For Greg and his wife Sascha, nothing could prepare them for the turmoil that 2020 would bring.
The free-spirited couple were doing what they loved most – travelling Australia with their camper trailer, when Greg suffered a stroke at their friend’s house on the Sunshine Coast.
Greg was rushed by ambulance to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH) where he was diagnosed as having a clot to the brain. For the next seven weeks, the 65-year-old spent his time in the stroke and rehabilitation units working to reverse the effects of the stroke.
With speech therapy and rehabilitation, Greg was able to regain his speech, movement slowly returned to his right arm and with the help of and AFO (ankle-foot orthosis) Greg was able to walk again. However four weeks into his treatment the couple received more heart-breaking news.
“After a month in hospital, Greg was diagnosed with cancer. He had tests done before the stroke and we were waiting on the results which came after the stroke.
During Greg’s treatment, they were able to stay at one of Wishlist’s accommodation facilities – a two-bedroom apartment gifted to Wishlist for patients and carers needing to be close to SCUH.
“We are so grateful for this accommodation. We needed to be close to hospital after he was discharged from the rehabilitation ward, we just wanted to be together and process the cancer diagnosis.”
The couple, who met 20 years ago in Colombia and have spent most of the past two decades travelling the world and Australia, are now living in Caloundra making the best of the situation.
“We are just taking it day-by-day. We’ll be here for at least the next three months trying to make the most of the time we have. It is what it is…”
Wishlist operates three accommodation facilities on the Sunshine Coast for those needing to stay close to a local hospital – Wishlist House in Birtinya, a two-bedroom apartment in Birtinya and Reed House at Nambour. For more information visit wishlist.org.au.
In early December 2019, Gympie resident Martha Parsons heard three heart-stopping words, which would ultimately change her life “You have cancer”.
Mrs Parsons has been diagnosed with stage three adenocarcinoma – lung cancer, with a one-centimetre tumor which had spread to 2 lymph nodes. Her treatment would begin with chemotherapy and a course of radiotherapy, which would need to be administered five days a week, for seven weeks.
For cancer patients within the Caloundra to Tin Can Bay region, radiation therapy is only administered at the Adem Crosby Centre within the Sunshine Coast University Hospital. Therefore, Gympie farmers Mr and Mrs Parsons were faced with lengthy drives every weekday for treatment, allowing two-hours travel time to attend appointments on time.
“With my first cycle of chemotherapy, the fatigue set in, with the radiation therapy I’m just tired all the time. Over the past couple of days, my bones – they just ache, it’s hard to walk or do anything. Not that I am one to complain,” Mrs Parsons said.
“All you want to do, is have your family with you… To have somewhere that you could stay, so close to the hospital and somewhere that the family could stay as well, would just be 100% the best.”
It’s not only the physical and emotional strain that is taking its toll, there is also a huge financial burden, with the pair having to stop work, in order for Mr Parsons to drive his wife to and from her daily treatments. “We have had to go on unemployment benefits, just the fuel alone in driving down here is insane” Mrs Parsons said. “We have talked about staying in a motel when I get really bad, but that means we would have to eat takeaway every night and we just can’t afford that”.
Mrs Parsons described Wishlist House as a huge help for patients in her situation. “To have a place like that, so close to the hospital with all the cooking facilities is just amazing” she said.
“It’s very mentally draining. All you want to do is have your family with you. You don’t know what’s going to happen, you don’t know if you are going to get cured. To have somewhere that you could stay, so close to the hospital and somewhere that the family could stay as well, would just be 100% the best.”
The pair thanked the local community for their support. “To contribute to something of this magnitude, in today’s day and age is just astounding,” Mr Parsons added. “For the community who have done all of this for Wishlist, for ordinary people like us; and we are just your normal ‘joe-blow farmers,’ to have a place like that where you can come down and be comfortable, so close to the hospital, your treatment is here and you will be able to have your family, it would be unbelievable.”
