Thank you - Donor Care 2017

Thank you for making a difference to the lives of others.

 Your support means the world to sick kids and their families and I want to share with you exactly how you are making a direct impact.

I joined the team at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation (WCHF) just over 4 months ago and already there have been many moments that make me proud to lead such a wonderful cause. 

However it’s writing letters of thanks, like this, to compassionate and loyal donors like you that gives me such pleasure. 

It means together we have achieved great outcomes for the kids and their families - the very people who rely on the Women’s and Children’s Hospital to care for them, heal them and in many cases save their lives.

At WCHF families are a vital part of everything we do.  We support them through our cause but we also partner with them in support of it.  Families come in all shapes and forms and that’s where you play such an important role.  Your compassion makes you a vital member of our WCHF family.

You’ve shown that your heart goes out to sick kids but you’ve also reached out to their families who go through deep trauma of their own.

Like courageous little Jenna and her family, who you’ll remember were devastated by the effects of Meningococcal.  Jenna was in hospital for five months. She lost all her fingers on one hand. The other arm was amputated just below the elbow. The doctors just managed to save her legs but she had 30 surgeries and 30 anaesthetics.

When we shared Jenna’s story with you, your response was immediate and I am thrilled to let you know your generosity, along with the other caring people who donated, has enabled the hospital to purchase a scanner for the Paediatric Emergency Department. 

Thank you so much!

Karen, Jenna’s mum was so pleased to hear that sharing their story generated such a positive outcome for the Hospital.  

She popped in for a visit recently after Jenna’s check-up with the Orthopaedics team at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and I was delighted to see them both along with Jenna’s Grandma Pam.

Jenna has become fast friends with Cloppy our resident ‘toy’ horse.  He’s a pretty good substitute for the real thing and whilst Jenna brushed his mane, Karen filled me in on how Jenna is progressing.

“Jenna’s going well since her last surgery in March.  The skin graft removed from her groin has been used in her hand, Serial Splinting it’s called, and it helps to extend the scar out as much as possible to stop her thumb from pushing into her hand.”

During their visit it was easy to see just how independent Jenna is.  She’s a perfect example of fierce determination, which she will need as she grows into a young woman.  Jenna’s Grandma Pam said the only upside of it happening at such a young age is it’ll be all she’s ever known. 

Jenna has so many challenges ahead of her but that won’t stop her from reaching milestones just like everyone else.

Jenna has just started kindy!

Karen tells me when she first started the other children had lots of questions but not so much anymore, “Jenna was a bit nervous and sad to be leaving me to start pre-entry kindy, I felt sad too but excited she was participating in normal activities like other children take for granted. The first day was frustrating as the teachers introduced Jenna to the group, 40 or so children turned to her and noticed her limb difference and just stared. A little girl near her even grabbed Jenna’s hand and asked where her fingers were.  I felt so bad for Jenna.  But the teachers are fantastic, they were unsure how much help Jenna would need initially, but once Jenna settled in she showed them she could feed herself at fruit time, pick up paint brushes and paint herself and even climb up the playground to go down the slide herself.  She now refuses help most times from them, only seeking them out when she needs to go to the toilet.”

For children like Jenna, life changes almost instantly when they get sick and are rushed into hospital.   It certainly did in Jenna’s case and that’s why it’s so important you know the power of the gifts you give.

Thanks again for helping to provide the equipment the Emergency team need to treat the kids.

You also supported families this year by donating to the PICU family facilities upgrade. 

Parents like Michelle and Michael know how important these rooms are because, suddenly, the hospital becomes their home – it’s the only place that matters when your child is there, fighting for their life.

You may remember their story…Michelle and Michael were overjoyed when they found out they were having twin girls. But then scans showed that one of the babies, Lily, was unlikely to survive. And that if she died, Lily’s twin, Summer – who shared the placenta – would be at risk of a fatal stroke.

Summer was in hospital for three months and Lily for eight. Eight long months including days and nights when Michelle and Michael didn’t know whether their beautiful little girl was going to make it.

You’ll understand there were times when they couldn’t possibly leave her bedside. They spent every hour possible with her. They saw other families – many who lived long distances from the hospital – do the same.

The overnight rooms are where the families of the sickest children stay overnight. It needs to be welcoming and comfortable and now because of you, that’s exactly what can happen.  You have raised the $85,000 needed to get this work underway.  Thank you so very much

A special thank you also to our friends at the Sabrina Mangos Foundation who donated $10,500 in support of this project.

A fantastic collaborative effort!

This project is now progressing, the plans have been completed and we expect the upgrade to be complete by this Christmas.

Michelle was delighted to hear this news as she knows firsthand the impact these renovations will have on other families like hers.  She was touched that Summer and Lily’s story inspired so many people to donate and filled me in on how the girls are progressing:

Summer and Lily just turned seven in June, we had a big lunch with family and friends and I made a ‘Fairy Barbie’ cake for Lily and a ‘Candy Barbie’ cake for Summer.

They’re both at school now and I feel like I can finally relax, feel happy and just enjoy my girls. Lily may need to attend a school for special needs children due to her Global Development Delay.  There’s more testing required now she’s at the right age and that will help to determine the extent of the developmental delay, but we remain positive and will continue to see her speech pathologist.

At the moment the girls are in different classes but on Fridays the two classes come together which the girls both enjoy.”

Michelle says they share the same group of friends and of course many interests, however they are definitely their own person! 

“Summer loves spending her spare time on the playground, where Lily prefers to spend time in the library. Summer loves Harry Potter and Lily loves Star Wars.” Michelle went on to say “both girls are really into roller-skating at the moment and got roller skates, helmets, knee and elbow pads for their birthday, they were so excited.”

Like you my heart goes out to families like Michelle’s and I’m pleased to hear they are so doing well.

Before I go I want to share a few more highlights of how you’ve helped the kids:

  • *   Because of you the hospital now has a brand new cooling device for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • *   With your help we were able to fund the first Play Therapy service in the Paediatric Outpatients Department
  • *   Your donation meant we were able to upgrade and re-furbish the Neurology Department
  • *   Your generosity enabled 7 new recliners to be purchased – 2 for the Rose Ward which will be
  •      used by breast feeding mums and 5 in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit which a parent or
  •      caregiver can sleep on, right next to their sick child

As you can see you really are making a direct impact on the lives of sick kids and their families.

Your donation changed someone’s life and I want you to know how grateful we all are.

Thank you for helping children like Jenna, Lily and Summer and the thousands of kids and families who use the services of our hospital year in year out. 

Your support means they can count on help being there when they need it most. 

Warmest regards

Jane Scotcher

CEO

Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation