21 March 2023

Canberra Hospital Foundation launches The Care Unit, a new vehicle for gratitude and connection

| Dione David
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Canberra Hospital staff dressed as clowns with Canberra Hospital Foundation mascot Hearty

Canberra Hospital Foundation is all about supporting healthcare professionals to deliver exceptional levels of care. Photo: Canberra Hospital Foundation.

Denver Farrar and his wife Michelle were still about two months away from the due date of their first baby. But as often happens, the baby had different ideas.

Born at 31 weeks and four days, Zane was about the size of a coconut and weighed just 990 grams.

“Being parents for the first time is already overwhelming,” Denver says.

“Having a premie on top of that was pretty terrifying at times.”

During the nearly two months Zane was in Canberra Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Denver and Michelle watched as staff worked tirelessly to keep the tiny baby alive.

“The world of NICU was completely new to us,” Denver says.

“It opened our eyes to what the hospital provides when things get really tough. Not only treatment, but care.”

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Denver says he lost count of the number of times his breath was taken away by the work of the doctors and nurses under enormous pressure.

“Zane was often on oxygen and the CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine,” he says.

“Just the thought of putting a cannula in a baby that tiny freaked us out.

“A lot of the healthcare workers were mothers and fathers themselves. To deal with that as their job and then go home and be mums and dads … it was humbling.

“Hats off to them. I don’t know how they do it.”

When Zane, now a healthy seven-year-old, was discharged, Denver and Michelle decided to become regular donors to Canberra Hospital Foundation.

Canberra Hospital Foundation board member Matthew Whittaker dons the mascot costume Hearty

Canberra Hospital Foundation board member Matthew Whittaker is often inside the foundation’s mascot, Hearty. Photo: Canberra Hospital Foundation.

“We saw the level of care provided not just to Zane but the other babies as well,” Denver says.

“It’s hard work. Yet they come in so upbeat, and they make you feel part of the family.

“At the time for us, we couldn’t stay overnight. But they went above and beyond to ensure that when we walked in the next day, it was like we hadn’t missed a thing. It kept us going.

“Their work is never ending. So we wanted to contribute to the future parents who would go through similar experiences.”

As regular donors, Denver and Michelle have become foundation members of the newly launched The Care Unit – a team of people who give monthly to help deliver exceptional patient care to the Canberra community.

As with all foundation funding, the donations go towards specialised medical equipment, crucial medical research, therapeutic patient programs and refurbishments to help make hospital feel more like home.

Thanks to the generosity of the Canberra community through donations, philanthropy and fundraising efforts, many initiatives that enhance the patient experience and support healthcare workers have been undertaken.

Planned projects include a cancer wellbeing centre and support for a cancer research hub being developed in Canberra Hospital to help enhance patient care in the nation’s capital.

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Canberra Hospital Foundation board member Matthew Whittaker says giving monthly through The Care Unit helps the foundation fill the bucket for use throughout the year.

“By becoming a member of The Care Unit, you are joining a team of doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers who are going above and beyond every day for everyone living in Canberra and region,” he says.

“Almost everyone has had or knows someone who has needed to access public health care. The Care Unit is a great way to show their gratitude and give ongoing thanks for the comfort and care they have received.”

Matthew, who has spent many hours inside the foundation’s mascot “Hearty” helping to raise awareness, knows first hand how generous the people of Canberra and the region can be. He says The Care Unit will help make even stronger community connections.

“It’s a regular touch point to understand the people who are invested in this cause, and they in turn can see exactly how their money is being used,” he says.

“Having that connection also substantiates one of the foundation’s key goals – not only showing our valued healthcare workers our gratitude but supporting them as they continue to go above and beyond and, ultimately, delivering optimal outcomes for their patients.”

To join The Care Unit visit Canberra Hospital Foundation.

Original Article published by Dione David on Riotact.

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