A: Wishlist offers three accommodation options for those needing to stay close to a Sunshine Coast hospital. Wishlist recently opened the six-bedroom, six-bathroom Wishlist House on Affinity Place in Birtinya – within walking distance to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH). Wishlist also offers self-contained units within the Reed House 20-unit complex in Nambour, and a two-bedroom apartment near SCUH thanks to a generous donor.
Q: Who can stay there?
A: Wishlist accommodation is available for patients, families and carers who need to stay close to hospital on the Sunshine Coast. All facilities provide a home away from home for both rural and remote Queenslanders, as well as locals.
Q: What disabled access does Wishlist accommodation offer?
A: Wishlist House closest to SCUH has a purpose-built wheelchair friendly bedroom and private disabled bathroom on the ground floor. Reed House closest to Nambour Hospital offers a self-contained apartment for special needs, as well as a lift and wheelchair access.
Q: Can I stay at Wishlist accommodation if I am undergoing chemotherapy treatment?
A: Yes, you are more than welcome to stay with us. Please bear in mind that our Reed House facility is better equipped for patients who may require chemotherapy spill kit and disposal management.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: Our usual rate is $60 per night, however if you qualify for the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme, this nightly charge will be covered by the scheme. We also offer fee exemptions for families who meet the criteria set by social workers within the Sunshine Coast Hospital Health Service.
Q: How can I get to SCUH if I’m staying at Reed House in Nambour?
A: Thanks to our wonderful volunteers, we offer a shuttle service for guests staying at Reed House who need to attend appointments or treatment at SCUH. Our volunteer driver will transport you to and from Reed House and also Nambour Railway Station if needed for travel.
Q: Why is accommodation so important to Wishlist?
A: Wishlist’s role since 1998 has been to make the hospital experience better for patient’s and their families. We do that to the tune of $1 million each year to fund vital medical equipment, support services like the local Clown Doctor service, staff education and research projects.
As the Sunshine Coast University Hospital is the region’s only tertiary hospital, many remote and regional families travel from Gympie and further north, as well as from central towns in Queensland, for medical treatment. At Wishlist, we feel it is important to offer ‘a home away from home’ to those who need it. We know that by providing affordable accommodation for families in a health crisis we’re lightening the load during a tough time.
There is no doubt that for most of this year Wishlist has seen beautiful displays of humanity as our world came to grips with the coronavirus pandemic.
Through the toughest times the local business community has ever faced, we have received a flood of support for our Wishlist Spreads Love appeal to help those who need it most.
There was an outpouring of love for our busy nurses, doctors, allied health staff and operational team through messages of support and thousands of donated goods to keep morale high.
While this has continued, Wishlist also shifted focus to helping patients in need who were struggling. It led to Wishlist distributing more than 400 Wishlist Care Packs to date, brimming with essentials and ‘extras’ for patients who need it most. Those patients have included an 18-year-old new mum who was facing homelessness with her newborn baby, elderly patients recovering from surgery or illness who needed a helping hand during isolation, plus renal, rehabilitation and mental health patients.
We realised so many are doing it tough at the moment and a little help can go a long way, particularly when you are recovering from illness or injury.
Thank you to the many businesses and donors who have supported this appeal including Just Better Care, Sunshine Toyota, IGA Marketplace, Push Productions, Quik Corp, Big Top, Sunshine Coast Grammar School, ALPHA_H, Happy Snack Company, Colgate, Worklocker and more.
Due to COVID-19, 92.7 MIX FM and Wishlist have cancelled all events which would usually he held as part of 92.7 MIX FM’s Give Me 5 For Kids appeal this June 2020.
Over the past two decades, you have helped raise more than $5.5 million for sick kids on the Sunshine Coast. Visit our website wishlist.org.au for details of how your donations have made difference and tune into 92.7 MIX FM throughout June to celebrate the many memories.
Of course, there are many ways we can make life easier for sick children and their families.
This year we still need your help to fund vital equipment and projects to benefit our youngest patients.
Please consider making a donation so we can continue to make a difference to the lives of countless kids & families.
