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Announcement – Wishlist Giving Day on March 25 Featured

For the past two years, Harrison Higgins’ life has been a whirlwind of appointments and visits to eye doctors.

The cheeky four-year-old from Sippy Downs was referred to the Ophthalmology Clinic at Caloundra Hospital when his eyes started to turn inwards.

“We noticed that his eyes started to turn in gradually and then it just got worse over time so we thought we better get this checked out,” dad Daniel Higgins said.

After a range of tests and photographs, specialists found that Harrison appeared to have a scar behind his right eye.

At the time, doctors thought the scar could have been cancerous which prompted urgent calls to specialists in Brisbane.

“We went from his eyes turning in a little to the possibility of cancer in a matter of minutes – so it was very stressful,” Daniel said.

“In Brisbane they took more pictures and said that the scar could have been there from birth and they potentially may never have found it if his eyes weren’t turning in. We were obviously pretty relieved when we were told it wasn’t cancer and that they just have to monitor it.” 

Harrison then began his journey to correct the alignment of his eyes, which required a five-hour operation at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital last year to loosen the muscles at the back of bother of his eyes.

“He took a while to come out of the anaesthetic and his blood pressure was up. We couldn’t get him to eat or drink, and it was a very long six weeks of recovery. Harrison wasn’t able to go outside at all becuase he had to stay our of the light,” Danielle said.

“We had to make sure nothing could get in his eyes and then one of his stitches started to move around his eye which was a bit scary but we rang the clinic and thankfully the stitch did dissolve over the next few days.”

Harrison now wears glasses to help his vision and uses a patch to strengthen the muscles of his eye. 

“We just take things day by day,” Daniel said.

“We just wanted to get it right for him before he starts school and it’s just a work in progress I guess. Thankfully Harrison can do everything now – he is kicking the football and playing with his sisters. And we were lucky to get the surgery done before COVID hit.”

Several pieces of equipment ophthalmologists have used to treat Harrison at the Caloundra Clinic have been purchased by Wishlist, amounting to more than $430,000.

However, the service is growing rapidly with at least 40 patients treated at the Wednesday clinic each week, and half of those being paediatric patients.

The Neonatal service is also growing as the Sunshine Coast University Hospital is now able to care for younger premature babies and all infants undergo eye checks before being discharged.

The service is now in urgent need of $34,968 to purchase more ophthalmology equipment to help diagnose and treat patients with sight issues, as well as those presenting with eye injuries.      

PIC: Daniel and Danielle with Harrison.

“It’s really not until it happens to you or your family, that you realise how important your vision is,” Danielle said.

“Procedures change over the years and we were very thankful to get in fairly quickly. It was an anxious experience but thankfully the equipment is here on the Coast for kids like Harrison. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have to go to and from Brisbane for treatment.”

Wishlist Giving Day on March 25 will be raising funds for equipment to help young patients like Harrison.

Last year the Sunshine Coast rallied behind the local charity by ‘giving a little to help a lot’ and raised more than $240,000 which was spent on a range of medical equipment including a $72,365 Colposcope for Nambour Hospital, a portion of the $186,000 Paediatric Critical Care Unit Family Room, diabetes equipment and more.

Give a little, help a lot! Create your team today, and every dollar donated on March 25 will be DOUBLED thanks to our matching donors.

For more information visit www.charidy.com/wishlist

HELP MIRACLES LIKE LEON THIS CHRISTMAS Featured

Mum-of-two Ellie Hobby is no stranger to little miracles.

Her first-born Vinnie was born prematurely and spent weeks in the Neonatal Unit at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SUCH) in 2019, but there was no way Ellie and her husband Dane were able to prepare for their second son’s entrance into the world.

The family from Curra, north of Gympie, had to make the 110km trip to SCUH in July when Ellie started to experience contractions.

“We were out with friends in the afternoon and I thought I was having Braxton Hicks, so I didn’t think much of the pain as these were quite common during my pregnancy,” Ellie said.

“At about 7:30pm we decided to call SCUH to ask if we should come down to get checked out. Leaving home I still didn’t believe I was in labour until we were in the car on our way when the contractions started to get very intense. I felt the urge to push 30 minutes away from the hospital so it was a very quick drive down the highway.”

Within 14 minutes of arriving at hospital, Leon was born at just 33 weeks weighing 1940 grams.

“As he was born so premature he needed to go to the Neonatal Ward straight away. We spent exactly three weeks there where Leon was on a CPAP (to help Leon’s airways), treated for jaundice and learnt to feed and grow.”

During this time the Hobby’s were able to stay at Wishlist House to ensure they were close to their newborn.

