8 November 2021

LEGO competition another building block in Can Give Day fundraiser

| James Coleman
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Belconnen Owl

The Belconnen Owl by 23-year-old Ewout Rohling from the Canberra LEGO User Group. Photo: Canberra Hospital Foundation.

Dr COVID-19 has donned a giant robot suit and is wreaking havoc on Canberra in the winning entry for a new LEGO competition.

The ‘Most Awesome Creation’ LEGO competition is just one of a festival of activities for ‘Can Give Day’, all raising funds to help the Canberra Hospital Foundation support more than 500,000 people receiving treatment in Canberra each year.

Locals of all ages were encouraged to break open the boxes under their bed and get building, taking photos and uploading to social media all the while so that friends and family could head to the site and donate.

READ ALSO Leo Sayer will make you feel like giving for Canberra Hospital Foundation’s Can Give Day Live

To ensure it was a level playing field, there were different categories for the different ages – under 12 years old, 12 to 18 years old, and over 18. The entrants would compete for Best-in-Show awards for each of the categories.

The young under-12 mastermind, known as JBC, took home $500 for his creation, called ‘Dr COVID-19 Attacks Canberra’. His goal was to raise $250, but the action-packed street scene ended up raking in more than $1700.

It depicts Dr COVID storming Canberra in a red robot suit, a pedestrian hostage in his grasp. In her yellow cape, ‘Super-doctor’ is quickly summoning health services as an ambulance rushes to the scene.

‘Mask man’ is presented as a David-like figure, approaching the Goliath robot with a handful of face masks, while ‘Super Sanitiser’ attempts to spray him down with two bottles of disinfectant. The aptly named ‘Vaccine Guy’ is running to help the onlookers, while others are queuing to get their jab.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr, Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith and Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman are also faithfully replicated in LEGO, fronting a daily press conference. Even the entrance of the Canberra Hospital makes an appearance.

Canberra Hospital Foundation design and communications executive Louiza Bloomfield said “what we lacked in quantity of entries we made up for in quality” … and the competition still helped raise money for the Hospital.

READ ALSO LEGO fans line up round the block for opening of new Canberra store

The first Can Give Day took place in late November last year, taking the form of a walk around Lake Burley Griffin, an outdoor breakfast event, and a whole host of other activities at the Canberra Hospital. There were plans for the same this year, but the foundation was forced to develop other ideas when COVID-19 restrictions returned.

One of these included a virtual singing competition performed via live stream to the Can Give Day website. The winner was chosen by 50 per cent judges’ votes and 50 per cent total donations raised.

Another of the Canberra Hospital Foundation’s usual fundraisers was curtailed due to you-know-what. The Canberra LEGO Users Group partners with them for the annual LEGO show at the Hellenic Club in Philip, ‘Brick Expo.’

But when this fell through, Louiza says they began to investigate moving it online.

“We thought, why don’t we pick that same sort of thing up and make it a community event – a way for young people and families to get involved during lockdown,” she says.

The Canberra Hospital Foundation supports health services across all of Canberra’s hospitals and health centres. Photo: George Tsotsos.

Ewout Rohling is a 23-year-old member of the Canberra LEGO Users Group and has been building with LEGO for “about as long as I can remember”.

“It’s always fun to build for these challenges, but I love building with LEGO and thought I might as well put this to good use and help raise some money for the hospital.”

Ewout wanted to build something typically Canberra but not stereotypically Canberra.

“I could have done Parliament House or Telstra Tower or the War Memorial, but all of those have been done before. I wanted to build something that is a bit of an inside joke for Canberrans.”

The iconic Belconnen Owl it was, raising close to $350.

The total funds raised from the singing contest, LEGO competition, and other fundraising events at the individual hospitals and health centres combined are currently up at $316,078, well above the initial goal of $250,000.

The Canberra Hospital Foundation funds additional equipment and resources that assist with patient care in public hospitals and health centres across Canberra. You can still make a donation on the Can Give Day website.

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