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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.

Wishlist Funded – Lateral Arm Accessory

They say, ‘women come in all shapes and sizes.’ This couldn’t be truer for the Breast Imaging Radiographers at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, who this week received a very special piece of equipment, funded by Wishlist.

Although seemingly a small device, Senior Radiographer Pamela Cunningham explains how the $14,025 ‘Lateral Arm Accessory’ will make a very big difference to small breasted patients needing a mammogram guided biopsy within the Medical Imaging Department at SCUH. 

PICTURE: Pamela Cunningham, Senior Radiographer and Melanie Williams, Clinical Manager Radiology with the Lateral Arm Accessory, which attaches to the mammography unit.

“When a patient presents with a breast lesion, we could perform the biopsy via an MRI, Ultrasound or mammography, with the first preference always an ultrasound, as its more comfortable for the patient. However, if the lesions are particularly small or present as calcification’s, the patient is usually required to have a mammogram guided biopsy.”

 Mammogram Guided Biopsy as the name suggests is a procedure where the breast is compressed between two firm surfaces to spread the breast tissue, ready for an x-ray which guides where the breast tissue sample is to be taken.

“Commonly the lesions we are searching for are very small. It can be like looking for a grain of salt in a bowl full of jelly. Accuracy pinpointing the lesion and collecting a sufficient sample size can be difficult.” said Mrs Cunningham.  

Lateral Arm Accessory.

Patients in these circumstances have historically needed to be referred externally or would sometimes elect to go straight to surgery to have the lesion biopsied or removed.

“With the lateral arm accessory, our options have expanded. It is now possible for the biopsy to be taken from either side of the breast, rather than just the top. This makes the procedure more accurate and comfortable for the patient.”

“Our department really are excited that we have received this piece of equipment. It means that ANY woman who comes here for a biopsy under mammogram guidance will be able to have the procedure performed at SCUH, regardless of where the lesion is positioned or the size of their breast.” Mrs Cunningham said.

The Lateral Arm Accessory was funded by our Wishlist Regular Givers.

August update from Wishlist CEO

One of the positives I’m sure will emerge from a post-pandemic world is a renewed appreciation for the little things in life.

We certainly know at Wishlist that it’s the little things that count (not taking away from big donations… we love them too!) 

Wishlist Giving Day on August 20 was an outstanding success on so many levels, but the theme – give a little, help a lot – could not be more true.

To have raised more than $241,757 for our ongoing and future funding commitments is a great relief but there were so many other benefits from our first ever digital fundraising appeal. 

Our health teams rallied like never before for their foundation and we couldn’t be more grateful. Thanks to prizes donated by Mercure Lake Kawana and Infectious Clothing we had teams competing to raise the most funds for weeks prior. These were incredibly generous donations for busy teams devoted to long hours spent keeping patients alive and well. 

The Anaesthetics team at SCUH won by raising $9,550 and holding baby photo and “guess the number of needle caps in the bottle” competitions and a twilight charity run.

The Extended Day Surgery Unit at SCUH came a close second $7,677 and Nambour Hospital at $5,030. We had the paediatric team dressed up as presents and super-heroes and the team from MASH.

Photo: Extended Day Surgery Unit at SCUJH

Our business community not only donated $70,000 in matched giving funds, but sent their sales teams into the temporary call-centre at the front of SCUH to ring in donations.

Thanks to our corporate matchers Sunshine Toyota, Project Urban, Exemplar Health, Just Better Care, Protector Aluminum, IGA Maleny, Westpac Kawana, Forest Glen Bakery, Rockwall Partners, BDO, Medwell and Telstra Shops Caloundra, Kawana, Nambour and Birtinya we reached our initial target of $140,000 by lunchtime. Again, those who gave had their donations doubled by this proactive group of community conscious businesses and that went a long way towards our target.

Thanks to Ray White Maroochydore, Ausmar Homes, your local Telstra Shops, Wealthmed, Sunshine Toyota, Poole Group, Travel Associates and a number of our generous volunteers we surpassed our next target of $200,000, then $230,000 to reach the impressive tally of $241,757. Darren Venning from Sunshine Toyota matched every cent his sales team raised and won the title of most successful fundraising team – bringing in $20,070 on top of his contribution as a corporate matcher. A little time on the day helped us reach people we never would have and took us past our goal – twice.

Darren Venning from Sunshine Toyota – top fundraising team.

The team at 92.7 Mix FM devoted their entire day to Wishlist Giving Day, broadcasting from SCUH from 9am to 6pm and interviewing our health team, Wishlist supporters and donors. The exposure our charity received throughout the day was priceless and I’ve no doubt that the day would not have been anywhere near as successful without the incredibly generous support of Mix FM. 

