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Each year, the WCH Foundation invests over $1.5 million in South Australia’s best and brightest medical researchers, helping the Women’s and Children’s Hospital be at the forefront of specialised paediatric and maternal medicine.
Ten research grants were awarded this year to support PhD, Post-Doctoral and Fellowship research positions, as well as various specific research and project grants.
The WCH Foundation collaborates with the Women’s and Children’s Health Network to translate research findings into improved health outcomes for patients.
Cops for Kids, a local charity run by a passionate and dedicated group of current and former South Australia Police (SAPOL) employees donated $13,000 for equipment for the Laklinyeri Beach House.
With this donation, they reached an amazing milestone of $128,000 contributed to the WCH Foundation.
WCH Foundation fundraisers in the community are an integral part of the WCH Foundation and the money they raise greatly benefits the health and wellbeing of patients and their families.
The WCH Foundation has contributed over $750,000 this year to fund facilities and equipment for patients cared for by the Women’s and Children’s Health Network.
The WCH Foundation celebrated 10 years of the Arts in Health program with pARTy week!
The Hospital community partied with a wide variety of South Australian visual artists and musicians who shared their incredible talents, making pARTy week a week to remember.
Over the past 10 years, Arts in Health has brightened the lives of thousands of children in the Hospital, this year alone the WCH Foundation contributing more than $600,000 towards the program.
This vital program helps to relieve suffering, anxiety, and depression and improve hospital patients’ recovery. It focuses on encouraging creativity, providing moments of calm in a busy health environment, and easing the distress of patients and their families.
Artwork and activities serve as a distraction from pain and discomfort and contribute positively to the wellbeing of patients, their families and Hospital staff.
Over $130,000 was contributed to the WCH Foundation’s Family Support Fund, which provided more than 200 short-term financial support grants to families who were experiencing financial duress as a result of having a sick child.
The WCH Foundation works in collaboration with the Hospital’s social work team to identify families who could benefit from the Fund. It assists families from all walks of life, including those from regional areas.
The Fund helps cover costs of transport and accommodation related to their child’s hospitalisation, as well as maintenance of medical equipment to use at home, meaning that the impact of the Foundation reaches families all across South Australia, Northern Territory, Broken Hill and the Sunraysia Region of Victoria.
Thanks to the support of five corporate supporters; The Lott by SA Lotteries, Sodexo, Curing Homesickness, Coles, and the SA Power Networks Employee Foundation, the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Home Equipment Centre relocated to a refurbished and larger premises.
The Centre’s new location, at the entrance to the Samuel Way Building, provides more convenient access and easier parking.
Every year more than 1,200 families like the Bocks rely on equipment from the Centre to enable their children to be cared for at home rather than in the Hospital.
Amelia Bock (pictured) has an extremely rare chromosome disorder and has required oxygen tubes, replacement buttons for her feeding tube, extension tubes, syringes, IV sponges and adhesive remover wipes from the Centre.
This equipment means she can stay healthy and meet her milestones, and we can manage Amelia’s condition at home instead of being in hospital, which means less admissions for us, so that’s fantastic.
Thanks to the WCH Foundation’s generous community, over $270,000 funded family stays at the Laklinyeri Beach House this year.
It was always imagined that the Beach House would welcome families with children in palliative care or with complex medical needs, and this year it became a special space where bereaved families could continue to grieve and heal.
The Self family (pictured) stayed at the Beach House over Christmas which was the first time they had spent quality time together after their youngest son Felix passed away.
“The House is so much more than just walls, windows, beds and toys – it’s a place of memories, peace and joy,” Rebecca said.
“The way the home is laid out allows all the light to come in. Especially on a beautiful summer’s day, it is soul-renewing.”
Registered Music Therapist, Maybelle Swaney (pictured), provided Music Therapy to the tiniest babies and their families in the Hospital nurseries.
