New monitor helps patients 31/01/2019

ATHERTON Hospital staff and patients had a heart-stopping moment recently, when a new cardiac testing device arrived, courtesy of the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation.
Hospital Emergency Department acting nurse unit manager Karina Walther said the $7600 blood pressure monitor would be used regularly on patients with suspected cardiac problems.
“Nurses take blood pressure on a patient while they are walking/running on a treadmill, continuously holding onto the treadmill,” Ms Walther said.
“This makes it very difficult to hear, as there is a lot of external noises. The doctor or nurse then needs to focus attention on the machine to input the blood pressure results. Through this new machine, we are now able to focus on the patient the whole time, as this machine automatically takes the blood pressure through a microphone inserted in the blood pressure cuff. This documents the data into the test itself, leaving the nurse and doctor to focus on the patient,” she said.
“This little device will bring much relief to our nurses who strive to provide the best care of our community.”
Foundation CEO Tony Franz said it was important to support equipment requests from outlying hospitals such as Atherton.
“The funds for this equipment actually came about through the profits from our commercial operations, and it is really wonderful to hear how purchases like this can make a real difference to patient outcomes,” Mr Franz said.
“Equipment like this doesn’t cost a lot of money, but if it makes the job of caring for patients better and easier, then it’s a great outcome for everyone,” he said.

Photo: Nurse Jennifer Whitmill, Dr Betty Tawake and patient Justin Hall.


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Work starts on cath lab 22/01/2019

CONSTRUCTION of the second Cardiac Catheter Laboratory at Cairns Hospital has started.
The $2.8M facility, jointly funded by the State Government and money raised by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, will allow an extra 577 cardiac patients to be seen each year.
Donors to the Foundation were joined by the Member for Cairns, Michael Healy, Health Service Deputy Board Chair, Luckbir Singh, Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe and Director of Cardiac Services, Dr Greg Starmer, as they were given a tour of the construction site.
Mr Healy said the project showed the government’s and community’s support for the hospital.
“The community’s $1.4M in donations to the second Cardiac Catheter Laboratory for Cairns Hospital is a credit to the people of Cairns and Far North Queensland,” Mr Healy said.
“Combined with the State Government’s matching $1.4M investment, we’re now starting to see the fruits of our labour.
“The new laboratory will expand the hospital’s capacity to treat cardiac patients closer to home, employ more staff and provide new services for the region.”
Ms Duncombe said the community's generosity and the Foundation’s advocacy was a tremendous benefit for the Health Service.
“We had $423,000 in donations towards the Cath Lab in a short space of time, with some donations in excess of $100,000. The community really got behind this project,” Ms Duncombe said.
 “Combined with funds from Cardiac Challenge, Car for Cardiac, Christmas Wrap and The Power of Pallets, it shows how serious, and how committed the community of Cairns and Far North Queensland is to having top quality medical services at Cairns Hospital.”
Dr Greg Starmer said the Cardiac Unit had an exciting year ahead.
“When the second Cath Lab is finished, we will be able expand our capacity to offer specialist diagnosis and treatment of abnormal heart rhythms and prevent sudden death by implanting defibrillators, cardiac resynchronisation and ablation procedures,” Dr Starmer said.
“It will also provide additional capacity for cardiac angiograms and angioplasties, including for acute heart attack patients.
“We now have an electrophysiologist working full time, and this year we will be starting new research in conjunction with the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, complementing the 12 multinational research programs the unit is currently involved in.”
The Cardiac Catheter Laboratory is expected to be completed mid-2019.

Photos: Pete McNally, Judi Phillips and Trish Sexton check out the construction site that will be the second cardiac catheter lab in a few months.

Cairns Hospital cardiology director Dr Greg Starmer, Member for Cairns Michael Healy, Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe, Cairns Hospital chief executive Clare Douglas and Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service board deputy chairman Luckbir Singh.



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Investment a win for health 21/01/2019

NEWS of the Federal Government’s $60 million injection to help create the Cairns University Hospital has been welcomed by the local charity that has been agitating for the move.
Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation chairman Dr Ken Chapman said he was delighted with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement late on Friday and by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s matching commitment over the weekend.
“This is a big step towards achieving what we have been working towards for some time – a full, tertiary level University Hospital for Cairns.   It is why we fund specialist equipment and facilities like the electrophysiology cardiac catheter laboratory which will get that unit to tertiary level and why we are supporting medical research locally which is needed to achieve university hospital status,” Dr Chapman said.
“This commitment is what the people of Far North Queensland deserve. The Sunshine Coast, which has a very similar catchment population, has a stunning new university hospital and people living in this area also deserve that level of care,” he said.  “We know how much this means to the community and the strong support and very generous donations to the Foundation particularly for tertiary level facilities like the Cardiac Catheter Laboratory shows how strong the community support really is.”
He congratulated Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch, as well as Advance Cairns, James Cook University and the Hospital Board for their advocacy and leadership and thanked the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition for their support of this wonderful initiative.
“Of course the Foundation now has to step up and further increase our support of vital medical research into local medical problems in a unique tropical region and so support a world class University Hospital and while continuing our funding of advanced specialist equipment.  We are confident the community will continue its support and with our many active volunteers, donors and supporters we can make this happen.”


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Foundation hits new landmark 15/01/2019

ENORMOUS generosity and hundreds of volunteers have helped the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation achieve a record year for fundraising.
The Foundation posted a record operating result of $2.35 million during 2018-18, 56 per cent above the previous year financial year's result of $1.51 million.
In its annual report, tabled in state partliament in December, the Foundation also reported unprecedented and record growth in fundraising $887,230 during the year, which represented a 68 per cent improvement on 2016-17.
"The Foundation's strong performance during the year enabled the organisation to enact the strategic objective of building a strategic reserve and growing the balance sheet to be in a position to fund bigger strategic projects, particularly to support new and improved services and progress towards the goal of Cairns Hospital becoming a full service tertiary university hospital," the Foundation said in its report.
Foundation chairman Dr Ken Chapman said helping the hospital achieve tertiary status was the charity's mission during 2019.
"I understand it's like a 5-10 year goal, but that is our mission and the community of Cairns wants that," Dr Chapman said.
"The community of Cairns has shown a willingness to support the Foundation, to put thier hands in thier pockets, to volunteer to participate in events, and I think with that spirit and that will, we're going to get there," he said.
During 2017-18, about 100 Foundation volunteers contributed more than 24,763 hours of unpaid labour to the Cairns Hospital.
Hundreds more Foundation volunteers leant their support to fundraising events during the year, devoting a total of about 11,114 hours.
Dr Chapman said there was an extra 750 volunteers within the community who donated their time to help in fundraising endeavours, such as the recent gift wrapping stall at Cairns Central.
He said on top of this, there had been enormous generosity from donors, including local philanthropist Joyce Swinton who gave the Foundation a total of $550,000 towards several projects, including the second cardiac catheter laboratory.
"For the second cath lab campaign, the support from the community was incredible, how people came in and wrote big cheques," he said. "A lot of people had no publicity, but were still writing $50,000 and $100,000 cheques because they wanted to see the cardiac unit get to tertiary standard - and that's going to happen."

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You can ring our bell 15/01/2019

THERE was no mistaking Brian Buffington had completed his six months of chemotherapy treatment for leukaemia this week.
The 79-year-old from Mossman was the first patient to ring a new bell installed in the Oncology Day Unit at the Liz Plummer Cancer Centre in Cairns, signalling the end of his treatment.
“There’s only one word to describe it, ‘exhilarating,’ it’s been a long haul and it’s good to give it up and I’m privileged to ring the bell for the first time,” he said.
Previously, patients only had access to a very small bell on the reception desk in the unit but they can now mark their special milestone with a large bell, donated by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation. It includes a plaque which reads:
My Turn to Ring
By Ringing this Bell  
Three Times Really Well,
I Signal to Say  
On this Very Day
My Treatment is Done,
This Course Is Run and
I’m On My Way.
Jennifer Faulkner, the Oncology Day Unit Nurse Manager said the Cancer Care Centre provides approximately 1150 cancer treatments a month and it’s wonderful to see patients able to celebrate the end of their treatment.
“The staff in centre are very dedicated and passionate about their work and often become very close to their patients as treatment can go on for months or years,” she said.
“This new larger bell helps our patients to share the joy of reaching a significant milestone and it is a reminder their treatment only one chapter in their lives not their whole story.”
Mr Buffington said he would be celebrating the end of his cancer treatment by going on a cruise with his family to mark his 80th birthday in June.

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Investing in health staff 19/12/2018

The FNQ community is investing in the education of one of its most valued resources – doctors,  nurses and allied health clinicians.
Through the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, $42,252 has been invested in more than 40 staff of the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service, and the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service.
Foundation CEO Tony Franz said this year we received a record 73 applications, with 43 applicants approved to receive up to $1500 each to go towards approved courses or educational opportunities.
“Funds for these education grants come from general donations received, and also profits from our commercial operations that we operate,” Mr Franz said.
“The Foundation sees investing in our staff as a vital aspect of what we do and we are thrilled that so many came to us this year, with a view to accessing these education grants to further their own skills,” he said.
Cairns Hospital memory clinic senior psychologist Denise Craig (above left) used her education grant to attend a bioethics and health law conference.
“I was grateful for the opportunity to present the outcomes of an “end of life law” education series and enrich my own knowledge of the research and perspectives of others,” Ms Craig said.
Her role within the health service is primarily one of supporting people living with dementia to live to their post diagnosis potential and “get on with the business of living”.
 “It is always important, as a clinician researcher, to share knowledge, potentially motivating others to improve services and patient outcomes and perhaps even to conduct their own research. I sincerely thank the Hospital Foundation for this opportunity,” Ms Craig said.
Cairns Hospital Ear, Nose and Throat unaccredited trainee Dr Lyndon Nofz (above right) used his education grant to travel to present research at a conference featuring international delegates.
“My research involved unique case studies of patients I had seen during my time at Cairns Hospital that presented a diagnostic and/or treatment dilemma, Dr Nofz said. “Presenting the case studies at the Australasia Laryngology Conference helped me understand the disease process and treatment options better, and allowed me to discuss it with national and international colleagues,” Dr Nofz said.