This organisation has raised $5.5 million for paediatric needs across our local hospitals and has, quite simply, changed the face of local paediatric services in the most priceless of ways. They continue to dedicate the resources of the station to making the Sunshine Coast even better for our families and we can’t thank them enough for supporting Wishlist.

See the list of Top Fundraisers here.

So, thanks to you all, we’re now busy reviewing our long Wish List to ensure we continue all the important things that make life a little easier for our loved ones in hospital.

We have recently ordered three paediatric resuscitation trolleys for emergency departments at SCUH, Nambour and Gympie thanks to Mix FM’s Give Me 5 for Kids. To standardise this equipment saves time for staff who may not be familiar with the trolleys currently in use, and every child-size need is in one place. Little things, but very important when you’re racing the clock to save a sick or injured child.

We also ordered a blanket warmer for Ward 5D at SCUH thanks to a recent donation from the Heller Foundation. One of our team recalls a period in hospital where the only thing that kept her buoyed was the warm blanket the nurses would bring when she needed it most – a warm hug at a time of fear and sadness.

We’ve also ordered a bariatric training mannequin for staff of the SCHHS, and a bilaterial arm accessory for SCUH to assist with breast cancer biopsies. The bilateral arm was purchased with proceeds of Wishlist Melbourne Cup last year, with funds remaining from the fit-out of the sensory rooms at Breastscreen. The beautiful imagery donated by local photographer Ross Eason brings a sense of peace and calm to the rooms … little things.

Pic: Wishlist-funded Breastscreen updates at Nambour Hospital.

The unveiling of these rooms took place this month with the attendance of Buderim Foundation, who partnered with Wishlist on the project. This serene environment was also thanks to sponsors of the Melbourne Cup event – Spire Law, TShop Biz and BDO. 

$7,000 worth of resources for the Acute Restorative Care Unit arrived recently to help provide distraction from the clinical environment of the ward for patients with dementia. The equipment is part of suite of sensory enrichment resources to transform space within the ward with sound, images, music, lighting and colour – when the redevelopment work is complete and space permits. Until then we’re funding what we can to make a difference, thanks to the past support of Kruger Law, Just Better Care and Poole Group.

We’ve also funded $6,000 in promotional equipment and merchandise to support education and health screening for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, thanks to the Woolworths Wall Token Appeal, and we’ve just ordered another $9,000 more.

$4,760 worth of pressure cushions were delivered to the Community Chronic Conditions Service to help the physiotherapists determine the best long-term solution to preventing or healing pressure injuries.

The fine work of our physios is something our own Jeff McColl has firsthand knowledge of after experiencing a serious motorbike accident a few months ago. He’s finally back on deck after a lengthy healing period, and he’s become personally familiar with the wonderful work of our health team.

Our Care Packs were distributed to hundreds of vulnerable patients and the stories about how they were received have warmed us all. Nurse navigators advised one pack had broken through to a mental health patient in such a way that it enabled the team to work with him in ways that were seemingly impossible prior.

Pic: One of the Wishlist Care Packs

Reed House and Wishlist House have been busy providing accommodation to families needing an affordable option near SCUH and Nambour Hospital. We’ve had a mix of cancer patients from Gympie and beyond receiving ongoing cancer treatment, families needing to be close to a loved one in hospital and new mums with little ones in Neonatal who need to be close. Our volunteers at Reed House continue to provide a free shuttle service run to SCUH each day, as required by our guests at Reed and the stories of gratitude from those that stay in Reed House or Wishlist House are truly heartwarming.

One guest who stayed at Wishlist House recently called to express her gratitude for the warm bed, the sunny outdoor space and the company during her lengthy stay. She said staying at the house was far better than a hotel due to the company of fellow guests at the end of a long day at the hospital with her husband. The few minutes spent watching her children play on the lawn, in the sun, while she had a cup of tea with a new friend made the days endurable – and she is eternally grateful to everyone who gave her that gift.

Thank you for all you do for Wishlist.  Keep well.

Lisa Rowe – Wishlist CEO.


The Sunshine Coast community has rallied around Wishlist, helping raise more than $241,757.

Wishlist launched their first ever Wishlist Giving Day on August 20, a 12-hour virtual fundraising appeal to raise funds for Sunshine Coast and Gympie public hospitals.

Each year the Sunshine Coast Health Foundation directs more than $1 million to priority needs of the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service including vital medical equipment, services to support patients, emergency accommodation, plus funding research and staff scholarships.