Thank you to everyone who has played a part in 20 years of 92.7 MIX FM’s Give Me 5 For Kids.
2020 GIVE ME 5 WISH LIST
Paediatric Critical Care Unit Family Room which will have one bedroom, a bathroom, kitchenette and a fold-out sofa bed to help families stay together at hospital during a health crisis = $200,000
Diabetes Equipment to assist children at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital & Gympie – includes Blood Glucose Monitoring Equipment for loan to families and funding children to attend Diabetes Camps and other events = $10,300
Ongoing funding for the local Clown Doctor Service to bring laughter to sick children = $120,000 per annum, and Calm Fairies for them to help our youngest patients feel safe and calm = $13,000 per annum
Child Healthy Lifestyle Group Programs – an early intervention programme targeting “at risk” families and working to prevent long term health implications of childhood obesity = $1,999.75
Plus DVDs and iPads to use as distractive therapy during long stays in hospital, colouring packs used as a ‘boredom buster’ for kids in hospitals + more.
Just $5 can help sick kids, to make a donation visit wishlist.org.au.
Preparing for surgery is an anxious time for any parent, but mum-of-three Vicki Cunningham also had to contend with a 200km round-trip journey and two children undergoing surgery on the same day.
Thankfully, Wishlist House was able to ease the burden and the Gympie family were one of the first families to stay in the brand-new six-bedroom home within walking distance to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH).
“My two girls, Sophie, 6, and Felicity who is 13 had to undergo Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) procedures to get their adenoids and tonsils out,” Ms Cunningham said.
“Sophie has sleep apnea, she falls asleep at school and she stops breathing in her sleep, she really needed the surgery.
“My oldest was able to get her operation on the same day because she gets a lot of ear infections and tonsillitis.”
Ms Cunningham said her girls had been placed on the surgery waiting list two years ago and had to travel to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital from Gympie for the operations.
“We were told about the surgeries the week before, so it was really stressful to think about the travel and having it to be at the hospital so early. We planned to stay at Wishlist’s unit complex Reed House at Nambour and ere very lucky when they rang and said Wishlist House was open.
“I was so thankful to be so close to the hospital.
“We arrived the day before and checked in. The girls’ nanna (Vicki’s mum) came with us to help as carer and when we walked in – the house was so lovely.
“I loved the plaques on the wall and the stories about how the house came together.
“We live in an old house in Gympie so it was nice to walk into this brand new house and forget for a little bit about the surgery the next day.”
Ms Cunningham said the house would be a big drawcard for fellow Gympie residents who had to travel to SCUH for their child’s surgery or if they were seriously ill.
The family was able to book into the house for two nights prior to the surgery and a night for recovery.
“It’s quite traumatic preparing for your children to go under anaesthetic and knowing it will take a few days to recover. Unfortunately for us, my youngest put on bit of a turn and she didn’t get to have the surgery. I guess that’s what happens sometimes, so we’ll have to try again.”
Ms Cunningham, who is studying to help support those in aged care, said Wishlist House would help so many regional and remote families who have no choice but to travel long distances for healthcare.
For more information about Wishlist House – also known as The House The Coast Built – visit wishlist.org.au.
A travel-loving friend of mine recently declared that she’d
never complain about living at the “butt-end of the planet” again, nor the fact
that she felt so far away from the action of the UK and Europe.
I think we’ve all learned to appreciate our good fortune at
living in Australia when COVID-19 impacted the world.
We’ve seen beautiful displays of humanity as civilisation
was brought to its’ knees, and for the most-part I believe we should feel very
proud of how we’ve responded.
But then there’s those who have absolutely shone. Through the toughest times our business community has ever faced we’ve received a flood of support towards our Wishlist Spreads Love appeal helping those who need it most.
Through our appeal we’ve harnessed the sentiments of a grateful and generous community to thank our frontline health team, who have been heroes of the pandemic both locally and across the world. Thanks to Superior Food Services and Bulla we’ve seen thousands of choc top ice creams, and recently balloons and chocolates from iGenerate Marketing delivered to hospital workers across the Coast. The Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN) continue to provide vouchers for takeaway meals to healthcare workers after a long shift.
To support patients in the most practical way our charity is distributing care packs to our most vulnerable patients, on discharge from a local hospital and out in the community.
The care packs will be distributed to COVID-diagnosed patients, the elderly and frail, rehabilitation patients, mental health patients and new mums. We realised that so many are doing it tough at the moment, and a little help can go a long way, particularly when you’re recovering from illness or injury.
We’ve filled our first round of packs with gifts and items purchased by Wishlist with your donations, and donations from generous business and individuals.
IGA Wises Rd, Cooroy, Maleny and Head Office donated $2,000 worth of grocery items, Colgate donated boxes of toiletry items, the Happy Snack Company donated boxes of chocolate chic peas and fava beans, and Alpha H skincare donated thousands of luxury face cleanser, skin masks, sunscreen and cleansing cloths.
Big Top Shopping Centre has donated 10 care packs brimming with hundreds of dollars worth of goods, as has Sunshine Toyota – Wishlist’s long-term partner.
Wishlist partner Push Productions provided the boxes for the packs, and has signed on to cover the cost of Wishlist’s quarterly newsletter, Daisy Chain – saving us more than $10,000 each year.
Just Better Care Sunshine Coastdonated $20,000 worth of home care services, which could mean a free two-hour house clean, some shopping being done for a patient or simply some company over a cup of tea.
LINUS and CWA blankets and knee rugs are also included in
some packs, hand made with love for patients of our local hospitals.
Thanks to a $5,000 donation from Wishlist partner Quickcorp we’ve also included $30 vouchers for home-delivered fresh produce, and other items that show our patients a little love.
All donations to our appeal will go towards more packs to be distributed over the next few months across all hospitals from Caloundra to Gympie.
Wishlist partners continue their commitment to support the needs of the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health staff. As priceless partners of our work Sunshine Toyota, Wealthmed, FTA Accountants and BOQ Maroochydore and Buderim offer additional payments to Wishlist for Health staff business, and some of these “commissions” will be directed to supporting more patients in the months ahead.
Ausmar Homes pushed through challenging times to complete The House the Coast Built, that provides affordable, luxurious accommodation within walking distance to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH) to patients and families. 120 local businesses built this six-bedroom, double storey home for Wishlist for almost no cost, and this home – Ausmar’s third charity home project for Wishlist – leaves a legacy to benefit countless families during the health crisis of a loved one.
We celebrated the launch of the magnificent home at our Virtual House Party which you can view below, and thanks to hosts 92.7 Mix FM and media partners WIN TV and the Sunshine Coast Daily we reached an audience of more than 18,400 people.
We simply can’t thank enough the team at Ausmar Homes and
every business and family who contributed to the build, fit out and furnishing
of this incredibly large, warm and welcoming home that will be open for
business within days.
Adding to what they’ve already donated to help build The House the Coast Built through Mix FM’s Give Me 5 for Kids, Mick and Cherie Allwood of Capricorn Roofing have donated their two-bedroom apartment at Oceanside, on the lake opposite SCUH to Wishlist for the needs of families and patients.
Wishlist’s range of accommodation options is growing to meet
the needs of a burgeoning population and expanded services offered at SCUH.
Reed House, right beside Nambour Hospital, still serves the needs of cancer patients and others who need an affordable and comfortable place to stay to be close to Nambour or SCUH for treatment. We know the need for this type of accommodation will only grow, and thanks to Andrew Wallace MP and the Federal Health Department we have purchased land opposite SCUH on which to build Wishlist Solace Centre.
The multi-storey development will provide patient and carer accommodation, and offer space for collaboration with other not-for-profit and commercial entities that offer services to support patients through the hospital journey. Wishlist Solace Centre will also support Wishlist’s annual commitment to local research that benefits patients of the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service.
