.  I spent a wonderful week at Niramaya Villas & Spa, Port Douglas recently which resulted in the generous donation of a five night escape for six people.  I know the winners will have the time of their lives in tropical Far North Queensland.  We can’t thank enough the team at Niramaya Resort, Calypso Reef Cruises and Alliance Airlines for their generosity.

So it’s fair to say that we’ve started a “spendemic” in recent months thanks to the success of Wishlist Giving Day, grant funding and the support of our donors.

Thanks to Mix FM’s Give Me 5 for Kids, the Woolworths Wall Token appeal and the Children’s Hospital Foundation work has begun on the long awaited family room for the Paediatric Critical Care Unit.  The $185,000 project is scheduled for completion by Christmas and will provide a place of solace for mums and dads at the bedside of a sick child at SCUH.  Wishlist House is only a short walk from the hospital but we know that sometimes even that is too far away from your sick baby or child, so we’ve created this special space for PCCU, modelled on areas we’ve already fitted out in the Neonatal and Children and Adolescent Ward at SCUH.

We’ve recently extended the local Clown Doctor service for another two years and increased the visits from two to three days per week, thanks to Mix FM’s Give Me 5 for Kids and a donation from Armesto’s Transport.  This commitment of $370,000 ensures this priceless service continues at the Children’s Ward, Paediatric Outpatients and Emergency Department at SCUH until January 2023.

Heritage Bank presentation for ‘Kits for Kids’

We’ve delivered a $73,000 colposcope to Nambour Hospital to help reduce the waiting list of women awaiting further gynaecological screening.  Nambour Ladies Golf Club helped with this purchase.  Work is underway on the sensory garden behind Nambour Hospital, adjacent the Wellbeing Garden funded by Wishlist many years ago.

We’ve directed $9,964 to ATSI Health Promotion and education resources, provided a $7,150 express milk freezer for the neonatal unit, and bought a bariatric suit for the Patient Handling Education team at SCUH.

Intra-oral cameras have been funded for Gympie and SCUH, and there’s one on the way to Noosa Oral Health.

We’ve also just ordered some IPads for the residents of our Health Service’s only aged care facility, Glenbrook Aged Care – to be used as distractive therapy tools and to enable them to interact with family and loved ones via Skype.

$3,000 worth of books and resources has delivered Gympie Hospital a “Get Kids Reading Again” initiative.

We’ve extended the Music Therapy program at Dove Palliative Care at Caloundra for another three years thanks to donations to the service, a commitment of $123,000.

A major project we’ve been waiting to commence at Gympie Hospital has hit a snag, but we’re working with the Health Service to identify a work-around that will see a reduced size Rehabilitation Garden built for hospital patients at Gympie as soon as possible.

The Blackall Range Woodcrafters Guild continues to work with us to support dementia patients, and to keep the cost down on updating our honour wall in the reception of Wishlist at SCUH.

The Blackall Range Woodcrafters Guild giving resources to Nambour Hospital patients.

Our volunteers have been missed throughout our hospitals for most of the year, so we’re glad to see them returning. Wishlist accommodation facilities and Wishlist Coffee Houses operate largely thanks to volunteer support and we even have volunteer assistance in the office.  We have seen an extraordinary response to our call for help for Christmas Wrapping at Sunshine Plaza with almost every shift for the whole of December filled.

Volunteers have been in the office this week packing Care Packs, which we’ll be distributing to wards from Caloundra to Gympie for vulnerable patients on discharge from a local hospital. 

The packs are filled with groceries thanks to $1,000 from Woolworths, more luxury skincare products donated by Alpha-H, chocolates and snacks from The Happy Snack Company, toiletries from Colgate and Wishlist partner Mercure Lake Kawana, vouchers for fresh produce delivered to your door and two hours of free home support from Just Better Care Sunshine Coast, which might provide a house clean, or transport for a shopping trip or doctor’s visit.  Scentsy donated scented teddy bears, Nutworks (Ginger Factory) donated nuts and Wishlist partner Wealthmed donated a sea of jelly beans.

One example of a Wishlist Care Pack for a female paediatric patient.

Our Christmas fundraising activity is working to raise $70,000 for a range of equipment needed at the Opthalmology Service at Caloundra Hospital. This will add to the $430,000 worth of laser equipment that Wishlist and Ausmar Homes provided to the hospital in 2012, thanks to The House the Coast Built. Equipment that immediately reduced waiting lists, prevented Coast patients from having to travel to Brisbane and greatly helped with a world-wide recruitment campaign to attract opthalmologists to the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service.

As with all we do, the provision of this equipment will help facilitate easier access to public healthcare for Coast families and beyond. 

Whether it be through the provision of affordable accommodation in or near a local hospital, new equipment to help expedite the treatment process, the temporary distraction offered by a Clown Doctor or Delta Dog visit, or the benefit of knowledge gained by a nurse awarded an education scholarship – it’s all thanks to our donors and supporters.

PIC: Our therapy dog Norman visiting a patient this week.

We’re delighted by the opening of NightQuarter at Birtinya, the exciting “Eat Street” of the Sunshine Coast with live performances and immersive experiences, fabulous food and festive fun in the leadup to Christmas.  

ChristmasQuarter on the 6th, 10th, 13th and 20th December will help us all to bring on the festive spirit while raising funds for Wishlist at the same time.  Use code “wishlist” to redeem a 10% discount on adult foundation memberships and $5 from every adult membership helps our work.  The Coast is lucky to have this exciting out-of-the-box performing arts precinct on our doorstep so check it out as soon you can.

We’re also fortunate to have the likes of Wishlist partners Sunshine Toyota, Ausmar Homes, Wealthmed, McDermott Aviation, Quikcorp, Push Productions, FTA Accountants, TShopBiz, BOQ Buderim and Maroochydore, Mercure Lake Kawana, Mix FM, Butler McDermott lawyers, the Sunshine Coast Daily and April Ford on the Sunshine Coast.  Through their ongoing partnership with our charity these organisations contribute significantly to everything we do, and we could not be without them. They offer Health Service staff the opportunity to save time and money by bringing services to hospital campuses and they each invest significantly in enhancing local health services. We owe our partners a great debt of gratitude for their continued support of the Wishlist cause.

Let’s all enjoy this festive season and celebrate all the hope it brings. A long hot summer awaits our beautiful country and we all deserve some love and laughter with friends and family. May it fill your cup.

Merry Christmas to you all and thank you for your support of Wishlist.

Lisa.