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Help patients like Tony 12/12/2018

TONY Brunetto had never heard of a surgical microscope before falling 2.5m while painting his house.
But significant leg and elbow injuries means he now knows quite a lot about the benefit of its use.
He has thrown his support behind the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation’s call for help to buy the latest technology surgical microscope.
He suffered a broken and dislocated right elbow and compound fracture of his right leg in the accident and previously had only spent a couple of hours in hospital.
“I think I’ve racked up about 18 hours of surgery now including about six hours of plastics. They took a skin surface from my thigh, muscle tissue from the back of my leg and combined it to make what they call a flap, which sits on the wound,” Mr Brunetto said.
“If I had to go to Brisbane to have this done, I would have had to wait longer with a greater risk of infection and complications in my leg, which could have meant much more complicated surgery  and possibly not as good an outcome,” he said.
“While I dislike being in hospital, I’m not in Brisbane where my family would be freaking. I don’t know if my mental health would be as good. Everything being able to be done at one regional hospital is magical. It’s life saving for the patient and their family. By the new year I might be able to raise a glass of softdrink.”
Cairns Hospital plastic surgeon Dr Kristian Sørensen said it was very rewarding to see Mr Brunetto have such a positive outcome.
But he said the latest technology microscope would provide even better results.
“The new one that we are seeking will have increased magnification, better optics so we can see smaller vessels and we can see the blood flow in real time, which means we will see how well a particular piece of tissue being prepared for transfer, is doing on the table, rather than waiting to see how it does afterwards” Dr Sørensen said.
The surgical microscope is used by plastic and orthopaedic surgeons at Cairns Hospital on at least a daily basis. Dr Sørensen said the new microscope would help in more complex trauma and elective procedures, for a larger range of patients. It will also be invaluable in teaching the trainees how to do advanced microsurgery.
To support the Foundation’s surgical microscope campaign, click HERE.

Photo: Patient Tony Brunetto, Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe, and Cairns Hospital plastic surgeon Dr Kristian Sørensen.


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Busy elves wrap wrap wrapping 11/12/2018

YOU might wonder what wrapping Christmas presents has to do with the latest technology surgical equipment.
Wonder no longer, as this year funds donated at the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation’s annual Christmas Wrap, will go towards the surgical microscope project.
Christmas Wrap at Cairns Central started earlier this month, with more than 140 volunteers registered to fill 404 shifts and wrap up to 10,000 presents with a wide variety of paper  to choose from.
Foundation fundraising and event co-ordinator Gaby Thomasz said they were noticing the community was becoming increasingly generous to the local charity.
“Each year, the funds raised from this fun event is increasing so it’s lovely to see the community recognising their donations stay local AND help improve health services,” Ms Thomasz said.
“Volunteers are true wrapping artists and have a huge selection of wrapping paper to choose from. We’re only asking for a small donation towards our cause, so we expect our volunteers to be very busy again this year,” Ms Thomasz said.
Some volunteers use the event as a team-building exercise in their workplace while others volunteer with their family. There are even volunteers who have moved away, but every year when they come “home” for Christmas, they volunteer at Christmas Wrap.
Cairns Hospital Intensive Care, Women’s and Perioperative Director Susan Henderson and Cairns Hospital Theatre Nurse Unit Manager Helen Campbell were delighted to meet the hard working volunteers on shift today.
The Foundation is actively fundraising for a new surgical microscope to assist reconstructive and orthopaedic surgery.
“So far I believe about $100,000 has been raised from private donations and fundraising activities like Melbourne Cup, but we still need another $300,000,” Ms Henderson said.
Surgeons have asked for the latest German technology microscope to enable them to see the tiniest blood vessels in high definition.
“When our surgeons are transplanting tissue from one part of the body to another, the microscope will show them if blood is flowing through the transplanted tissue, which means they know before they finish the surgery, if it’s going to be successful,” Ms Henderson said.
It will be used on patients – adults and children suffering from accidents, which happens daily, as well as on cancer patients.
Funds raised from events such as Christmas Wrap have previously contributed towards the brainlab orthopaedic surgery equipment, paediatric playground, education, training and research grants and the second cardiac catheter laboratory.
“Every cent we receive through donations stays local and every cent goes to its intended cause because all our administrative costs are covered by our commercial operations,” Ms Thomasz said. “Since the Foundation’s inception 21 years ago, we have contributed more than $18 million to improving health care in the Far North, and events such as this really do make a difference to patient outcomes,” Ms Thomasz said.
“Cairns Central is delighted to continue to partner with the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation for the annual charity Christmas gift wrap, which has been going for more than 15 years. We are truly overwhelmed by the generosity of the community, giving up their own time to help such a worthy local fundraiser,” Cairns Central Centre Manager Christie-Lee Jackson said.

Photos: TOP: Cairns Hospital Intensive Care, Women’s and Perioperative Director Susan Henderson and Cairns Hospital Theatre Nurse Unit Manager Helen Campbell join with the Foundation's fundraising and event coordinator Gaby Thomasz at Christmas Wrap.

ABOVE: Customer Matt Elliott happily makes another donation while Cairns Hospital theatre Nurse Unit Manager Helen Campbell wraps his gifts.


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Volunteers at work 7/12/2018

Thank you to our hard working craft ladies, who were front and centre at the Christmas Craft Fair, recently. Mary Seles and Elsie Di Bella were among the hard-working crew who attended, helping people find that special something for that special someone. Thank you also, to everyone who supported health services in FNQ, with a purchase!

The OPERA ward held a morning tea for all the wonderful volunteers to say a massive thank you for helping out on the ward throughout the year.  The volunteers included the Foundation REVIVE who have a rolling program visiting patients throughout the week, engaging in conversation, assisting with feeding and generally cheering patients up and orientating them to their surroundings.

Who says Bookweek is only for little kids? Our Playscheme volunteer Jessica Alexandratos shows big kids can have just as much fun with this great week of celebrating books, as the little ones.

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Newsy bits 7/12/2018

Thank you to the Cairns Sequence Dancers for their donation this week.
This lovely group of Bob and Denise Thomas (left) with Glenda Williams and Roger Evans (right) were thrilled to hand over $500 cash to our fundraising and marketing manager, Glenys Duncombe.
The group raised the money through entry fees to their Thursday night dances at the Darts Hall.
They had seen that we are fundraising for the surgical microscope and asked the money go towards that cause.
Thank you!!
To find out more about this project, visit: HERE.

After months of intensive training, our team has been rewarded with their certificates in Espresso Coffee making essentials.
Grinders Coffee business development executive and coffee guru Xavier Kier said the standard of training and achievement was very high.
“We have some amazing baristas here,” Xavier said. Commercial operations manager Steve McGuiness said the feedback from customers had been very positive and rewarding.
Pictured are newly certified baristas Daphne Saxton, Lynne Fitzhenry, Rachael Davis, Siobhan Ross, Georgia Parry with Xavier.

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Thanks for the support 7/12/2018

IN NOVEMBER we were honoured to receive some funds through BACC FNQ, as a result of our community nominating us as their charity of choice.

The $3003 we received will go towards our surgical microscope project.

Our Gordonvale Friends of the Foundation group received $1608 which will go towards wheelchair equipment.


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Golfing good day with CBA 7/12/2018

WE made an amazing $8929 from the Commonwealth Bank Golf day at Paradise Palms at the end of August.
Funds raised on the day will go towards our surgical microscope project.
Thank you everyone for your support.

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Vollie Q&A 7/12/2018

1. Name: Fay Jeffrey
2. Age: 76
3. Have you always lived in FNQ? If not, where did you come from and how long have you been here: I have been in Cairns since 1975, I came from Sydney.
4. Volunteer role: Information desk
5. How long have you been volunteering with us: 10 years
6. How did you come to start volunteering with us: After I retired from work, Tony Franz told me about the Hospital Foundation.
7. Star sign: Libra
8. Interest, hobbies, past-times: flower arrangements
9. Tell us about your family – kids, grandkids, great grandkids? Two children, six grandchildren.
10. What do you do with yourself when you are not helping us? Relax at home, seeing friends.
11. Are you retired? If so, what did you do before leaving the workforce? I worked at the Imperial Hotel for one year, then Coles in Abbott Street for eight years, had a small shop for two years, two years at Tradewinds, 15 years High Chapparal, 10 years at Sunshine Towers Hotel.
12. What do you enjoy about volunteering with us? I like working with the girls, meeting lots of people from different countries and helping them.
14. Do you have any funny tales about volunteering with us? One day a lady asked for the seventh floor and I explained there was no seventh floor. She did not believe me until she took the lift!

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Our recent purchases 7/12/2018

Our recent contributions to health care in Far North Queensland include:
Purchased in the past six months
Intensive care

1 x P-D 220 / Provi Dock 220 - $7000
Emergency Department
M41-DatamedFT-46 12ld ECG (Intellivue to CERNER) license (46 monitors) Installation of the software on existing IBE and configuration. $30,595   
6 x 21” 3MP LED Medical Colour Monitors  $67,700
Paediatric and Adolescent Services
12 x Welch Allyn Wall diagnostic set with Macrowview Otoscope and Standard Opthalmoscope head, locking collars and LED lamps $9800
7 x iPad mini 4 Wi-Fi Cellular 128GB $5300
Women’s Health
Colposcope kit, colposcope digital cam, splashproof adaptor, E-PL9 black slk, Sony 21” medical grade monitor, tall roll stand - slave unit.   $30,000
Mental Health
14 x Giant Talon 29er MTB’s for Cairns ATODS early intervention program. $10,500
1 x X-Porte ultrasound kiosk system with stand as quoted 559791 plus a transducer   $58,200
Featherweight Double Endoscopy Cart   $18,800
Mossman Hospital
1 x Progressa Bed System Pro885 $18,000
1 x i-STAT Analyser Wireless, 1 x i-STAT Downloader Recharger Kit,1 x i-STAT 1 Rechargeable Power Pack$7500
Atherton Hospital
1 x Caresono HD 5 Bladder Scan plus dedicated trolley $11,500

Ordered in the past six months

2 x Overnighter Loveseat plus additional freight charges from the FOF $8700
Emergency Department
3 x Intellivue MX450 Patient Monitors $60,700
Theatre at Cairns Hospital
Supply and install digitally printed graphics to walls of Post op area, DSU children’s lounge, anaesthetic bay of theatre 6 and to the floor of children’s lounge to theatre 6 $19,800
Intensive Care Unit
1 x Compella Bariatric Bed  (Dynamic pressure relieving mattress with turn assist, intelldrive integrated bed mover and nurse call connectivity ready) $51,000
1 x Motomed Letto 2 leg and arm Bed-Cycle Ergometer $20,000
Innisfail Emergency Department
1 x Venue R2 Portable Ultrasound System  $82,500
Tully Hospital
1 x Ultimate Trolley. Custom unit, fully motorised Scissor lift trolley $14,157
Cairns Hospital Neurology
2 x Portable Grael EEG Systems less the 2 x all-in-one computers $60,300
Cairns Hospital birthing unit
2 x Panda Warmer by Theresa Walker $55,000

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Spicy tomato egg curry 7/12/2018

A spicy tomato sauce forms the base for this curry, with boiled eggs in it as the heroine of the dish. This Spicy Tomato Egg Curry can be served alongside with any kind of flat bread or rice.
What you need
6 eggs, 4 tsp oil, 2 tsp mustard seeds, 3 tsp cumin seeds, 6 cloves garlic minced, 2 tbspn grated ginger, 1 red onion chopped finely, 2 Thai green chillies slit in half lengthwise, 2 tsp turmeric powder, 2 tsp cayenne/red chilli powder, 1/2 tsp crushed black pepper, salt to taste, 6 tomatoes chopped (or ½ a tin of chopped tomato), 1 tbspn garam masala, 1/4 cup chopped coriander.
1.Cover the eggs with cool water by 2.5cm. Slowly bring water to a boil over medium heat. When the water has reached a boil, cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 12 minutes. Transfer eggs to a colander; place under cool running water to stop the cooking.
2. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan and add the mustard seeds to it, once they splutter, add the cumin seeds to it and wait till they sizzle.
3. Add the onion, ginger and garlic and saute till the onions have softened and start to change colour.
4. Add the Thai green chillies, turmeric powder, cayenne, black pepper and salt and cook till the raw fragrance of the spice powders go away - this should take about two minutes.
5. Now add the tomatoes and cook till they soften. Add the garam masala and cook again for a couple of minutes.
6. Add just about enough water, about 1/3 cup or so to loosen the consistency of the sauce a little.
7. Cut the eggs in half, and gently place them into the tomato sauce. Let it all simmer for a couple of minutes and remove from heat. Garnish with chopped coriander add a squeeze of lemon and serve hot with any form of flat bread or rice. Place on cooling rack and allow to go cold in the tin.

