How can I possibly find the right words to truly say thank you?
The past twelve months have devastated lives across the globe and, whilst in Australia we have, to date, largely escaped the worst consequences of the pandemic, the effects have still been traumatic for many people. Even right here in Greater Geelong, we have had to manage the pressures of lockdown restrictions, mental health concerns and social isolation.
In lots of ways, it is a year that we might like to forget; and just as we thought the New Year would bring peace, we were again reminded that this pandemic is not yet over.
The year 2020 did however come with many positive reminders; some that I hope we never forget. Last year reminded us of the importance of looking out for one another, telling the special people in our lives that they are loved, to take nothing for granted and above all, it reminded us that without our health and happiness, what do we really have?
In the toughest of days, it was the kindness of people like you, that really shone through I wanted to reach out and firstly say thank you. Thank you for the kindness you have shown to the Barwon Health Foundation during our most challenging year yet. I also want to provide an update on how your support has touched the lives of locals right here in Greater Geelong.
Reflecting on the past year I recall so vividly meeting Katherine. On a cold night in late March, in the line at the coffee cart, an initiative made possible by the community to provide free coffee to our healthcare heroes.
Katherine was an Emergency Department nurse. As she waited in line for a hot drink on her break, we chatted and I asked her how her shift was going, if the ED was busy, and how she was coping.
It wasn’t the shift or the workload she was worried about. She expressed her anxiety of when she might see her kids again as they were staying with their grandparents while she worked hard to keep her community safe. Immediately, we knew we had to continue to support health care workers throughout the entire pandemic, not just with coffee but with genuine comfort and care. And that’s what we have and will continue to do, thanks to the community generously supporting the Foundation.
We responded quickly to COVID-19 by establishing Victoria’s first Coronavirus Emergency Response Fund and I sincerely thank every single person who made it possible for us to support healthcare workers like Katherine, and to help Barwon Health prepare for the pandemic.
Through the generosity of the community, and especially the Percy Baxter Charitable Trust, we were able to purchase medical equipment, such as hospital beds and vital signs machines, so that a COVID ward could be established, fund world-class COVID-19 research and clinical trials and importantly, we were able to invest in essential health services such as mental health, cardiology and oncology to help our local health service.
When talking about the generosity of Geelong, the Costa family immediately comes to mind.
In June, a time where COVID-19 was at its peak, the Costa family generously donated $2.5million to establish regional Victoria’s first and only clinical trials centre, named in honour of the late Adrian Costa.
The Centre will help to facilitate more than 200 clinical trials and is already attracting interest from researchers nationally and internationally who urgently want to bring new trials to Geelong focusing on treatments for dementia, stroke and autism, just to list a few.
The Adrian Costa Clinical Trials Centre will open later this year and in the words of Paul Lightfoot who has been appointed as the inaugural director. ‘The Adrian Costa Clinical Trials Centre will bring genuine hope to patients.’ Looking ahead to 2021, our overarching aim is very clear:
To create a happier, healthier Greater Geelong.
This year the children of Greater Geelong will have their own dedicated rehabilitation centre, with construction due to commence this month! We still need more support to put the finishing touches on the project so we
hope the community continues to donate to our Kids Appeal.
With your continued support this year, together we will be able to:
• See the establishment of the Adrian Costa Clinical Trials Centre and bring cutting-edge clinical trials to our
community who need hope;
• Create a world-class interactive therapy garden and refurbish the Palliative Care Unit;
• Refurbish the Cancer Services Ba-Lee Lodges accommodation for patients travelling long distances for
treatment or those unable to afford alternative accommodation;
• Invest in mental health research and services through Barwon Health’s Change to Improve Mental Health
Centre for Excellence (CHIME);
• Raise funds for the surgical equipment needed for a post-COVID surgery blitz, helping to care for thousands
of patients whose elective surgery was delayed due to COVID-19; and
• Continue to care for our healthcare heroes, ensuring they know just how appreciated they are by the local
We have a big year ahead of us but nothing motivates us more than knowing that the people of Geelong, and the surrounding areas, deserve the very best health care.
I hope you will continue to support the Barwon Health Foundation this year as we work to create a happier and healthier Greater Geelong. Please take a moment to read how your donations have helped to support our community.
Barwon Health Foundation