28 December 2021

Three boys taking on Mount Kosciuszko for improved maternity services in regional NSW, in honour of a mum and an aunty

| Max O'Driscoll
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Finnane boys

Ollie Finnane (6), Ted O’Hare (8) and Finn Gibson (10). Photo: Caddie O’Hare.

It’s a tragic story beyond the worst nightmares of most people.

Three days after the birth of her third child in December 2020, Torie Finnane passed away after contracting bacterial meningitis.

Her husband Liam Finnane was left with three kids to look after as he battled to deal with the loss himself.

Family, which are spread across NSW, rallied to support Liam and help out with the children.

Nearly a year after her tragic death, the family decided they wanted to do something to honour Torie’s legacy which led to the creation of the Torie Finnane Foundation (TFF).

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“Over the last three months, Liam and my husband Geoff (O’Hare) and Geoff’s other sister Caddie (O’Hare) have come together to form a foundation in her honour – to keep her name and legacy alive, but also to give back to the community that helped Liam so much in the last 12 months,” said Genevieve O’Hare, wife of the co-chair of the foundation Geoff O’Hare, and Ted’s (pictured above) mum.

The TFF endeavours to improve maternity services in regional NSW by providing nurses and midwives with professional development opportunities such as further training programs, courses and exchanges with metropolitan, tertiary hospitals to further develop their skills.

The hope is that these skills will then be brought back to regional NSW where they will be utilised and in doing so, improve regional maternity services.

The foundation also hopes to assist regional hospitals with the purchase of equipment.

Torie, a midwife herself, worked at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Camperdown for eight years. When she moved to Orange in 2018, she brought a variety of skills and knowledge to the hospital that it had otherwise lacked.

“Everyone needs to use that service at some point in their lives. Everyone has a mother, or a partner, or a sister or an aunty, someone that will have to go through this,” said Genevieve.

“To be able to help regional nurses get extra training or provide them with extra equipment, or just ensure that the hospitals have the support to try to keep up with their city counterparts, it would just mean the world to us.

“I think if we can help them with further education or doing an exchange to get them up to Sydney to see a bit more of that tertiary care that they just don’t get a chance to provide back here in the regions, I think it would just be so valuable,” she said.

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After the foundation was officially launched, the next question was how to begin fundraising.

With three young, active boys on school holidays, Genevieve had the idea to put a challenge to the trio to climb Mount Kosciuszko and all three were eager to contribute and get involved with the foundation, in any way.

Her eight year-old son Ted O’Hare lives in Wagga Wagga, Ollie Finnane, aged six lives in Orange and Finn Gibson, aged 10 lives in Sydney. It makes training for their walk together quite the challenge in itself.

“Here in Wagga, Ted has been doing a few walks around Lake Albert and we’ve been keeping him on his bike just to keep him moving. He really loves his swimming and has been playing touch footy too,” said Genevieve.

“I know Ollie up in Orange is a bit the same – he’s always on his bike. He and Liam recently did a six-kilometre walk over to their grandparents in Orange.

“They’re full of energy so I don’t doubt that they could do it – it’s more just keeping them on point and focused all the way there and back,” she said.

On 26 January, the boys will ride the chairlift to the top of Thredbo and from there, begin the 13 kilometre round trip to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko. The boys have already raised more than $6000 for the foundation.

To donate or to read more about Torie’s story, head to the TFF website.

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