For 28 years, the Townsville Hospital Foundation has been helping the local community by better equipping the hospital both in terms of life-saving equipment and friendly faces.
When Karen Inch started volunteering at the old General Hospital in 1984, little did she know she was sowing the seeds for the Townsville Hospital Foundation. Officially founded in 1989, the Foundation now has over 130 volunteers, including Karen!
“Our volunteers range from 16 right through to 90 and come from all different backgrounds, each with their own personal reason for giving back,” says Townsville Hospital Foundation’s Marketing and Volunteer Coordinator Megan King.
“From married couple Alan and Betty, who volunteer in the Cancer Clinics after Alan’s own cancer journey, to Georgia (a high school student wishing to study physiotherapy) – everyone has a place here at the hospital.”
Dubbed the ‘Sunshine Staff’ because of the yellow shirts they wear, Townsville Hospital Foundation volunteers are there to have a friendly chat, point you in the right direction, or help you get back to your car after surgery.
Left: Karen and Celeste Top Right: Volunteer Brittany Dewdney chatting with Cancer Centre patient Bottom Right: Volunteer Sandy Byford providing bedside convenience trolley service
The Townsville Hospital Foundation also has three staff and is governed by a board that consists of local business and health identities who volunteer their time and expertise. Together, everyone strives to raise funds for, and awareness of, the Foundation’s important work.
“Over the last decade, THF has funded close to two million dollars in projects, with the largest sum being $1.2 million for the redevelopment of the Children’s Ward,” Megan says.
“This included adding seven new beds to the ward’s capacity along with state-of-the-art 3D interaction equipment, new furniture and all the little extras that help children feel more at home.”
The Townsville Hospital Foundation has also funded ground-breaking research, surgical instruments for cardiac surgery, a resuscitation trolley, cuddle cots (so mothers can spend time with stillborn babies) and smaller but no less important items such as TVs, chairs and toys.
Over the last decade, THF has funded close to two million dollars in projects, with the largest sum being $1.2 million for the redevelopment of the Children’s Ward.
“Our main focus is to provide those extras that wouldn’t normally be funded – chairs so parents can be close to their kids and comfortable, garden beds so long-term patients can feel at home, therapy and rehab equipment so people can go home sooner. Every item that we fund is requested by the health professionals that understand how big of a difference these little extras can make in the healing process,” Megan says.
“We’re 100 per cent local, so you know all money raised will stay here in North Queensland to assist the Townsville community and our surrounding neighbours. The more we can invest in our local health facilities the less we will hopefully have to send local patients to Brisbane for treatment.”