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Innisfail Friends news 7/12/2018

What an amazing Charity Golf Day in every aspect at the El Arish Country Golf Club in August. The day went without any drama so many compliments on the whole event. Thanks so much to the amazing volunteers for your hard work in making this event the best yet. Special thanks to Margaret Marano for the amazing potato bake and quiche dishes - they were wonderful and quickly devoured. Huge thanks also to our lovely Sam, Donna Lowe, Colleen Morrison, Kate Lizzio and Nadine, your tireless efforts on the day was amazing and greatly appreciated. Thank you to all the players, business houses and individuals who donated prizes. Also special thanks to John Moyle our auctioneer.

Presentation of Medical Equipment value of $17,000 to the Cassowary Hub Maternity Unit. The Friends of Foundation Innisfail Branch have donated to date $30,000 to the Midwifery program since launched. Maternity Unit Equipment to date has been: 5 x digital scales, 2 x TENS machines, 1 x Istat machine $9000, 5 x Doppler’s (waterproof), 1 x Sapphire epidural pump $3000. Cheryl Shaw from the Foundation handed over the Equipment . Alison Weatherston, Danielle Wata, Sonia Rodrigo, Summer Marriott, Kaye Clarke, Magaret Mills, Holly Jones and Shelly Slater.

Our special thanks to the Greek Ladies Orthodox Philoptohos Innisfail. Our special thanks to the ladies for their ongoing support of our Foundation and the wonderful morning tea.

MSF Sugar were presented a Certificate of Appreciation as they have supported the Innisfail Friends of the Foundation for many years. The Innisfail group is extremely grateful for their $500 donation and prizes for our annual charity golf day.

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Hello sailors! 7/12/2018

THE quote of the day belongs to one of the navy personnel from USS Green Bay, who visited Cairns Hospital in November. After visiting our beautiful OPERA Ward and taking part in the singing group, she said: “That’s why they call it the Opera Ward”. There were smiles and perhaps some wet eyes during a beautiful round of well-known songs including at least one Elvis number. One of the patients was heard to say she wouldn’t need any therapy, after the joy she obtained from the visit. On their day off, the visitors were grateful of the opportunity to see some parts of the hospital and learn about the amazing job performed by everyone who works there. The visitors were particularly enthralled with the dementia seals, the chat with our chaplain, and interacting with locals.

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Melbourne Cup frivolity 7/12/2018

** $25,831 raised! **
Thank you so so much to everyone who supported the Melbourne Cup 2018 afternoon at Nu Nu Restaurant.
Everyone (boys and girls included) really was pretty in pink and WE sure are thrilled with the outcome.
We also received $900 from the Cotton Club function and more than $2000 has gone in the kitty for Give Me 5 For Kids.
By working together, we really ARE making a difference to health care in our community.

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Big thanks to Smithfield 7/12/2018

THANKS so much to everyone who came out and supported Smithfield Shopping Centre’s BIG Change for Small Change in August. A whopping $6031 was raised to help improve patient outcomes in our region.

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Motors running for EEGs 7/12/2018

A SPECTACULAR weekend of motorbikes, cars, fundraising and fun, resulted in $54,000 raised to buy new EEG equipment at Cairns Hospital.
Almost 50 participants ventured from Cairns to Undara Lava Tubes the weekend of October 20-21 as part of the 17th annual Wayne Leonard’s Motorcycle Muster.
Key sponsors Wayne and Rhonda Leonard, of Wayne Leonard Motorcycles and Harley Magic, led the riders and motorists on a scenic tour around the stunning Atherton Tablelands.
Participants travelled from as far afield as Townsville and even Croydon.
Foundation CEO Tony Franz said the morning tea stop at Millaa Millaa was well-hosted by the Millaa Millaa Lions, followed by lunch at Innot Hot Springs.
“We had great weather along the way, fabulous food of course, and fabulous company,” Mr Franz said.
Once everyone checked in to their accommodation at Undara Lava Tubes, some went on sunset tours while others refreshed with a cooling beverage before the evening meal and entertainment.
“We had wonderful karaoke provided by Barry Lea, which always sets the scene for a great night, and of course the winner of the raffle was drawn,” Mr Franz said.
“The winner is always surprised when we call them and this occasion was no different - he was sold his winning ticket by a workmate,” he said.
The next day, participants rode and drove back to Cairns in their own time - many stopping off at the Speewah Country Tavern for lunch and to quench their thirst.
Since the event’s conclusion, the two EEGs have already been ordered.
The Foundation would like to thank the Leonard Family, Totally Workwear Cairns, Star 102.7 Cairns, Lotsa Print and Signage, Woree Tavern and Undara Lava Tubes.

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Fixing hearts in FNQ 7/12/2018

MORE than 240 hot, sweaty and exhilarated cyclists rode into Cooktown in September to thunderous applause, after fundraising to fix hearts in FNQ.
The 12th annual Cardiac Challenge raised more than $262,000 after the cyclists pedalled 330km from Cairns to Cooktown.
Funds from this year’s event will purchase a Vivid Echocardiograph - a vital diagnostic tool for cardiac patients in the Far North.
About half the cyclists tackled the challenging Kuranda Range at the beginning of the event with the up-lane closed from 6.30am.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said while the permit was until 8.30am, all cyclists were off the Range by 7.10am and it was then re-opened.
“We’re so grateful for the motoring public’s understanding and patience of allowing our cyclists to get up the Range in safety as the closure is for such a short period of time,” Ms Duncombe said.
After the Range, cyclists this year stopped at the specially opened Speewah Tavern for a well-earned caffeine hit before riding single file on to Mareeba for the eagerly anticipated morning tea stop.
“Mareeba Rotary and the local farmers always supply an amazing spread of sandwiches, cakes and fruit for us and the crew always love this stop,” Ms Duncombe said.
From there, the riders gathered into their designated packs to start the arduous journey up hill and down dale to help fix hearts.
The ride took its usual journey to Mt Carbine and Lakeland, followed by the always emotional ride in to Cooktown as one long pack. Riders enjoyed the newly constructed water park on the Cooktown Esplanade, courtesy of Cook Shire Council, followed by lunch and presentations at the Cooktown Bowls Club.
The evening dinner at the Cooktown PCYC is always a highlight, but this year a couple of auction items helped top up the coffers with Peter Piccone buying a signed Billy Slater jersey and Leigh Holman the framed Johnathon Thurston memorabilia.
Organisers are already working on planning next year’s event, September 21-23, 2018.
Cardiac Challenge

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Winner makes donation 8/11/2018

RICHARD Shaw doesn’t have a motorbike license, but he still bought two tickets to win a new Harley-Davidson from one of his workmates.
Muster participant Dan Rayner sold the tickets as part of his fundraising efforts in this year’s Wayne Leonard’s Motorcycle Muster.
The event, which has been running for 17 years, was this year raising money for new EEG equipment at Cairns Hospital’s neurology department.
“When Dan sold me the tickets I thought it was a good cause even though I’ve never owned a motorbike,” Mr Shaw said.
Lo and behold, one of his two tickets, was drawn as the winner – drawn randomly by computer at the celebration night this year held during the weekend event at Undara Lava Tubes.
“I really don’t need a motorbike so I’m planning to sell it and donate part of the proceeds back to the Foundation,” he said.
The Muster, hosted by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, raised more than $54,000 this year – meaning the event has now raised $947,000 since it first began.
Foundation fundraising and event coordinator Gaby Thomasz said Mr Shaw’s thoughtfulness was very generous.
 “Our top fundraiser this year was Geoff Nielson, ably assisted by his mate Bob Ison, who sold more than 70 books of tickets and raised $7142,” Ms Thomasz said. “It was nice to see the top fundraising prize go to Geoff who has had some medical hardship himself and we appreciate everyone’s work in fundraising so hard,” she said.
“We’d also like to pay special tribute to Wayne and Rhonda Leonard, who are truly community spirited people and put themselves out to help others, year after year.
“We’d like to thank everyone who bought a ticket, everyone who sold a ticket and everyone who donated because they have all helped make a difference to health care in our region.”

Photo: (top) Foundation fundraising and marketing manager, Muster participant Dan Rayner, Rhonda Leonard, bike winner Richard Shaw and Wayne Leonard. Above: Richard Shaw tries the new Harley-Davidson blackiron out for size.


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Radio campaign saves lives 26/10/2018

WHEN most of us think of panda’s, we think of cute animals from China with distinctive black and white markings.
When paediatric doctors and nurses think of them, they think of vital, life-saving equipment for those patients most at risk – neonatal babies.
And thanks to the generosity of the FNQ community, more will be available for the 300 (approximately) babies who need them in our region.
The team from Southern Cross Austereo, which owns Triple M in Cairns were pleased to present a cheque for more than $31,000 to the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation today, as a result of this year’s GM54K campaign.
That brings the total, since 2012, to $270,629 donated by GM54K to the Foundation.
SCA Cairns general sales manager Richard King said it was incredible to meet the clinicians and see what the money goes towards.
"This stuff that the community is fundraising for is actually saving lives, so we love that we can get behind and support that, with the help of our team and our incredible clients," Mr king said.
Cairns Hospital director of paediatrics Dr Neil Archer said he aimed to have the same level of equipment across the hospital for these precious babies – from the emergency department, to theatre where some are born by Caesarian section, to the Special Care Nursery.
The Panda warmers keep baby warm while clinicians and loved ones are cool, has an integrated in-bed scale meaning less disturbance to baby for weighing, and incorporates vital resuscitation equipment for critical babies.
Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation CEO Tony Franz said the GM54K cheque was one of the largest in recent years.
“It just goes to show that when our community knows it can help those most at risk, they really do dig deep,” Mr Franz said.
“In recent years, funds from GM54K have gone towards quilts, lamps and rocking chairs for parent rooms in the special care nursery, parent sofa beds in the children’s ward, and of course the paediatric playground,” he said.
“The community can take heart from the fact that when we receive donations like this – every cent donated goes to its intended cause and stays local, we purchase the equipment directly from the donation and hand it over to the hospital staff, AND because we are a DGR listed charity, donations to us are tax deductible.
“I look forward to continuing our local relationship with SCA and GM54K well into the future.”

