30 September 2022

Big wigs, bed pans and Canberra spirit – Can Give Day's magic mix to hit $1m mark

| Dione David
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abseiling down a Canberra Hospital building 8

Test run – “Big Wig Challenge” entrants will don an actual big wig before abseiling down a hospital building as one of many spectacles staged for Can Give Day 2022. Photo: Liv Cameron.

The elevator is probably Deborah Rolfe’s first choice for descending tall buildings, but she will soon take a rather extreme alternative route.

The Canberra Hospital Foundation chairperson will join a group of Canberra community and business leaders in abseiling down building eight on Hospital Road next month for a special Can Give Day 2022 challenge.

The “Big Wig Challenge” will see each entrant raise a $10,000 entry fee and don an actual big wig before making the daring descent as one of many spectacles staged for the foundation’s third annual Can Give Day.

“Stepping off the top of that building will be difficult,” Ms Rolfe says. “But not nearly as difficult as what some of our patients face when going through treatments and searching for diagnoses in hospital.

“This is really the least I can do.”

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Can Give Day, Canberra Hospital Foundation’s major annual fundraiser, is an opportunity to celebrate the hard work of our healthcare heroes and help support patients and improve their outcomes.

The 24-hour giving day will see community members holding fundraising events across Canberra and the foundation staging activities centred on Canberra Hospital.

This year’s fundraising goal is to reach and exceed $1 million. It’s a lofty goal given the past two events combined raised $620,000, but Canberra Hospital Foundation CEO Helen Falla is feeling pretty good about it.

“The Canberra community is a generous one and this is a great opportunity to say thanks, so I hope we’ll get close if not exceed our goal,” she says.

“Bringing in some community and business leaders of Canberra, who will hopefully leverage their significant influence, will make a big difference.

“Every dollar raised this year will also be matched one for one thanks to this year’s ‘Change Makers’ – GIO, Capital Chemist,The Liangis Family, The Tall Foundation, Lennock Wolkswagon and the Rolfe Family.”

Canberra Hospital Foundation CEO Helen Falla and chair Deborah Rolfe

Canberra Hospital Foundation CEO Helen Falla and chair Deborah Rolfe say this year’s $1 million Can Give Day fundraising goal is lofty but achievable. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

From 10 am to 3 pm there will be a live radio broadcast from Hospital Road spruiking the day’s events, providing progress updates and holding interviews with various stakeholders – including some of the “bigwigs” as they land from their descent.

Activities will include the “Bed Pan Olympics”, a “Decorate-a-Bra” competition, a “Master Cook Challenge” headed by Canberra Health Services COO Cathie O’Neill and a “Rehathalon” (a combination of rehabilitation and triathlon with participants racing in wheelchairs).

Hospital Road will then be closed from 4 pm for the Can Give Day Street Party – an exciting new addition with music, food stalls and roaming entertainment.

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“We’re encouraging everyone to join in some shape or form whether that’s an online donation which they can actually make during the whole month of October, or by bringing, friends, family and colleagues together to stage a fundraiser on the day,” Ms Falla says.

“This includes not just Canberrans but people from surrounding regions as well.”

About 600,000 people access Canberra Health Services each year, with up to 30 per cent from surrounding regions.

“Everyone in the ACT is generally going to use the healthcare system at some stage in their life and will have friends and family using those services,” Ms Rolfe says.

“Our purpose is to improve the patient experience.

“We’re very lucky to have the support of Canberra Health Services but it’s functions like these where we get the money to help make that extra bit of difference.”

Canberra Hospital Foundation, Deb Rolfe

Deborah Rolfe will join other community and business leaders in the “Big Wig Challenge”. Photo: Liv Cameron.

The Canberra Hospital Foundation buys specialised medical equipment and helps fund important medical research, therapeutic patient programs and hospital refurbishments.

“Without days like this we would not be able to achieve what we do,” Ms Rolfe says.

“Throughout the past 12 years I have been fortunate enough to chair the foundation, I have seen incredible support and generous donations of time and money from the community. We’re very lucky to be in such a supportive environment.

“We’re asking everyone to come out once again, support us and have a great time doing it.”

Can Give Day is Friday 21 October – visit the webpage to find out more.

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