Walk through any Canberra shopping centre and it certainly feels a lot like Christmas. After a very fractured year, the Christmas ahead seems to be offering most of us a sense of normal life.
But for Canberrans who are stuck in hospital or undergoing long-term, hospital-based therapy, that sense of normal home life and Christmas Day gifts and giving is still a far-away dream.
For anyone looking to share a bit of Christmas spirit, the Canberra Hospital Foundation’s ‘Givemas’ is a great way to support patients and families who find themselves unwell and in hospital this festive season.
“Canberrans are a generous bunch,” says Canberra Hospital Foundation CEO Helen Falla. “So generous that we designed Givemas as a way for the Canberra Hospital Foundation to coordinate all the donations from our community.
“It has been a challenging year for everyone, but especially for our most vulnerable. A surprise gift from a stranger at Christmas time really does have a profound and lasting impact on patients in hospital.
“Knowing other people care about them makes patients feel so happy and cared for, and for children who are in hospital, missing out on the normal things about Christmas and them just wanting to be home, a gift really helps them.”
Helen says even older patients who can’t get out to the shops because they are in hospital can use a donated gift as a present for their grandchildren or other special people in their life.
“It means so much to them to still be able to give and share the joy of Christmas,” she says.
As part of Givemas, Canberra businesses are able to ‘adopt-a-ward’ and Club Lime has come onboard to support the hospital’s surgical division after a huge effort supporting the cancer ward in 2019.
“It’s important for us at Club Lime to give back to the communities in which we operate,” says Club Lime CISAC manager Emma Stockbridge. “We want to bring people together during the festive season and this is such a deserving charity, close to the hearts of many Canberrans.
“It was quite emotional dropping off two car loads of gifts to the hospital and meeting the staff last year. We knew we were making a difference.
“Even though everyone has struggled with COVID-19, we wanted to support the patients again. Following the fabulous response last year, we chose the division of surgery this year. It has a large number of beds, but we are confident the Club Lime community will rise to the challenge.
“Our members are so giving, and here at CISAC we have a wide variety of members and patrons from the pool and the gym, to hiit republic.”
Emma says all Club Lime centres have a Givemas tree, and club members and the general public can drop off a present any time the centres are staffed.
Unwrapped new gifts for all ages will be collected at any gym up to 12 pm on Thursday, 17 December, and delivered to Canberra Hospital on Monday, 21 December. Gifts will be distributed by the staff at the hospital.
“We are so thankful for the generosity of Club Lime,” says Helen. “They are very kind and caring and clearly wish to give back and want to help.”