Photo: Cairns Hospital children's ward nurse unit manager Natalie, director of paediatrics Dr Neil Archer, Foundation CEO Tony Franz, SCA's Mark Littler and SCA's Richard King.

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Bob's a passionate fundraiser 18/10/2018

BOB Ison looks like a big tough, scarey bikie dude. But underneath the leather jacket there’s a passionate fundraiser.
Bob and his wife Peta are taking part in the 17th annual Wayne Leonard’s Motorcycle Muster this weekend.
And for the first time, they are being joined by their son Neal, his wife and two children – making it three generations of Ison’s to fundraise together.
They have been taking part in the fundraising motorcycle ride since 2009 and have only missed one year in that time. “I started off with a Harley custom sporty and then I had my Fatboy but now I’ve got a Roadking. We’ve only got five motorbikes between us,” Mr Ison said.
“What I really like about the Muster is the camaraderie and that you meet different people from all walks of life. And fundraising for the hospital is pretty important. I enjoy doing something for the community and knowing that we are helping people close to us,” Mr Ison said.
This year’s Muster is fundraising for EEG equipment at Cairns Hospital and will head to Undara Lava Tubes this weekend. Cairns Hospital Neurologist Dr Ian Wilson said the latest EEG imaging equipment would provide substantially improved high resolution cameras, screens and software with the latest recording technology available.
 “The EEG equipment is used to monitor people with epilepsy and other brain conditions in our clinics, but also in Emergency and ICU to assess brain activity in unconscious patients, including after traumatic brain injury,” Dr Wilson said.
“Patients having repeated, unexplained events may undergo day-long (sometimes over several days) EEG testing to ‘catch’ the event and determine if the brain activity changes and is abnormal during the event, while others simply have a “snapshot” 30 minute recording of brain wave activity,” he said.
Foundation CEO Tony Franz said it was hoped to buy two EEG’s at a total cost of $70,000. “There is a lot of excitement among the riders about this trip,” Mr Franz said.
Himself a participant, Mr Franz said the ride had not been to Undara for several years, and it was sure to be a fun and enjoyable weekend. “The people who take part in this event do so for the right reasons – because they are passionate about supporting health services in this region,” Mr Franz said. So far about 43 people are registered to take part.
The Wayne Leonard’s Motorcycle Muster will head to Undara Lava Tubes October 20-21. All vehicles and motorcycles are welcome to take part. Visit HERE to donate.


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Patient urges participation 5/10/2018

EMILY Edward is a young lady very accepting of her epilepsy, but she is also very passionate about her doctors having the best equipment.
The 16-year-old was diagnosed with the condition last year when she started having hand jerking movements, despite experiencing “absence seizures” since she was 10 or 11.
“I was diagnosed in Perth and we moved here and the doctors here have been wonderful,” Miss Edward said. “They’ve been trying to get my medication right but it’s a matter of trying different medications to find the right medication and the right dose for my body,” she said. “I did notice a difference in the equipment from Perth to Cairns and that’s why I think everyone should support the Wayne Leonard’s Motorcycle Muster this year,” she said.
This year’s Muster, in its 17th year, is fundraising for EEG equipment at Cairns Hospital and will head to Undara Lava Tubes this month (October 20-21). Cairns Hospital Neurologist Dr Ian Wilson said the latest EEG imaging equipment would provide substantially improved high resolution cameras, screens and software with the latest recording technology available. “Emily will need EEG monitoring about every 6-12 months or whenever her epilepsy is not well controlled. The EEG tells us if she has developed a different type of epilepsy and if Emily needs her medication altered again. This can happen as the brain continues to develop into adulthood,” Dr Wilson said.
Approximately 5% of people with epilepsy have Absence seizure and 10-15% of children will develop other seizure types in adolescence, generalised tonic-clonic and/or myoclonic seizures.
 “The EEG equipment is used to monitor people with epilepsy and other brain conditions in our clinics, but also in Emergency and ICU to assess brain activity in unconscious patients, including after traumatic brain injury,” Dr Wilson said. “Patients having repeated, unexplained events may undergo day-long (sometimes over several days) EEG testing to ‘catch’ the event and determine if the brain activity changes and is abnormal during the event, while others simply have a “snapshot” 30 minute recording of brain wave activity,” he said.
Heart-breakingly, babies and small children are among their patients – some of whom have genetically acquired conditions that impact on the brain’s development and cause severe seizures.  Diagnosing and treating the seizures early is important to prevent further brain injury and give the child the best chance of recovery.   The equipment also will be a vital tool in future research projects.
Foundation CEO Tony Franz said it was hoped to buy two EEG’s at a total cost of $70,000. “This year the Muster is heading out to Undara on the weekend of October 20-21, and there is a lot of excitement among the riders about this trip,” Mr Franz said. Himself a participant, Mr Franz said the ride had not been to Undara for several years, and it was sure to be a fun and enjoyable weekend. “The people who take part in this event do so for the right reasons – because they are passionate about supporting health services in this region,” Mr Franz said.
The Wayne Leonard’s Motorcycle Muster will head to Undara Lava Tubes October 20-21. All vehicles and motorcycles are welcome to take part. Visit HERE.


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Cyclists share heartfelt passion 21/09/2018

Twenty-three years separate them, but the similarities between avid long-distance cyclists Pete McNally and Jeremy Scott, are astounding.
Mr McNally instigated the Cardiac Challenge 12 years ago because of his experiences seeking and receiving treatment locally for his long-term congenital heart problems. He had open heart surgery age 53 for a hole in the heart, a surgery they did not routinely undertake in the 1950’s, whereas New Zealand -born Mr Scott had his surgery for hole in the aortic valve as a toddler.  
Mr Scott is famous for riding 52,000km around the world and wrote the book “The Long Road From A Broken Heart” and this year is riding the Mt Franklin Cardiac Challenge with Mr McNally.
Visiting the region as part of a public speaking tour, Mr Scott came across some participants in the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge at a local Rotary meeting in 2017.
As a toddler, he had a huge hole in his aorta valve that denied him the chance to live the life of a normal child. At four years of age, he underwent open heart surgery at the hands of renowned surgeon Sir Brian Barratt-Boyes. Thirty-four years later, with very little experience or training, he began his 2.5 year bicycle ride that resulted in him riding through 29 countries from the UK to New Zealand.
Mr Scott, a recipient of the Australian Heart Foundation’s Heart Hero Award, said he was blown away by the efforts of Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge participants in its 12 years raising funds for better cardiac care locally.
“There are so many synergies between what I have done and what the people organising and fundraising in this event, do,” Mr Scott said. “I would strongly urge anyone with a family member or loved one with heart issues, to get behind these fundraisers and help them achieve their goals,” he said.
The hole in Mr McNally’s heart was repaired with a bovine patch but he has since gone on to undergo further cardiac treatment for arrhythmia. With both interventions he had to travel for treatment because it was not locally available at the time. He still requires monitoring and there is the distinct possibility of future problems which drives his passion for the event as well as his passion for cycling. “You just never know when you or someone you care about might suffer a heart condition, so I strongly urge everyone to donate to the cause that might save their life one day,” Mr McNally said.
•    The Mt Franklin Cardiac Challenge is an annual fundraising ride from Cairns to Cooktown. Since inception in 2007, the ride has raised more than $3.5 million to provide improved cardiac equipment and services in FNQ. The event has contributed to a $1.4 million Foundation donation towards a second cardiac catheter laboratory at Cairns Hospital.
To donate to Mr McNally visit HERE and to donate to Mr Scott visit


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Challenge with heart 20/09/2018

The harsh bobbing beam of hundreds of cyclist lights will break through the darkness on their way out to Tjapukai Adventure Park early this Saturday.
They will be about to start their journey on one of the Far North’s most arduous and yet rewarding, fundraising adventures, the Mt Franklin Cardiac Challenge.
Cyclists will pedal up hill and down dale, all in the name of improving cardiac services in the Far North.
Since inception, the event has raised more than $3.5 million for cardiac services in FNQ including contributing towards the Foundation’s $1.4 million donation to the second cardiac catheter lab project.
It is unique in that every cent donated stays local to help local patients and every cent donated goes to its intended cause. This is because the registration fee covers the cost of running the event, and all the Foundation’s costs are covered by its commercial operations.
Instigated by local heart patient Pete McNally, Cardiac Challenge is responsible for thousands of people achieving something they never previously thought possible – riding 333km to Cooktown.
Read below three local people’s thoughts on the event – the heart patient, the rider and the cardiologist.
Karyn Bristow - the heart patient

LIKE so many heart patients, Karyn Bristow simply never thought it would happen to her.
On the night of October 23 last year, she had some pain in her chest that she attributed to indigestion.
She says she “felt a bit crook” during the night but after getting up early and starting work at 5am she later started to feel a “dull pain” in her chest.
“About 8am, I just felt that something wasn’t right. I had a dull pain, I felt tired and foggy so I nipped over to the doctor’s across from my work and asked for an appointment. They said they could see me in 15 minutes, so I went back to work to get my purse and then I said to one of the other staff ‘I just don’t feel very well’. And that’s the last thing I remember.
“I passed out in her arms and they were then doing CPR on me – the doctor from across the road came over and I think the ambos were there within a few minutes. I kept going in and out, but I was zapped a few times in the ambulance and when I got to hospital too.
“I then remember waking up in the catheter lab at the hospital and vaguely seeing Dr Starmer’s face and he was telling me what they were doing and that I was going to be alright.
“It turned out I had some plaque in my artery that had broken off and was blocking the blood flow. I’ve no family history, I don’t smoke and never have, I don’t drink much, although I am a bit overweight.”
Aged 58 at the time, Mrs Bristow said after a stent was installed and she started to physically recover, it took some time to psychologically recover.
“My head was pretty messed up and I went into a dark place but the support I got from my husband and family, the hospital and the six week cardiac rehab program absolutely changed my life. It’s a great program – I’ve joined a gym now, I eat better and my general outlook on life is so much different. These days I prioritise my family and I’ve learnt that some stresses just aren’t worth it. I guess you realise what’s important.
“At the time, I just didn’t think it was a heart attack. They say it’s a silent killer and it’s so true, but if you’re having any sort of pain, or if something doesn’t feel right, you shouldn’t ignore it. I think people need to be more aware and go to the doctor and get checked out. I was having regular checkups anyway because I’m on blood pressure medication. I could have gone to bed that night and just not woken up. I was just very lucky where I was because the people in my workplace really saved my life. We’re very close now.
“I’ve been given a second chance. I want to be here for my husband, children and grandchildren. At the time I didn’t feel lucky, but now I really do. I’ve got a lot to live for.”

