23 November 2018

Canberra Hospital Foundation a fundraising dynamo for patient wellbeing

| Tim Benson
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Members of the Canberra Hospital Foundation team: Helen Fella, General Manager, Debbie Rolfe AM, Chair and Peter Munday, Board Member at the Red Hill Thai House restaurant.

Members of the Canberra Hospital Foundation team: General Manager Helen Fella, Chair Deb Rolfe AM, and Board member Peter Munday at the Red Hill Thai House restaurant. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

Since 2011, the Canberra Hospital Foundation (CHF) has raised more than $8 million to enhance ‘the hospital experience for patients and their families in the Canberra region’.

Last year the CHF raised $1.4 million and is well on the way to match, if not exceed, that for 2018, according to the Chair, Deb Rolfe.

Ms Rolfe – a partner at local law firm Maliganis Edwards Johnson, Barristers & Solicitors – has brought together a high-powered advisory board, made up of Canberrans who not only provide sage advice, but also are prepared to roll up their sleeves and get the job done.

“We owe these terrific fundraising achievements to the very generous and supportive Canberra community, our wonderful staff, and the time, professionalism and fundraising contributions of our very talented board members,” Ms Rolfe said.

In fact, the CHF has supported over $1.5 million in projects this year alone to improve the hospital experience for patients and their families.

Projects include:

  • Refurbishment of The Cottage – This refurbishment has made a huge difference to young people receiving mental health support.
  • Provision of comfort items iPads, DVDs, music CDs etc.
  • Art Therapy and Art and Health– Provision of art to improve the ambience of the hospital which can lead to reductions in anxiety and fear, temporary relief from pain, higher staff satisfaction, and a better connection with the local community.
  • Therapeutic Harp – Providing relaxation to patients and their families by using music to help alleviate anxiety, provide distraction and allow deep rest.
  • Delta Therapy Dogs – This program brings the joys of animal companionship to those who need it most.
  • Medical research – Growing and unlocking the health opportunities with data science; supporting effective translation of research from fundamental science to the bedside.

Apart from garnering the very generous donations, big and small, from people in the region, the CHF is the beneficiary of a number of major fund-raising events each year. These include:

  • Raffling a Volkswagen Golf GTI – The vehicle, supplied by Lennock Volkswagen, raised over $80,000 which supported the Adolescent Ward at Canberra Hospital. Two cars will be raffled this year with tickets on sale in July until December.
  • Give Me 5 for Kids– Held throughout June each year, this fun campaign has raised over $783,000 over six years for children at Canberra Hospital.
  • Dry July – Since 2009 Dry July participants have raised over $750,000 in the ACT to support people with cancer at Canberra Hospital.
  • Brick Expo – Canberra Lego Users Group and The Green Shed put 1.3 tonnes of Lego on sale, raising $41,808.50 to support paediatrics.
  • Woolworths BBQ – The Woolworths BBQ, which has raised an incredible $1.6 million since 2005, is held at the front entrance of Canberra Hospital every Thursday from 7.30am to 2.30pm. All proceeds are donated to Paediatrics at Canberra Hospital. The barbecue is run by Woolworths employees, both current and retired.

A major event set for 2019 is the Walk for Wellness. The CHF is looking to recruit 20 people to walk the Northern Territory’s Larapinta Trek in May to raise funds for a Wellness Centre for patients and their families who are affected by cancer, to provide a better treatment experience. Of the 20 places, 10 have already been filled.

“This will be a great experience for all of the participants and raise much-needed funds for a Wellness Centre for cancer patients and their families,” Ms Rolfe said.

She, with her husband Richard, recently hosted a small dinner at the Red Hill Thai Tea House with the staff and CHF Board to recognise the hard work and achievements of the team.

At the dinner, Ms Rolfe acknowledged the dedication of the staff and Board members.

“It is good to come together and acknowledge the great contribution of the staff and the Board to the success of the Canberra Hospital Foundation – but of course we can’t do anything without the enormous generosity of the Canberra public and business community,” Ms Rolfe said.

As Chair of the Canberra Hospital Foundation, Ms Rolfe seems to have got the formula right – great staff, a great Board and generous support from business and the community.

If you would like to volunteer or donate to the Canberra Hospital Foundation click DONATE.

The CHF is managed by an advisory board made up of 10 volunteer community board members and two ACT Health representatives. The current CHF Board members are:

  • Deb Rolfe, AM, Chair (Partner, Maliganis Edwards Johnson)
  • Tony Henshaw, Deputy Chair (Independent Corporate Director and contributor to volunteer/not-for-profit initiatives)
  • Susan Proctor (Founder at Proctor Legal)
  • Bronwyn Fagan (Principal Advisor at Proximity Legal)
  • Lynne Pezullo (Leader, Deloitte Access Economics health economics and social policy group nationally, and Managing Partner of Deloitte Canberra)
  • Peter Munday (Lennock Volkswagen. Peter Munday is a 2018 ACT Local Hero Award Nominee who over the last decade has raised millions of dollars for local charities through his business resources and personal connections)
  • Profesor Nicholas Glasgow (Retired Dean, Medicine and Health Sciences, College of Medicine Biology and Environment, and Dean, Medical School at the Australian National University)
  • Ian Thompson (Principal NOUS Group)
  • Ronnie Croome (Retired ACT Chief Nurse, ACT Health)
  • James Willson (Founder and Managing Director, Cre8ive)
  • Chris Bone (ACT Health representative)
  • Dr Tony Lafferty (ACT Health representative)

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