Maybelle partners with parents to provide a positive sensory stimulus for their babies and promote bonding experiences. This includes supporting families to create songs and lullabies, play music and sing to their babies.
Evidence suggests this helps to encourage attachment, support recovery and improve growth and development for babies in hospital.
Baby Freddy was born 10 weeks premature at the Hospital. His parents, Kara and Haydn, undertook the Music Therapy program as a welcome distraction from hospital life.
“In the first month, I couldn’t do much for Freddy. He needed to be in his incubator growing. So, to be able to focus on something else made it a lot easier,” Kara said.
CAR-T researchers’ cure for childhood cancer became one step closer to clinical trials.
The revolutionary therapy that homes in on and destroys cancer cells could soon be used to tackle hard to treat solid cancers, including those commonly seen in children.
The project, backed by the WCH Foundation, was developed by WCH researcher and Chief Medical Scientist, Professor Simon Barry (pictured), with Carina Biotech. In the past two years, great progress has been made toward making this therapy a reality for children and adults with otherwise incurable cancers.
Gifts left in Wills are a major source of funding for medical research like CAR-T at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Importantly, these funds enable researchers to pursue promising research leads that may otherwise go unfunded.
We are building receptors that can actively seek, recognise and destroy cancer cells… We could be looking at our first human trials getting underway in as little as 18 months.
Delta Therapy Dogs were one of the most welcome sights after COVID lockdown! They were reintroduced into the Hospital as part of the Collaborative Animal Assisted Therapy (C-AAT) program with the Paediatric Rehabilitation Department.
Delta Therapy Dogs, Harper and Teddy, help patients like 2-year-old Clara (pictured) to reduce their stress and anxiety, gain physiological and social benefits and improve their communication and social interaction to aid their recovery.
WCH Occupational Therapist, Mel Mason (pictured), said, “For any therapy to be effective, it needs to be fun, meaningful and motivating. Having access to the C-AAT Program has a significant impact on our ability as therapists to deliver rehabilitation to children.”
The WCH Foundation regularly collaborates with the staff of the Women’s and Children’s Health Network to fund their innovative ideas through grant rounds.
Upwards of $150,000 worth of grants are awarded each March and September and encourage WCHN staff to consider improvements to their areas, enabling them to continue providing the most brilliant care to families.
In the WCH Foundation’s latest grant round, we funded the development and improvement of culturally appropriate educational resources for Indigenous children diagnosed with cancer and their families, a support group for women from the Aboriginal Family Birthing Program (AFBP) and equipment like smokerlyzer units and breast pumps for the AFBP.
Culturally sensitive care helps parents feel safe to present to, and engage with, the Hospital, further benefitting their family’s health.
The WCH Foundation supported the creation of a ‘Butterfly Garden’ at the Women’s Health Services site in Port Adelaide. It is envisioned to act as a healing space both for clients who have suffered trauma and violence and for the staff that support them.
Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce symptoms of stress. This rests and calms the nervous system which is often severely impacted by trauma for victims of domestic and family violence.
The garden will benefit clients, doctors, nurses and social workers, allowing them to take a break from sharing challenging stories, offer a quiet space for therapeutic work, and help prevent vicarious trauma on staff.
Women with lived experience have often used the symbol of the butterfly to represent the healing recovery journey… so it's pretty special to be able to build this (Butterfly) Garden.
The WCH Foundation funded a project to improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable babies and their families in the Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU).
Having a baby in NICU and SCBU can be a very scary and distressing time for parents and siblings. This project recognises the importance of family-centred care and aims to develop and improve family connections and resilience during NICU and SCBU stays and facilitate a confident, safe and seamless transition home.
The project includes the placement of a parent representative with shared experiences to support families, the education of staff in infant mental health, as well as vital equipment to monitor the effects of noise on newborn babies.
Thank you to our generous community who have ensured we can continue to support our Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
Together, we can brighten lives, support brilliant care, and create a better future for the health and wellbeing of women, children and their families.