RBWH Foundation Giving Day: 520,000 Reasons to Celebrate!

Tuesday 21 June 2022

A treadmill challenge on national television, featuring two former Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) patients, has helped the RBWH Foundation Giving Day raise more than $520,000 to advance patient care and life-saving research.

The 24-hour RBWH Foundation Giving Day, held on Wednesday 15 June, was kickstarted by Seven’s Sunrise program with weather presenter Sam Mac showcasing the work of RBWH health workers and clinician researchers. Sam also featured patients, past and present.

RBWH Foundation CEO Simone Garske said Giving Day’s fundraising achievement reflected the extraordinary trust and connection between hospital staff and the Foundation’s donors and supporters.

“The RBWH Foundation is so indebted and grateful to Australians for their outpouring of support for Queensland’s largest hospital,” said Ms Garske.

“It was truly an honour to share the incredible talent of our staff and feature emotional patient stories with Sunrise’s national audience.”

Fellow RBWH brain injury patients, Reece Crawford and Alexa Leary, provided an inspirational start to the day, running side-by-side in a triumphant demonstration of resilience and recovery.

Reece was seriously injured in a motor scooter accident in 2014 while returning home from work. RBWH not only saved his life but gave him inspiration to change careers and he’s now an RBWH Assistant Physiotherapist. Lex is a national junior triathlete champion, admitted to RBWH in July last year after suffering serious brain injuries in a horrific cycling accident.

Reece first met the Leary family when Lex was still unsure of her own name and learning to walk again. His experience gave the family hope that Lex would make a full recovery. The Learys have since raised $170,000 for RBWH through their national RBWH Foundation MoveForLex fundraising campaign.

The RWBH Foundation is also indebted to the fundraising efforts of Team Royal, with more than 20 staff raising over $1000 each.

“To witness the energy and enthusiasm of Team Royal, despite another demanding year, is inspirational and makes such a difference to the energy of Giving Day celebrations,” said Ms Garske.

Other highlights of the day included:

• A $20,000 donation by parents Mat Umina and Bianca Jones in honour of their 17-year-old son Nik, who died unexpectedly from epilepsy just over a year ago.
• The effort of individual fundraiser, Helen Woolley, from RBWH Nutrition and Dietetics who raised just over $4000.
• The enthusiasm and fundraising drive of Women’s and Newborn Services, with special mention going to Ashan Fernando who, along with his wife, baked and sold cupcakes raising more than $700.
• A shout-out to Allied Health which raised more than $15,000 with every sub-speciality involved in fundraising.
• Physiotherapy Department’s ‘Beat the Clock’ challenge pitting healthcare hero against healthcare hero on a variety of equipment including exercise bikes and rowing machines.
• A surprise $10,000 donation, live on Sunrise, from Followmont Transport in support of their employee, patient Glen Bennett, who was burnt in a semitrailer explosion two years ago.
• The efforts of RBWH Admin Services which raised an impressive $2000 through a staff raffle.
• The Giving Day Gratitude Tree: in full blossom with messages of support from RBWH patients, visitors and former colleagues

A full list of Team Royal fundraisers can be found online here.  

All funds raised on RBWH Foundation Giving Day will now be distributed through an RBWH Foundation Giving Day grant round. Details will be released in the near future.