This year, due to COVID-19, Wishlist has been forced to cancel the majority of their fundraising events, resulting in a loss of around $750,000 in fundraising revenue, but the need for equipment and service support remains.

Wishlist Giving Day 2020 – the SCUH Paediatric Team dressing up as superheroes.

Wishlist CEO Lisa Rowe said the digital fundraising appeal was unlike any Wishlist had run before.

“With most of our community events cancelled this year, our fundraising team have had to pivot to create this new and exciting fundraising appeal,” she said.

“We initially started with a target of $140,000 which was matched by our very generous corporate matchers including Sunshine Toyota, Exemplar Health, your local Telstra stores, Project Urban and several other amazing local businesses.

“That target was reached just after 12.30pm so we went into a Bonus Round to $230,000.”

Ms Rowe said she was thrilled and overwhelmed by the generosity of the local community, all the volunteers ‘hitting the phones’, and the number of health staff who fundraised through dressing up, raffles and even a late-night run around the hospital.

Darren Venning from Sunshine Toyota hitting the phones.

“The success of Wishlist Giving Day means we can continue our commitments including funding the local Clown Doctors service, yoga and music therapy, plus fund exciting new projects like the Family Room in the Paediatric Critical Care Unit to keep parents close to their critically ill child at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

“So thank you to everyone who gave yesterday. On behalf of the staff, patients and our team, we appreciate your support.”

The Sunshine Coast Clown Doctors, funded by Wishlist.


  1. Sunshine Toyota – $20,070 (56 donors)
  2. John Williams – $12,815 (33 donors
  3. Ray White Maroochydore – $11,435 (47 donors)
  4. Poole Group – $10,285 (34 donors)
  5. Ausmar Homes – $9,810 (30 donors)
  6. Anaesthetic Dept – $9,550 (61 donors)
  7. Extended Day Surgery Unit – $7,677 (33 donors)
  8. Team Nambour Hospital – $5,030 (40 donors)
  9. Aitken Legal – $4,750 (11 donors)
  10. Coastline BMW – $4,285 (7 donors)
  11. Worrells Solvency & Forensic Accountants – $4,100 (6 donors)
  12. Emergency Dept – SCUH – $3,854 (25 donors)
  13. Wealthmed – $3,726 (24 donors)
  14. Jarrod Bleijie – $2,930 (11 donors)

Sascha & Greg’s Story

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

Martha’s Story

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.”

Wishlist Accommodation – Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What accommodation does Wishlist offer?

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.

400 Care Packs to Vulnerable Patients

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.

I Remember When… 92.7 MIX FM’s Give Me 5 For Kids

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 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.


  • 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 House Eases Tough Time for Gympie Family

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 

Hugo’s story

Without saying a word Hugo Barnhurst could light up a room.

In his 10 years he touched many lives, with his comical nature and infectious smile.

Mum Abby Barnhurst said this became apparent to her and father Richard at Hugo’s funeral, just a few months after his 10th birthday.

Hugo was born with mitochondrial disease, which prevented him from talking and walking.

In October last year, during a family holiday to America with his parents and older brother Joshua, his condition began to deteriorate.

Hugo Barnhurst is being remembered as a happy boy with an infectious smile.
Hugo Barnhurst is being remembered as a happy boy with an infectious smile.

“I thought Hugo was just jet lagged … he was so lethargic,” Abby said.

“Little did I know, it was already happening, this disease was showing its ugly head.”

In the months that followed Hugo was in and out of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital’s intensive care unit.

On February 24 – after 84 days in hospital – Abby and Richard made the hardest decision of their lives, to turn off the ventilator allowing their son to breathe.

Abby and Richard with Hugo and Joshua Barnhurst at a ski resort in South Korea in 2013.
Abby and Richard with Hugo and Joshua Barnhurst at a ski resort in South Korea in 2013.

Abby said Hugo was remembered as a happy boy who could put a smile on anyone’s face.

They planned a small funeral, but quickly learned many nurses and Currimundi Special School teachers wanted to attend.

The British International School in Phuket which Hugo attended for his first primary school years planted a tree in his honour.

Abby said Hugo loved to eat, sing and dance and go for family drives or boating.

Hugo Barnhurst pictured in 2013.
Hugo Barnhurst pictured in 2013.

“As a family I think what this has taught us is not to neglect quality time,” Abby said.

“Hugo was quite comical and was always trying to make us laugh in his own little ways.”

The family moved to the Sunshine Coast from Phuket in June last year to have better access to health services.

Abby said she was grateful for the public hospital and Wishlist’s in-hospital Family Retreat so they had a room to be close to Hugo in his final months.

Written by Tegan Annett – Sunshine Coast Daily. 27th May 2020.