“Wishlist House was amazing. Being able to stay at Wishlist House meant that my husband Dane and my son Vinnie were all able to be together.”

In fact, Vinnie celebrated his first birthday at the six-bedroom custom-built ‘home away from home’.

“Vinnie absolutely loved the kids playroom downstairs. It was a nice and close to the hospital to walk and I always felt it was a safe area. In what was a very long drawn-out three weeks it made it so much easier not having to travel back home and it meant that we could all still be together at night.

“I was still able to be there for my one-year-old with putting him to bed and then I could go back to the hospital and be with my newborn to feed him.”

Ellie said Leon has now been discharged from hospital and is thriving at home in Curra.

Wishlist CEO Lisa Rowe said the house – built by Ausmar Homes and more than 120 local businesses – has welcomed more than 43 families since opening in May this year.

“This beautiful new home is available for patients, families and carers who need to stay close to SCUH while undergoing treatment, surgery or emergency stays,” Ms Rowe said.

Guests may also be eligible for a travel subsidy if they live further than 50km of the patient’s closest public hospital or public health facility.

Wishlist is the Sunshine Coast and Gympie’s hospital foundation which funds vital medical equipment, services to support patients and families, emergency accommodation and innovative local research projects.

Donations to Wishlist go directly to the cause as Wishlist’s operational expenses are covered by commercial enterprise, such as the Nambour Hospital carpark.

Help a healthcare worker during Covid-19 Featured

You can help Wishlist spread love during this unprecedented time.

The Sunshine Coast community is pulling together and helping our local frontline health staff.

There are many ways to do this – from a message of support – to creating a virtual fundraiser!

We’ve compiled a list just for you. Please click here and thank you for supporting our local health staff who, without a doubt, will be pushed to the limit in the coming weeks and months.

“We are our finest when we take care of each other” – Katherine Center.

Reading Program Giving Patients Step Up

More than 200 books have been delivered to the Paediatric Unit at Gympie Hospital to improve the literacy skills of young patients.

The $3,000 ‘Get Kids Reading Again’ program was funded by local hospital foundation Wishlist, which supports the needs of Gympie Hospital.

Wishlist Development and Operations Manager Jeff McColl said the majority of funds were raised thanks to those buying coffee and lunch items at the hospital’s Wishlist Coffee House.

“This program came about because Paediatric Nurse Tanja Harris applied for a Wishlist grant to help her young patients improve their literacy,” Mr McColl said.

“We think it’s pretty great when health and education combine to create greater outcomes.”

Ms Harris said the books were now being given to children who visit the unit for treatment.

“Unfortunately, the Gympie region has a higher rate of developmentally vulnerable children compared to the Sunshine Coast – 30.4 percent compared to 21.8 per cent on the Coast,” Ms Harris said.

“So with this program, we will be helping children to develop their language and cognitive skills.”

Ms Harris said owner of Twiga Books Lorraine Broadley handpicked the books to ensure they were age-appropriate.

“Wishlist was very kind to donate $3,000 to us so we could help improve literacy skills and language skills.

“We are encouraging care givers to read to their children again.”

For more information or to donate visit wishlist.org.au.

Meet Sparkles the Coastal Caring Clown

We are lucky to have two clown services entertaining and providing a welcome distraction to our patients at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital. We caught up with Sparkles who is part of the volunteer group – Coastal Caring Clowns.

How long have you been volunteering with the Coastal Caring Clowns?

I joined the Coastal Caring Clowns 3 years ago.

Can you tell us a story of a visit to a memorable patient?

Pencils and I recently met a young girl of around 5 on the ward. She was quite shy to begin with. We showed her some magic tricks, then we had to leave as the nurses came in. She didn’t want us to leave but we promised that we would call back in after. When we returned, she was so animated this time round telling us stories of her dog, etc. When we had to leave, she burst into tears as she didn’t want us to leave.

Tell us something about you that others may not know?

I am a Grandmother of 8 grandkids whom I adore

What days do you visit the Children’s Ward at SCUH?

On a rostered Friday morning.

Meet Pencils the Coastal Caring Clown

We are lucky to have two clown services entertaining and providing a welcome distraction to our patients at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital. We caught up with Pencils who is part of the volunteer group – Coastal Caring Clowns.

Why are you named Pencils?

My clown name is Pencils as I was a teacher for many years and wrote all my lesson plans in lead pencil. I still prefer a good old lead to a biro pen any day. Especially the mechanical ones that are always sharp and ready to go.

How long have you been volunteering with the Coastal Caring Clowns?

I started officially in March 2018 and am passionate about what the group is all about. ie. Bringing sunshine into people of all ages lives even if for a second, with just a smile and a “Have a wonderful day” greeting.