Jimmy Chan - the rider

FOR Jimmy Chan, the sudden loss of a family member to a heart condition, was just the shove he needed to get on the bike.
2018 will be his sixth Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge and it is an event he never tires of.
“Yes, the road is the same, Desailly Range doesn’t get any easier, but it’s the people you meet and the fun you have along the way that makes it worthwhile,” Mr Chan, 53, said.
“For me, fundraising is easy because I only do this one charity event so I’m not approaching people all the time.
“I remember fondly my first year being 2013. Two years before that I had a scousin up here who tried desperately to get me to do it.
“After I signed up for the 2013 challenge I lost my brother-in-law, who passed away unexpectedly on June 14. He was a lot bigger than me, a lot stronger and a lot fitter. So that came as an unexpected event. He had heart issues which he knew about and that was probably the kick along that I needed. And every year since then I’ve been hooked on it.
“I guess my reasons for doing that could be broken down into three parts.
“The first part is obviously the fundraising side. It’s a great thing to do something for the community. I see it as a long term investment. What we do now in terms of investing in medical equipment and services, as we get older, somewhere down the track we will need them.
“The other part of it is the fitness aspect. It keeps me going, keeps me motivated.
“I love the fun side of it, get out there, meet people, catch up with old mates.

Shane Preston - the Cardiologist

Dr Shane Preston is an interventional cardiologist at Cairns Hospital and has been since 2013.
Originally from Brisbane via Sydney and Canada, Dr Preston became a doctor and a cardiologist because of the immediate beneficial impact on patients.
The son of a boilermaker and dressmaker, he is a keen fisherman and enjoys the FNQ lifestyle.
“I used to read a lot of science books when I was a kid and I asked to do cardiology as an intern. I don’t have any family members who are doctors, it was just something I was always interested in.
“What I enjoy about helping people when they are in this situation is that when they come into the cath lab and you fix their blocked artery, you get to see the result of your work immediately. It’s very satisfying.
“When I moved to Cairns I said to Greg (Dr Starmer) that I would only be here for 12 months.
“A couple of the reasons I love it here is because of the weather and the fishing. When I left Canada it was -20 degrees.
“And I might be biased but we do have an amazing team in the cardiac unit and they are simply awesome to work with. Knowing that we are making a difference to people’s lives makes the long hours and the years of study all worthwhile.”
Dr Preston has been taking part in the Mt Franklin Cardiac Challenge since 2015.
“I first did it because I felt that as a doctor who uses the equipment that it raises money for, I should participate and see what it was all about.
“But now I ride the event each year because I really do enjoy it. It’s a great motivator to keep fit. It’s just fun, it’s good fun and a good cause. We see exactly where the money goes because we’re the ones using the equipment that the ride purchases each year.”
This year his uncle Peter will be riding with him, and his parents are travelling up from Brisbane as support along the ride. “They know I’ve been doing it for a while and they wanted to get involved.”
“I’m taking some days off with the family afterwards and hopefully the fishing will be good in Cooktown.”


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Leader among men 20/09/2018

HARRY Felstead might only be 15, but he is being described as a “leader among men” by going way out of his comfort zone and riding 330km to Cooktown.
The St Andrews Catholic College student is inspired to ride in this year’s Mt Franklin Cardiac Challenge by one of his teachers, Michael Aitken, who suffered a heart incident in December last year.
Harry, whose mother is a nurse in the cardiac catheter laboratory at Cairns Hospital, said Mr Aitken’s heart incident gave him a shock, as he is such a fit and healthy man.
“Physical exercise is not my favourite thing to do, but I have been doing a lot of training so I know I can do it. I’m not sporty, I am the person sitting in HPE classes in the corner and hating every minute of it. What I’m looking forward to about Cardiac Challenge is the end but also a sense of achievement. It’s for a good cause and the money is going back to support the hospital that we all need,” Harry said.
Mr Aitken noticed a decline in his running performance, and increasing tiredness, over a period of time.
He experienced a discomfort in his chest he attributed to indigestion, which he discussed with his wife (a nurse) how it was associated with exertion, and she urged him to get a medical check-up urgently. That he did, and was kept in hospital for several days awaiting an angiogram.
“I wasn’t showing any of the typical signs of a heart attack and I actually didn’t have one, but my family history and my age made my interventional cardiologist (Dr Anthony Brazzale) want to keep me in hospital for an angiogram,” Mr Aitken said.
His father had died at age 62 of a heart attack and his brother had three stents installed at age 47.
“They took me down to the cardiac catheter laboratory for an angiogram and then Dr Brazzale patted me on the shoulder and said ‘we’ve found a blockage and we’re going to put a stent in’,” he said. “I feel very privileged that Harry feels inspired to ride because of me and I just think he’s a leader among young men and we need more of them.”
Dr Brazzale also will ride in the Cardiac Challenge and is on the fundraising team as Harry – the Cardiac Maniacs.
To donate to Harry’s fundraising visit HERE or to Dr Brazzale’s fundraising page visit: HERE.

Photo: Student Harry Felstead, teacher Michael Aitken and interventional cardiologist Dr Anthony Brazzale say "it's all about heart".

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Alan grateful for cardiac "pit crew" 13/09/2018

TWELVE years ago Alan Morgan suffered his first heart attack. After the incident, he waited four weeks and travelled to Townsville on a bus for the stent to be performed.
Last Friday when he arrived at Cairns Hospital with another heart attack, he was immediately taken to the Cairns Hospital cardiac catheter laboratory for a STEMI procedure.
And he was released to go home on Monday to recuperate.
It was also in 2006 that fellow heart patient Pete McNally first rode to Cooktown to “see if it could be done” before the first Cardiac Challenge was held in 2007.
Since then, the event has raised more than $3.6 million, thousands of people have taken part, and it has bought many pieces of equipment for adult and child heart patients.
“Being in the catheter lab on Friday for my procedure, I was awake and it was like watching a racing team pit crew – they were so efficient and professional at their job. They were just amazing. I’m so grateful that I’m here now because of everything those people do,” Mr Morgan, 62, said.
His cardiologist, Dr Anthony Brazzale, originally from Mutchilba, said Mr Morgan had a great outcome.
“Unfortunately we often meet patients with life threatening heart attacks, suffering a lot of pain, and it’s very rewarding to be able to quickly treat their condition and see their pain ease instantly,” Dr Brazzale said.
“The other amazing fact about Mr Morgan’s heart attack is that 12 years ago there was no cardiac catheter laboratory here – everyone had to go to Townsville or Brisbane for their treatment,” he said.
“Now not only can you have your stent here, but when the second cardiac catheter laboratory is built, we will be able to perform electrophysiology procedures here.”
Dr Brazzale is one of 244 riders in this year’s Mt Franklin Cardiac Challenge, riding from Cairns to Cooktown for cardiac services.
For further information or to donate to riders or teams in Cardiac Challenge, visit HERE.

Photo: Cardiac Challenge instigator Pete McNally, Cairns Hospital interventional cardiologist Dr Anthony Brazzale, heart patient Alan Morgan and Cardiac Challenge pack leader Jimmy Chan.


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Scarlett's a fighter 6/09/2018

Scarlett had just started Prep like any other five-year-old, when her life was turned upside down. 

Instead of having the time of her life playing with her friends at school, Scarlett was fighting for her life in Brisbane – 1600km away from her home in Innisfail.

Scarlett was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone and soft tissue cancer, and has spent the past 12 months enduring chemotherapy, surgeries, blood and platelet transfusions.

Through it all, Scarlett has remained a positive and energetic little girl whose cheeky smile makes everyone smile.

Scarlett’s mum, Anna, said the care and support over the past 12 months at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital had made all the difference when dealing with a situation no parent, or child, could ever prepare for.

“The oncologists and nurses have been absolutely amazing,” Anna said.

“They are so dedicated and passionate about what they do and every child is so important. They make you feel like you are the only patient they are seeing.”

Away from the medical needs, Anna said the services offered by Children’s Hospital Foundation had helped Scarlett cope with being in hospital for such a long period of time.

“There has always been plenty of entertainment and Scarlett especially liked Book Bunker program, bedside play volunteers and Juiced TV,” Anna said.

“No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of a mother.”

After 12 months of treatment Scarlett and her mum have just returned home to Innisfail.

They will have to return to Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane every three months for check-ups.

Now that Scarlett is home, she is looking forward to catching up with her cousins, grandma and aunties, and returning to school in the new year.

Scarlett said she will be doing lots of craft, singing, dancing, playing outdoors and with animals now that she is home.

Your generous donations to the Woolworths Regional Wall Tokens Campaign helps fund programs in your local hospital, and at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, which help families like Joel’s through an emotional, stressful, and at times uncertain journey.

Funds raised this year will go towards:

Mossman Hospital: McGrath video laryngoscope, Otowave Tympanometer and screening audiometer, Screening Cart, Broselow Alkuminiuym colour code cart, Sony Camera with CMOS Sensor.

Cairns Paediatrics: three high chairs, four wheelchairs with leg extensions, four commodes with leg extensions, three prams.

Cairns Theatre: two car/ride remote control vehicles to transport children to theatre, 1000 signature bears.

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Wayne checks EEG equipment 30/08/2018

THE roads around Cairns and the outback will roar to the sound of motorcycles and their riders fundraising for delicate EEG equipment in the Far North.
This year’s Wayne Leonard’s Motorcycle Muster is heading west to Undara Lava Tubes, and fundraising for vital EEG equipment to record electrical activity of the brain.
Hosted by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, the Muster is now in its 17th year, and has raised a total of more than $893,000 in that time.
Sponsor Wayne Leonard was excited to try out the current EEG equipment being used by the small but hard-working neurology team at Cairns Hospital. Mr Leonard laughed that he had never experienced an EEG before, but he was relieved to see that all his brain activity was normal.
Cairns Hospital neurologist Dr Ian Wilson said the latest EEG imaging equipment would provide substantially improved high resolution cameras and screens, and the latest recording technology available.
“The equipment that we have is used to monitor people with epilepsy and other brain conditions in our clinics, but also in Emergency and ICU to assess brain activity in unconscious patients, including after traumatic brain injury,” Dr Wilson said. Patients having recurrent, unexplained events may undergo day-long EEG testing to ‘catch’ the event and determine what activity happens in the brain, while others simply have a “snapshot” taken of brain activity, he said.
Heart-breakingly, babies and small children are among their patients – some of whom have genetically acquired conditions that impact on the brain’s development and cause severe seizures.  Diagnosing and treating the seizures early is important to prevent further brain injury and give the child the best chance of recovery.   The equipment also will be a vital tool in future research projects.
Foundation CEO Tony Franz said it was hoped to buy two EEG’s at a total cost of $70,000. “This year the Muster is heading out to Undara on the weekend of October 20-21, and there is a lot of excitement among the riders about this trip,” Mr Franz said.
Himself a participant, Mr Franz said the ride had not been to Undara for several years, and it was sure to be a fun and enjoyable weekend. “The people who take part in this event do so for the right reasons – because they are passionate about supporting health services in this region,” Mr Franz said.
Registrations are open HERE.

