The volunteers at public hospitals on the Mid North Coast gifted $240,000 in equipment and more than 88,700 volunteer hours in support of patients, doctors and nurses in the past financial year.
The remarkable figures were revealed at the United Hospital Auxiliaries of NSW North Eastern Region Zone Day, held recently at Urunga Golf Club.
The conference was attended by UHA and Pink Ladies representatives from Wingham to Coffs Harbour and west to the Dorrigo plateau, as well as the UHA’s State President Linda Swales.
The UHA volunteers purchased ultrasound machines, refurbished patient rooms, bought new equipment for operating theatres and Emergency Departments, electric beds, wheelchairs, ECG machines and much more, prompting words of encouragement and appreciation from the State President.
“We are challenged daily by requests placed on wish lists,” Mrs Swales said.
“We gladly take on those challenges. We fundraise longer and harder to accomplish the lists. The equipment presented to us from Health Managers is just not ‘I want’ – it’s equipment that is so very much needed to assist all.”
Mrs Swales added that the volunteers brought much more than fundraising to table.
“The positivity that we the members show with smiles and hours of dedicated fundraising certainly has a significant impact within our communities and on society, by just giving a little and having big hearts.
“Volunteering and fundraising is our core business and we do it well.
“We all volunteer for different reasons – doing good deeds and great financial outcomes, but we also draw out people who feel isolated within our community to join us. We all have something to offer. We understand this. We empower each other.”
Regional representative Dee Hunter of BowraMacksville branch also thanked the region’s 541 members and reflected on a year of achievements.
Highlights included the State Conference’s Honour Bell for the most money raised by a country auxiliary going to Coffs Harbour Pink Ladies, which raised a remarkable $1.39 million.
Life Memberships, the UHA’s highest award, went to two Mid North Coast members – Nita McKnight of Dorrigo who has held executive branch positions for 43 years of her 60 years as a hospital volunteer, and Helen Counihan of Kempsey who has given 20 years’ service and held executive branch positions for 16 years.
Port Macquarie Pink Ladies’ 158 members were thanked for their remarkable 16,718 hours of volunteer work and more than $27,000 worth of equipment.
Other outstanding achievements noted on the day included Nambucca Heads’ gift of $30,902 in medical equipment to Macksville Hospital, Wauchope Hospital Volunteers’ $22,940 in equipment and an amazing 884 volunteer hours from just 17 members, as well as Bellingen Auxiliary’s donation of an $8100 Pablo device to help stroke patients with their rehabilitation making Bellingen River District Hospital the first in rural NSW to have the innovative piece of equipment.
Guest speaker and Macksville Hospital’s Acting Executive Officer/Director of Nursing Janelle Goodall also thanked the volunteers on behalf of Mid North Coast Local Health District.
“The United Hospital Auxiliary and Pink Ladies are an exceptional group of people within our hospitals who embody dedication and care to all,” Mrs Goodall said.
“You devote your time to listen to people’s stories, you show compassion and empathy and you are highly regarded by all who meet you and have the honour of working with you.
“Where would our hospitals be without you?”