The website will be live soon showing more information about
this project, and how you can be part of something very special for our
community and areas beyond, such as western and central Queensland.
As a charity generously supported by the local business
community for 21 years we’ve used this time, where possible, to give back to
that community of supporters.
Rather than focusing on the normal wares of hospital kiosks, Wishlist have chosen to give local restaurants and cafes an opportunity to provide gourmet delights to Nambour hospital staff through the new Wishlist Coffee House Nambour enterprise.
it’s not the most profitable move as a charity-run café but we see an
opportunity to support the local restaurant and café industry, in a small way,
and offer Nambour Hospital staff the option of some amazing meals for the next
month or so.
Contributing weekly gourmet delights are Mercure Sunshine Coast Lake Kawana, Vista Restaurant and Deliciously Clean Eats.
We’ve also taken the unique step of offering WishlistConnect, our priceless membership app, to supporters for free until the end of July. This app is used by most local Health staff and enables local businesses to offer deals to Health staff and the wider community, and support Wishlist at the same time.
been distracted by COVID, along with the rest of the world, but we’re also continuing
the work we do to enhance local health services.
We’ve just ordered DVD players and Ipads for the Childrens Ward and two Buzzy Healthcare kits for Ambulatory Care thanks to Mix FM’s Give Me 5 for Kids last year, and $3,700 worth of TVs for Glenbrook House residents who have been isolated from family and friends for more than a month.
I must thank Harry and Margaret Reed for yet another donation that made these orders possible, and for all this couple and family has done for families of the Sunshine Coast and beyond.
really are lucky to be Australian, but even more so to be Sunny Coasters. There is no place like it.
for supporting Wishlist and for making life a little easier for patients of our
AN 18-year-old new mum who was facing homelessness after being discharged from the maternity unit was among the first to receive a care pack made possible by a local business.
While many businesses are suffering a downturn in sales, Coast manufacturer Quik Corp has donated $5000 to Wishlist to help locals in need.
The money went to creating care packs for vulnerable patients and support Wishlist’s work to purchase vital medical equipment and fund crucial support programs.
Made up of food items, vouchers, blankets and other miscellaneous items, Wishlist CEO Lisa Rowe said the care packs were helping hundreds of the vulnerable patients once they are discharged from hospital.
The young mum and a young family of four, whose parents both lost their jobs due to COVID-19, are just some to benefit from the care packs.
“These stories are not unusual unfortunately, but financial pressures are being felt even more so during this time, which is why Wishlist is giving care packs to those patients and families accessing health services that need it most,” Ms Rowe said.
Quik Corp managing director David Wardle, partnered with Wishlist for two years, said the donation came through a give-back promotion and was a way of paying it forward.
“We have been partners of Wishlist for two years now, and saw an opportunity to help during this health crisis,” Mr Wardle said.
“In December, we launched our new Bioweed Weed Killer into the Sunshine Coast market.
“As Bioweed is a healthier way to spray your weeds we thought it made sense to support the health sector.
“So we let our customers know that for every purchase of Bioweed, we would contribute to Wishlist as it’s such an important charity in our area.”
Ms Rowe said the donation was part of the Wishlist Spreads Love appeal, which has seen donations pour in to the tune of $10,733.
“During this time, people have lost jobs, there are very real struggles experienced by a large cohort of patients our staff are seeing in our local hospitals,” Ms Rowe said.
Check out the latest offer from Wishlist partner Get Wines Direct, just for you!
Get Wines Direct are known best for pioneering the Australian online wine industry and for bringing Australia the best online wine deals from across the country and across the globe.
They have a huge range of Australian and imported wines with a wine for every occasion usually at the cheapest price offered online. From some of Australia’s and the world’s famous wine labels to boutique small yielding lines their experienced buying team makes sure only the finest wines are selected for their customers.
Get Wines Direct have partnered with Wishlist as a Corporate Partner to allow us to continue to support the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service. Through their partnership we will be able to deliver high quality and engaging fundraising events throughout the year.