Photo: Cairns Hospital senior neurophysiology scientist Linda Welch, Wayne Leonard and neurologist Dr Ian Wilson are excited to be working together to raise funds for the neurology unit.


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Kevin is all heart 14/08/2018

“I JUST feel I have a debt that I need to repay,” says Cardiac Challenge rider and cardiac arrest Kevin O’Donnell.
Mr O’Donnell, a Melbourne resident, is riding the fundraising event for a second time and is currently the second highest individual fundraiser.
Five years ago on August 7, Mr O’Donnell and wife Pat were holidaying in Port Douglas when he suffered an out-of-the-blue ventricular fibrillation. He was resuscitated in the ambulance, in Mossman Hospital and also in Cairns Hospital. An angiogram revealed he had a fully blocked diagonal artery. Due to complications, he spent six weeks in a coma in the intensive care unit at Cairns Hospital.
He underwent several surgeries, and was the first patient in Cairns to undergo an “ABRA” procedure – where the abdominal muscles are slowly brought back together around organs while retaining a physical barrier against bacteria.
Cairns Hospital staff surgeon Dr Nathan Brunott said Mr O’Donnell was a daily inspiration to him. “We’ve only used that procedure once since, to my knowledge but in those two cases they really made a difference to patient outcomes,” Dr Brunott said.
“I tell medicos down south now about my medical history and they are absolutely amazed that I am still alive, and that I made it through this process,” Mr O’Donnell, 69, said. In 2017, he approached the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation to make a donation, as he has every year since recovery when he visits on holidays.
On this visit, he found out about the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge and a couple of days later, returned to the Foundation office and said he wanted to ride.
He rode the event for the first time last year and is back again, this time with two friends from his Rotary club in Melbourne – one who is going to ride and another who is going to be a driver.
“I won’t rest until the team has reached $3000 and we’re up to $2681 so far,” he said on Tuesday. Part of his fundraising efforts have included busking using his tin whistle. “I’m not a great whistle player, by any stretch, but it’s a unique way to raise money and draw attention to the cause,” he said.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said Mr O’Donnell epitomised the spirit of the ride and was actually one of many with a personal heart story.
“We know that we have a local community that is passionate about what we are trying to achieve, but stories like Kevin’s tell us that our amazing hospital staff are touching a much broader community as well,” Ms Duncombe said.
The Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge is an annual bike ride from Cairns to Cooktown, raising funds for cardiac services in Far North Queensland. For further information visit HERE.


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Saying thanks to workers 14/08/2018

IT was lovely to catch up with some of our hard-working volunteers recently at Rydges Esplanade for a delicious breakfast buffet recently.

This gorgeous gang are devoted raffle ticket sellers, helping us and our participants in events such as the Wayne Leonard’s Motorcycle Muster and Audi Arrow Experience.

It was nice to give these folks a small token of our, and the community’s appreciation.


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Vollies help at fundraiser 14/08/2018

HOLLYWOOD faux pas and foibles were laid bare by insider Richard Reid at a Cairns Post Cairns Club event in early June. The master of glitzy gossip regaled a full house at the Reef Hotel Casino with star-studded tales of scandal.
The entertainment guru on Channel 9’s Today show for eight years, Mr Reid was the keynote speaker at the third event for the 2017/2018 season.
An internationally renowned entertainment correspondent, Mr Reid is one of the most sought-after personalities in Australian television, radio and print.
Held at the The Reef Hotel Casino in June, guests included Cairns Regional Council mayor Bob Manning and, as a guest of event sponsor Audi Centre Cairns, the managing director of Audi Australia Paul Sansom.
Guests mingled with an approachable Mr Reid after the formal proceedings and many were keen to prolong the festivities, kicking on afterwards downstairs at BAR36.
The Cairns Post Club event, hosted by actor and television personality Sofie Formica, raised $3810 for the Foundation.
Audi Centre Cairns co-owner Connie Ren said the event was well-run. “Everyone seemed to really like it,” she said.
“It is very important for us to support the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation. We are very grateful for the opportunity and it was a wonderful opportunity for people to connect with each other.”
A couple of our star volunteers - Lee Oastler and Thelma Spelta were on hand to assist with selling tickets.

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Generous donors support patients 1/08/2018

GENEROUS benefactors are helping patients in Mareeba at a time when their health hits crisis point.
Long-term locals Leslie and Anne Mills donated $50,000 to the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, to be used for the Hamilton T1 Ventilator – state of the art equipment for when critical patients need to be intubated.
Mareeba Hospital Director of Nursing and Midwifery Vickye Coffey said the new machine would provide excellent first aid ventilation of patients in emergency situations.
“This new machine is on the wish list of all emergency departments across the state and the Mareeba Emergency Department is fortunate enough to have been gifted one through a generous donation from the Mills family,” Ms Coffey said.
“Staff are very excited to have this ventilation machine to use and it will further enhance patient safety for the Mareeba community.
“This is especially the case for those critically ill patients who need full or partial ventilation during transportation to the Cairns Hospital.”
Mrs Mills said she and Leslie were pleased to support their local hospital.
“The Mareeba Hospital staff were just wonderful when Leslie injured his fingers a few years ago, so that was when we decided to start supporting them as well as the broader Far North Queensland region,” Mrs Mills said.
“Sometimes when we hand over a piece of equipment we’ve bought for them, the staff just get so excited, you’d think it was Christmas,” she said.
Foundation CEO Tony Franz said the latest donation brings the Mills family contribution to health care in FNQ to more than $343,000.  More than $210,000 of that money has gone directly to the Mareeba Hospital.
“This family’s ongoing support of health care in our region is a great example of the difference individuals can make and we really look to them as great examples of local philanthropy,” Mr Franz said.

Photo: Anne and Leslie Mills look over the new ventilator with Mareeba Hospital Emergency Nurse Unit Manager Rose Vallier.


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Low and slow lamb 1/08/2018

What you need
2kg lamb shoulder, garlic paste, 1garlic head, large, 8 sprigs of rosemary, 2 tbspn cumin, 2 tspn salt, juice and zest of 1 lemon, olive oil.  Blitz until a smooth paste
200ml wine or stock, sea salt, black pepper, freshly ground, 3-4 carrots cut into quarters, 2 peeled large onions cut into quarters, 200ml white wine or chicken stock.
Gravy, 2 tbsp flour, 2 cups/500ml chicken stock (or 1 cup red wine + 1 cup stock), salt and pepper
1.Preheat the oven at 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Slash lamb all over with sharp knife, season with black pepper, rub garlic paste mixture all over the lamb, making sure to get into all the right places. Place onions and carrots on a large deep roasting tray. Pour in 200ml of wine or stock. Place the lamb shoulder on top and roast for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the tray from the oven and cover tightly with a double layer of tin foil, then return to the oven, turn the heat down to 160ºC/315ºF/gas 2½, and cook for 4 hours, or until the meat pulls easily away from the bone.
Remove the shoulder to a platter, cover loosely with the foil and leave to rest.
2. Tilt the pan and use a spoon to remove all but around 2 tbsp of fat (try to avoid scooping out any juices). Place the roasting pan on the stove over medium high heat. Add the flour and stir to mix in with the fat. Cook for 30 seconds.
3. Add the stock gradually and stir to combine. Use a potato masher to mash the onion and carrots.
4. Allow it to simmer for one to two minutes until it is just before your desired consistency (it will thicken a bit as it cools), then remove from the stove. Season to taste with salt and pepper, strain into bowl then transfer into gravy jug.
5. Shred up the lamb and serve up with the gravy. Delicious served with steamed seasonal greens or with warm naan bread and a green salad.
It should be a touch sticky - don’t worry if it still seems a little soft as it will firm up on cooling.
6. Remove from oven, place on a cooling rack and allow to go cold in the tin.
7. Using baking paper tails, ease from the tin and cut into 16 squares.

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Family's incredible gift 24/07/2018

A LEGACY of improved health care is the gift from one local family to other Cairns families.
For Joyce Swinton, the gifts she has provided to the local community through the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, are her way of paying forward the money her daughter bequeathed her.
"My daughter Linda and her husband Harry Harris had a business in Gordonvale, and before she died she told me she wanted some of the money to go towards improving health in our local region," Mrs Swinton said.
She donated $250,000, which enabled the Foundation to buy an ultrasound simulator and this week she was present for the item's handover. It is believed this piece of equipment is the only one in northern Australia.
The simulator adds to the gift Mrs Swinton already has provided of $150,000 towards the second cardiac catheter laboratory and $150,000 towards the Liz Plummer Cancer Care Centre.
The ultrasound simulator will be used to educate and upgrade the training of hundreds of local doctors in conducting ultrasounds to diagnose trauma, obstetrics, lung and heart conditions. The simulator can "pretend" to be a patient with a particular medical condition – meaning the operator will know what to look for when they ultrasound real patients.
Cairns Hospital staff specialist emergency physician Dr Katrina Starmer said Mrs Swinton's gift was an incredibly generous donation.  
"We are very grateful for this, because it will not only benefit doctors here in Cairns, but it will benefit rural GPs and small hospital doctors. It means the little places and patients from the bush are not left out," Dr Starmer said.
"Simulation-based training is very effective in medical education as it provides an environment for doctors to develop new skills without exposing patients to unnecessary risk. Having such a state-of-the-art piece of equipment as the Vimedix Ultraound Simulator will provide a foundation for improving staff skills and safety for patients and establish the position that the Cairns Hospital is becoming a leader in innovation and education," she said.
Mrs Swinton, whose granddaughter Emma died in her sleep aged 12, and who lost her husband and daughter to cancer, knows first-hand the pain of losing someone special.
"I've had heart treatment as well, that I had to go to Townsville for. It was very important to my daughter and therefore to me, that this money go towards helping local people, so I can rest easy now, knowing that's what I've done. I'm hoping that by telling my story, other people might think of their local health service if they have the ability to make a donation."
Foundation chairman Dr Ken Chapman said Mrs Swinton's donations were incredibly generous and a wonderful example of what could be achieved when the community worked together.
"We are ecstatic today that we can show Mrs Swinton this piece of equipment and she can see and hear the difference it will make to physicians and therefore to patients in our region," Dr Chapman said.

Photo: Mrs Swinton receives a kiss of appreciation from Dr Chapman and Dr Starmer.