Can you tell us a story of a visit to a memorable patient?

Recently we met a 15 year old teenage girl who said we “made her day” and she “loved” meeting us. She knew many jokes by heart and had us in stitches reciting numerous of her best ones to us to pass on. I always write the good ones down, in pencil of course, as kids love jokes. Here is one of them:

Question: What did the Science book say to the Maths book?

Answer: You’ve got problems.

Tell us something about you that others may not know?

I have a trombone and hope one day to play it as a clown as it is an unusual instrument that can make some rather funny sounds. I’ve had 2 lessons so far but I keep scaring my cat, and possibly the neighbours (in the next suburb). I may need a trolley to carry it around too. Also I’m not sure how to sing and play it at the same time as we sing songs most places we go. If anyone can help me I’d love some ideas please!

What days do you visit the Children’s Ward at SCUH?

We at CCC usually visit weekly on a Friday in teams of 3, though at the moment with some restrictions, it is fortnightly in pairs.

Meet Hootie the Coastal Caring Clown

1. What is your clown name?

They say that Owls are Wise, but I also see them as fun cuddly birds with big eyes, hearts of gold, lots of love, and always having a “hoot”. So I became “Hootie” the Owl in honour of these gorgeous birds who make me smile.

2. How long have you been volunteering with the Coastal Caring Clowns?

I have my 6th birthday coming up in March! I am so excited as I think when you turn 6 you are now old enough to start Clown School..

3. Can you tell us a story of a visit to a memorable patient?

I love all the jokes we hear, the “intrigue” reactions to our magic, the interesting chats with inspiring patients and their families, being in awe of the amazing SCUH staff, and the smiles bestowed upon us constantly. I also really enjoyed the talented teenage boy who serenaded us with his magical Guitar last month whilst in the hospital bed – his music touched my soul and I look forward to seeing him on Australia’s Got Talent one day.

4. Tell us something about you that others may not know?

My grandfather was “Mr Magic” on TV many, many years ago. My Father, sister and I have followed in his entertainment footsteps and now enjoy clowning together and using Laughter as the Best Medicine.

5. What days do you visit the Children’s Ward at SCUH?

Coastal Caring Clowns love to visit the Children’s Ward at SCUH on Friday mornings 😊

MUSIC THERAPIST SHINES AT DOVE

Thanks to your donations we are able to fund a music therapy service at Dove Palliative Care at Caloundra Hospital.

Our therapist Tracie Wicks has an offsider helping at the Unit until April, so we thought we would introduce you to music therapy student Katherine Anderson who is in her final year of her Masters.

PIC: Katherine Anderson, music therapy student at Dove Palliative Care

QUESTION:Tell us about yourself and how you came to being a student with Tracie at Dove?

My name is Katherine Anderson, and I am currently in my second year of the two-year Master of Music Therapy via the University of Melbourne. I am a Brisbane-based flautist, composer and music teacher, and my undergraduate degree was a Bachelor of Music (Honours), Majoring in Composition. So far in my masters degree, I have had two different placements with children and adolescents. I have done a fair bit of work with children outside of the degree, too, so I have been really hoping I would get the opportunity to work with adults this semester!

QUESTION: What do you love most about music therapy?

From before a person takes their first breath until they take their very last, music can have such a powerful impact on the brain and body. I love learning how to utilise the benefits of music listening and music-making in ways that can really help people.

QUESTION: Have you met any memorable patients yet?

I have only been at Dove for a couple of days, but I have been privileged to meet a handful of patients and their families. During these sessions, I was able to join in with the music-making and have even already added some new songs to my repertoire! So far, I have observed the ways music can bring moments of solace, reminiscence, connection, comfort, and relaxation to patients and families who are in pain and distress. I have seen couples share precious moments together, becoming teary and holding each other close while listening to or singing along to songs that have been pivotal or meaningful in their relationship. I have seen songs and musical genres inspire whole-family discussions about fond memories they have shared together. I see it as a great honour to have the opportunity to offer something so meaningful to patients and their families during such times.

QUESTION:When your placement ends in April, what do you hope to do after this time?

Once I complete this placement and the four subjects I am currently undertaking, I will only have one semester left until I become a Registered Music Therapist. Hence, I will be making the most of the time I have left here at Dove with Tracie and will be soaking up all her music therapy knowledge and expertise! Next semester, I will be organising an independent student placement, and so I am currently on the lookout for facilities which do not yet have a music therapist, and which would be willing to have me there for a day or two each week. In addition, I will be keeping an eye out for potential career opportunities for next year.)