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Family driven to ride 19/07/2018

WHEN Fred Blakey’s cardiologist picked up a heart valve problem due to a rheumatic heart condition more than 30 years ago, he knew he was facing some serious work on his heart over the coming years.
“Dad had several heart related procedures over the years, his first aortic valve replacement was done over 30 years ago in Brisbane.  The second was done in Townsville and then a large abdominal aneurysm was repaired in 2013 in Cairns Hospital," his daughter Allison Sciani said. This motivated his bike crazy family to don their helmets and jump on their bikes for the annual Mt Franklin Cardiac Challenge.  We love that through the fundraising done by the participants of the Cardiac Challenge less people will have to leave their loved ones and the district in order to have certain procedures.  
“I always love a challenge, so after completing a Get Out and Get Active course for ladies and bikes earlier this year, I decided it was time to do the Cardiac Challenge," Ms Sciani said.  "David, one of my boys was in on the idea and then Nathan decided he’d jump back on the bike after a serious break to his femur in a bike accident last year.  Not to be outdone by her brothers, Katia decided that she would join the team after we had the loss of Dad – our father and grandfather – on June 4 this year. As our support crew, we have my husband and their father Henry, making sure we are looked after along the way.  The boys' wives will most likely be registered as volunteers and so we have the entire family throwing their weight behind this Challenge.  Excited great grandchildren also will be waiting in Cooktown ready to cheer on the family when they roll in on the last day.
“Mum always accompanied Dad for the treatment as we were all very busy with our work and young families, however it was always hard on her as there was no support for her.  I did accompany her on the second valve replacement that Dad required, which she really appreciated but family support is the key to a good recovery with this big stuff. Dad did know that we were doing the Cardiac Challenge and was very appreciative that we were able to give back to the hospital that had given him so much in treatment over the years, on his behalf.”
The Sciani family is part of the Mareeba team “Are We There Yet”.  So far this year, the team has raised $4775 and is confident of more to come over the coming weeks.
The Mt Franklin Cardiac Challenge will be held for the 12th time this September and is an annual journey from Cairns to Cooktown, hosted by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation.
Instigated by heart patient Pete McNally, the event has raised more than $3.6 million for cardiac services in the Far North and this year will be funding a new Vivid Echocardiogram machine.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said every year the community rallied behind its heart patients, through the Cardiac Challenge. “This family is like so so many here who have been affected by heart conditions – my own included. But the great thing about the Cardiac Challenge, aside from the camaraderie and friends formed, is that all the money stays local and every cent goes towards its intended cause,” Ms Duncombe said.

To register, click HERE.


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Help our hospital 16/07/2018

LESS limbs will be amputated in Far North Queensland, if the community can help provide the latest technology vascular operating microscope.
The Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation has launched an appeal for the community to support the $409,000 piece of equipment, through which our four Cairns Hospital microsurgeons can see blood flowing into transplanted tissue.
Cairns Hospital plastics and microsurgeon Dr Jaeme Zwart said the microscope could be used on patients ranging from children through to the elderly – from trauma through to reconnection procedures.
“There are times we operate on children and some of their vessels are only just visible to the naked eye, but with the new technology we can see it incredibly clearly on a high resolution screen and we can see whether the blood is flowing, in real time,” Dr Zwart said.
“We do have a microscope for these procedures but it won’t show whether the blood is flowing through transplanted tissue, which really is vital to ensuring the procedure is a success,” he said.
“It will lead to better outcomes for patients and ultimately less amputations,” he said. “It also will mean hand function will be improved in delicate hand trauma, including replacing fingers.”
Foundation chairman Dr Ken Chapman said if the public appeal was successful, he believed Cairns Hospital would be the first outside South East Queensland, to be home to one of the new microscopes.
“We understand the Sunshine Coast University Hospital has just taken delivery of one for plastic cases and hospitals in Brisbane are using the technology for neurosurgery,” Dr Chapman said.
“We are passionate about this region having the best equipment and the best medical outcomes for patients – why shouldn’t we have the same level of equipment and service as our city cousins in the south east?”
The Foundation is confident the community will support the initiative – following the overwhelming success of the second cardiac catheter laboratory campaign, in which donors provided $435,000 towards the project in just five weeks.
The equipment purchase would be another step towards the Cairns Hospital becoming a tertiary hospital.
To read more visit HERE. To donate visit HERE.

Photo: Dr Jaeme Zwart explains to Dr Ken Chapman, the need for the surgical microscope.

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New wheels a surprise win 26/06/2018

A SINGLE dad who is an apprentice mechanic will today be driving away in a new Audi A1 that he won for the cost of two $2 raffle tickets.
Kurtis Tahu, 25, was the lucky winner of the prestige vehicle that was raffled to help drive fundraising in the inaugural Audi Arrow Experience.
Hosted by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, the Audi Arrow Experience on June 17 was a fundraising walk of all four arrow trails of Mt Whitfield.
Foundation fundraising and event co-ordinator Gaby Thomasz said it was nice to see the car go to a young person who was starting out in life.
“The event overall raised more than $61,000 which will go towards buying some specialised xray equipment for Cairns Hospital’s emergency department,” Ms Thomasz said.
Kurtis received the phone call at 9am on the Sunday of the event from Ms Thomasz and Audi Cairns owner Alan Ren.
But later he said the phone call was so unexpected, he double checked with Audi.
“I bought two raffle tickets when the car was at one of the shopping centres but I’ve never won anything before, so I certainly didn’t expect to win it,” Mr Tahu said.
“It’s a really good cause – I’ve had family members use the Emergency Department and I’ve got a five-year-old daughter so you never know when you might need them,” he said.
Mr Ren said he was delighted Mr Tahu won the prize and thrilled with the success of the event.
“For a first-time event, I think the Foundation did a great job in pulling it all together and everyone on the day had an amazing time. I look forward to continuing our involvement into the future,” Mr Ren said.

Photo: Alan Ren, Kurtis Tahu and Foundation fundraising and event co-ordinator Gaby Thomasz.

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Ride driven by loss 22/06/2018

MORE than six months after his mother died of a massive heart attack, Nick Lyngcoln finds it hard to control his emotions.
“We knew she was unwell and in hospital but we just didn’t expect to lose her like we did,” Mr Lyngcoln said.
He and his brothers Daniel and Peter had gone to Bali to celebrate the life of a friend but suddenly received a phone call from their mother Anne, aged 64, in her hospital bed.
“We thought she was recovering but she rang and said to us that she didn’t think she was going to survive the day so we did everything we could to get home but she passed away before we got on the plane,” Mr Lyngcoln said.
The three Lyngcoln brothers, along with their father Peter, are channelling their grief and earlier this year formed Annie’s Army, with the aim of raising $10,000 each year to help ensure other families do not go through what they did.
Nick has already taken part in a charity fight night and has just returned from trekking Kokoda as a fundraiser with brother Daniel.
And he’s signed up to take part in the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge this year.
“I know it’s going to be hard, but nothing is as hard as losing our mother,” he said.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said it was extremely sad to hear stories like Nick’s, but amazing that his family was channelling their grief into such a worthy cause.
“We know there are many people who do this bike ride, who are motivated by a personal loss of knowledge of a loved one with heart disease,” Ms Duncombe said.
“Not all of us can be cardiologists but this is a real and tangible way that people can ride their bike or trek Kokoda to make a difference to local families dealing with heart conditions,” she said.
Funds raised this year will go towards a Vivid Echocardiogram ultrasound system for the cardiac department.


Top: Nick and Daniel Lyncoln in PNG.

Above: Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe with Nick Lyncoln.


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Arrow walkers donate to cause 18/06/2018

WHAT does 60 volunteers, 200 walkers and one Audi A1 add up to?
A $60,000 donation towards specialised xray equipment at Cairns Hospital.
The inaugural Audi Arrow Experience on Sunday was a roaring success, with great walking conditions enjoyed by all participants.
The event is a fundraising initiative of the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, raising funds for the Emergency Department of Cairns Hospital. Participants chose to walk two or four of the arrows of Mt Whitfield and could fundraise in traditional ways or by selling raffle tickets in an Audi A1.
Foundation fundraising and event co-ordinator Gaby Thomasz said most participants opted to do the long course and many said they had not previously done all four at the one time.
“The atmosphere on the day was positive and very family-friendly. Everyone knew they were there for the right reason to support a great cause,” Ms Thomasz said.
The raffle of the Audi A1 was drawn and local man Kurtis Tahu was announced the lucky winner, after buying two $2 tickets at a shopping centre.
Top fundraising teams The Big D and Double D  from Dawsons Engineering and For Eyes from Michael Chu Optometry will each receive prizes from Sunlover Reef Cruises.
Genesis Fitness Cairns have donated prizes to top individual fundraising men Eddie Strivens, Lambros Halkidis and Pete McNally, and top individual fundraising women Heather Rogers, Jharna Hogan and Michelle Dorner.
“We have still been receiving donations over the weekend and people can still make donations via the website – to the cause or to individuals or teams, at any time they like,” Ms Thomasz said.


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Motivated fundraisers 15/06/2018

THEY might call themselves the Hinchy Halfwits but this group of motivated trekkers are bright sparks when it comes to fundraising.
The team of four motivated women are among the top fundraising teams for this weekend’s Audi Arrow Experience.
The event is a fundraising initiative of the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, raising funds for the Emergency Department of Cairns Hospital. Participants choose to walk two or four of the arrows of Mt Whitfield and can fundraise in traditional ways or by selling raffle tickets in an Audi A1.
The Foundation hopes to raise enough money to buy some specialised xray equipment for the department and so far is up to $45,825.
Yvonne Spenceley, Catherine Dennis, Stephanie De Zilva and Kerry Vickers have been taking on a number of exercising fundraising adventures in the past few years.
Comprised of nurses, a chef and a dietitian, none of the group have yet undertaken all four Arrows in one day.
“We’re really excited about it actually. We trekked on Hinchinbrook Island in 2017 and now we’re excited to take part in this as well,” Ms Vickers said. “We all like to keep fit and have fun in the great outdoors. We did the Cardiac Challenge a few years ago and really enjoyed that. Then we saw this opportunity and thought ‘why not?” she said.
“We call ourselves halfwits but we’ve survived salty water porridge, emergency chopper beach raids, crossed tidal rivers using tide times that make no sense, one team member endured an unexpected stabbing in the buttocks from a misplaced sharp knife, we’ve learned how to avoid mosquito attack while sitting on a drop toilet and we’ve discovered that one mighty strong Cath can carry litres of red wine and plenty of chocolate to keep team morale up,” she said.
“And we’re really excited that the funds raised are going to the Emergency Department of Cairns Hospital. We know that’s a really busy department so it’s important those staff and patients are supported.”
Foundation fundraising and event coordinator Gaby Thomasz said 52 teams and 188 individuals were registered. “They’ve paid a very modest registration fee and committed to fundraise a minimum of $100 each or $400 per team, and we have great prizes for top fundraising teams and individuals, provided by sponsors,” Ms Thomasz said.

Photo: Yvonne Spenceley, Catherine Dennis and Kerry Vickers from the Hinchy Halfwits are excited about this Sunday's event.