ARMESTO’S DONATION TO CRITICALLY ILL KIDS

You never know when you or a family member may need the help of your local hospital. It’s a sentiment that has rung true for the Armesto’s family.

Sunshine Coast-based Armesto’s Transport founder Manuel Armesto was inspired to give to Wishlist after his 20-year-old grandson Tony suffered a brain aneurysm last year.

Wishlist CEO Lisa Rowe said with the family’s permission, their generous $30,000 gift had been directed to the Paediatric Critical Care Unit Family Room.

“The purpose-built Family Room is dedicated to the needs of parents and carers whose child is critically ill at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH),” Ms Rowe said.

“Last year we identified an area within the unit to establish a one-bedroom retreat with a kitchenette and family space so caregivers can have some much-needed respite but still be steps away from their loved one.”

Photo: Announcement of the Paediatric Critical Care Family Room

The $185,585 project will be similar to the Wishlist-funded Parents Retreat in both the Neonatal Unit and the Child and Adolescent Unit at SCUH.

“This project was one of our top priorities in 2020 and we are so grateful to the Armesto’s family for helping making this project a reality.”

The Paediatric Critical Care Unit Family Room will open to families at the end of this month.

If you would like to give a tax-deductible donation, visit wishlist.org.au or phone (07) 5202 1777.

Natalie’s story…

Each year more than 175,000 families in our region need emergency care at a local public hospital, and it’s a statistic many young families, like the Tink’s, know all too well.

“Both of my children have actually ended up in a hospital emergency department,” Mountain Creek mother Natalie Tink says.

“My son Kooper, he is now 11, but when he was four we had a terrifying situation where he couldn’t breathe and was turning blue and grey.

“He was swollen and he couldn’t talk so we didn’t know what was happening to him.”

Kooper had contracted a respiratory illness and was rushed by ambulance to Nambour Hospital.

“I felt totally unequipped and completely terrified,” Ms Tink recalls.

“Thankfully Kooper received the care that he needed and we were so grateful. It really rocked our world.

“It really hits home when you have kids. When something bad happens, you are at the mercy of what is available to you.

“When we walked out of that hospital, I came to realisation that this life-saving treatment cost us nothing – he had the best possible treatment at our local public hospital.

“From then on, I have always been of the belief that I would do whatever I could to help, so I became a supporter of the hospital foundation – Wishlist.”

Wishlist funds vital medical equipment, hospital accommodation and support services like the Clown Doctor service, Calm Fairies and therapy dogs to visit children at the Children’s Ward at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

Help make the hospital experience better for you and your family, join our community of monthly givers and make a regular $10 tax-deductible donation today.

Click here or phone 5202 1777 for more information.

Monthly givers can easily cancel their subscription at any time.

Join our community of monthly givers

One in four people globally will have a stroke in their lifetime.

In fact, more than 750 people received vital stroke treatment at a Sunshine Coast public hospital last year.

Dr Rohan Grimley sees the long-lasting effects a stroke can have on a patient and their family on a weekly basis, and it’s something he and his team are working hard to improve.

“If you count transient ischaemic attacks – what people call ‘mini strokes’ as well, we see close to 1000 people each year in our district alone,” Dr Grimley says.

“That’s why it is vital for us to keep investing in the best medical technology and treatments.

“The time from stroke symptoms to hospital treatment is so incredibly important. It is the only potential cure and can avoid disability if you are treated quickly.

“When a stroke happens, it can kill up to 1.9 million brain cells per minute.”

Dr Grimley said being a regional location and having a growing older population means there will be a higher rate of stroke on the Sunshine Coast and Gympie in years to come.

“We have been lucky enough to secure funding from our hospital foundation Wishlist to purchase life-saving medical equipment for regional patients in Gympie, as well as funding research programs to enhance the treatment of stroke patients on the Sunshine Coast.” 

Help Wishlist invest in stroke research. 

Join our community of monthly givers and make a regular $10 tax-deductible donation today.

Click here for more information. 

WISHLIST GRANTS OPEN

Did you know any staff member within the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service is eligible to apply for Wishlist grants?

Staff Scholarships and Project Funding grants are now open.

Staff Scholarships are designed to assist staff in attending relevant professional conferences, seminars and workshops (including inviting speakers to the SCHHS).

For several years Wishlist has provided $100,000 each year to the Staff Scholarship Fund, and this education funding is available for any staff member – full time, part time or casual, in any department.

To apply before the Staff Scholarship round closes on February 26 – click here.

Project Funding us available to support capital projects, new and upgraded medical equipment, service development, support projects and healthy ageing.

To apply before the Project Funding round closes on February 26 – click here.