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Seals soothe patients 14/06/2018

ROBOTIC, pet-like seals to help soothe dementia patients, have been provided for older patients at Cairns Hospital.
Two seals, at a cost of $7400 each, were bought by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation after a donation was received from the Scope Club of Cairns for one of them.
Older Persons Evaluation and Assessment Unit (OPERA) nurse unit manager Jane Jordan was ecstatic to receive the seals, which behave like a pet – moving and making sounds, in a manner that has been proven to relax dementia patients.
“Patients can stroke and cuddle the seals, which has been found to reduce patient stress, stimulate positive interaction between patients and caregivers and improve socialisation of patients,” Ms Jordan said.
“They are a Japanese invention and have been in use there and in Europe since 2003. They behave as if they are alive, moving their head and legs, making sounds and showing preferred behaviour,” she said.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said she was thrilled that the seals could be provided and that they would make such a difference to people in our community.
“Unfortunately dementia is becoming increasingly common in society and if this is a way to help those living with it, to be calmer, and reduce reliance on medication, then it’s wonderful. We were very pleased to be able to facilitate this donation,” Ms Duncombe said.
Scope Club of Cairns president Carolyn Luxton said members were very happy the seals had arrived.
“We are sure they will be well received by patients in the OPERA Unit of Cairns Hospital. Although Scope (an Australian Women’s Club) is a relatively small group of members, we enjoy and work hard to fund local projects,” Mrs Luxton said.

Photo: Cairns Hospital patient Jack Fourie with his grandmother, patient Mary Francis and one of the seals.

Scope Club of Cairns member Fran Lindsay.


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Cooper challenges councils 13/06/2018

WELL known Cairns business woman and councillor Linda Cooper has thrown her support behind local cancer patients.
Cr Cooper today issued a challenge to other councillors and staff within Cairns Regional Council, as well as regional councils in the area, to help fundraise for Dry July.
“I'm aiming to have 50 councillors and staff from Cairns Regional Council take part in Dry July with me, and I'm calling for other councils in the region to do the same,” Cr Cooper said.
People who register to take part in Dry July and nominate the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation as their beneficiary, will be helping cancer patients in outlying centres.
Dry July is an international fundraising initiative where participants sign up to “Go Dry” and not drink alcohol for the month of July. Through the financial support they receive from friends, family and colleagues, the Dry July Foundation funds wellness programs, comfort items, transport services, accommodation projects, hospital furnishings and entertainment items.
Foundation fundraising and event co-ordinator Gaby Thomasz said outlying hospitals Mossman, Atherton, Mareeba and Atherton would be the beneficiaries of this year's fundraising efforts.
“We know that health outcomes for people in regional areas, are not as good as for those in our major centres, which was why we decided to help improve cancer facilities in these outlying facilities,” she said.
Last year, the Foundation received almost $40,000 which was used by the Liz Plummer Cancer Care Centre to buy treatment chairs and a PhysioTouch massage therapy device.
Since 2013, Dry July has raised more than $145,000 to help cancer patients in the Far North. The money has bought medical equipment such as chemotherapy pumps which deliver medication while allowing a patient to be mobile.
To sign up for Dry July with the Foundation as the beneficiary, click HERE.



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Ride supports rural patients 12/06/2018

POTENTIALLY lifesaving equipment has been provided to remote hospitals at Georgetown and Croydon, through the RnR MTB Adventure.
The mountain bike fundraising bike ride was held in May this year, as an initiative of the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation.
The Foundation was excited this week to hand over $9000 worth of equipment to Damian Orrell, director of nursing at Croydon Hospital.
The equipment is comprised of special splints and tourniquets that will be used to improve patient outcomes, should they be involved in an accident in a remote area.
Highest fundraiser from the event Trisha Sexton was also present for the handover, which was ironic as her mother was born at the Croydon Hospital, and worked there as a young woman.
“I’m from the bush so to see this equipment handed over is really exciting – I know the difference this will make to people and visitors in remote areas because my family are from there,” Mrs Sexton said.
The fundraising event raised $17,000, with more funds still to be spent in coming months.
Mrs Sexton and her husband Peter are long term supporters of the Foundation, and she was the highest fundraiser on the event, generating $2050 in sponsorship and donations.
Mr Orrell was delighted to meet Mrs Sexton and said the bike ride was vital to his community.
“I look after a community that is spread about 37,500 sq km and we have a diverse range of incidents that we look after – from people coming in to the clinic for general health checkups, to people suffering traumatic accidents on the road or on cattle properties," Mr Orrell said.
“My community and I are really grateful for this support that is making a real and tangible difference," he said.

Photo: Damian Orrell and Trisha Sexton with some of the equipment bought for Georgetown and Croydon Hospitals.


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Team dons sneakers for the day 28/05/2018

A GROUP of optometrist staff are putting aside their special equipment for the day on June 17, to take part in the inaugural Audi Arrow Experience.
The group of four staff from Michael Chu Optometrists have been training and fundraising hard and are excited about the upcoming event.
Practice manager Leanne Lehmann said the “For Eyes” team of Michael Chu, Melissa Moore, Karen Rowe and herself felt it was a worthy cause for the community.
“I’ve been an active user of the Arrow walking tracks for many years and we believe it’s a great time of year to enjoy the unique Arrow walking tracks,” Ms Lehmann said.
“For us, it will not be a race, we’ll just take our time to get to the finishing line and enjoy the walk while we’re there,” she said.
The team is currently at the top of the fundraising team tally, at $595 raised, but other teams are not far behind.
The Audi Arrow Experience is an initiative of the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, as a fundraiser for the Emergency Department of Cairns Hospital.
Foundation fundraising and event co-ordinator Gaby Thomasz said the event was a great opportunity to fundraise for the local health service, that everyone will need at some point.
“In the last year, the Cairns Hospital Emergency Department saw 68,634 patients so we think it’s really important to support these vital health workers,” Ms Thomasz said.
“Most of our participants are choosing to walk all four arrow trails, but we do have some doing the shorter two-trail course as well. Fundraising is going really well – we’ve hit $30,000 but we would really like to raise $100,000,” she said.
Participants are fundraising through donations and raffle ticket sales in a beautiful Audi A1, supplied by Audi Centre Cairns.
It is hoped funds raised will go towards special xray equipment to use when transporting critically unwell monitored patients in a timely manner, as well as improved medical imaging monitors.

For further information, click HERE


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Donation saves lives 23/05/2018

NEXT time you have a heart attack in Cairns, it may well be a defibrillator bought through Cardiac Challenge donations, that shocks you back to life.
The Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation bought four defibrillators for the Emergency Department, as well as a defibrillator for the orthopaedic ward, at Cairns Hospital.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said the items were life-saving cardiac equipment to save anyone’s life in the Far North.
Cairns Hospital emergency department director Dr Richard Stone said the new equipment was newer and using the latest technology. “The new defibrillators also mean we have more available should they be needed by multiple patients at the same time,” Dr Stone said.
“They also provide better cardiac monitoring in case a patient is transferred to another unit within the hospital,” he said. “The software bought by the Foundation allows ECGs (heart tracings) to be captured at the bedside from existing patient monitors and transferred directly into the patient’s medical record. This improvement reduces the time taken by nursing staff to capture an ECG and makes the ECG available to medical staff much sooner. It is a small step on the journey to provide a fully digital health record. All of the emergency department staff are very grateful to everyone who rides a bike and donates to the Cardiac Challenge, which provided this equipment that will certainly benefit the whole Far North community.”
“All of the emergency department staff are very grateful to everyone who rides a bike and donates to the Cardiac Challenge, which provided this equipment that will certainly benefit the whole Far North community.”
The man who instigated Cardiac Challenge 12 years ago, Pete McNally, was thrilled to see the equipment that so many people had worked towards achieving. Since inception, the event has raised more than $3 million for cardiac services in the Far North, including the $1.4 million second cardiac catheter laboratory.
Mr McNally, was born with a congenital heart condition and still requires ongoing cardiac care, said he knew what a difference the equipment would make to patient lives. He has personally been cardioverted 12 times and has undergone numerous procedures over the years.
“We’re taking registrations now for this year’s event – everyone who registers and donates can be confident the money really does stay local and go where it is intended,” Mr McNally said.
Funds raised this year will go towards a Vivid Echocardiogram ultrasound system for the cardiac department.
To register for, or donate to Cardiac Challenge, click HERE.


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Mareeba gift makes a difference 16/05/2018

PARENTS of sick children in Mareeba Hospital will be able to rest a little easier, thanks to Savannah Lifestyle Resorts.
The over 50s lifestyle resort initiated the $15,500 donation of four parent beds, through the Mareeba Friends of the Foundation.
Mareeba Friends chair Ida Portella said she was thrilled when local management of Savannah Lifestyle Resorts approached her.
“This is essentially a local business supporting the local community and we’re thrilled that they recognise the benefit of supporting their local hospital,” Ms Portella said.
“In Mareeba, the business community is very, very generous towards the local hospital and for this we are eternally grateful,” she said.
On hand to witness the donation, were nationally-recognised celebrities Ray Martin and Warren Mundine.
The pair are part of Savannah Lifestyle Resorts official Clubhouse opening, and kindly donated their time to the worthy cause by presenting the cheque on behalf of Savannah Lifestyle Resorts.
Savannah Lifestyle Resorts general manager Lisa Hohns said she knew the Mareeba Hospital was in need of the Washington-style beds for the children’s ward.
“As we are part of the Mareeba community, we want to keep our donations local,” Ms Hohns said.
Mareeba Hospital Director of Nursing and Midwifery Vickye Coffey said it was a wonderful gift and a very generous donation.
“We are extremely grateful for such generosity. This is such a luxury, having the donated four single chairs that convert to sofa portable beds. It enables the parents of sick children to stay at the bedside to provide comfort and stability overnight and during the day,” Ms Coffey said.
“The lounge chairs are roomy and comfortable, so this guarantees a parent can get a good nights’s sleep and be involved in all aspects of care and decision making, as they can be beside their child 24/7,” she said.
Foundation CEO Tony Franz said he was delighted with the generous donation from Savannah Lifestyle Resorts, which would go a long way towards improving the quality of health care at Mareeba Hospital.

Photos: Ray Martin checks the pulse of Warren Mundine, watched on by staff of Mareeba Hospital, Savannah Lifestyle Resorts, and the Mareeba Friends of the Foundation.
Above: Warren Mundine, Ray Martin and Mareeba Hospital staff chat with Kay-Ellen Jones regarding her new son Braxton Brunjes.


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R'n'R riders saddle up 9/05/2018

MORE than 28 cyclists are about to hit the dirt to fundraise for rural health services.

The R’n’R MTB Adventure, hosted by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, departs from Mareeba this Saturday, arriving in Forsayth the following Wednesday.

Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said the riders would travel along rail trails, irrigation channels and bush tracks to Almaden, the next day onto a private cattle property, then Mt Surprise, Einasleigh and Forsayth.

Some of the cyclists are returning to the coast via the world-famous Savannahlander train.

“Last year was the first time we have done this ride and this year the participants have raised more already, and we know there is more money still to come in,” Ms Duncombe said.

“This year we have cyclists, many of whom have done the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge, coming from all over the country to do this one, which is really quite special,” she said.

It was hoped funds raised could be put towards some of the rural health services in the region.

“The Hospital Foundation services as far west as Georgetown, as far south as Cardwell and the islands of the Torres Strait and because this is a rural ride, we’d like to direct the funds to some of the rural health services,” she said.

She was confident that at least $15,000 would be raised by the time the event concludes.

To make a donation to the cause, visit

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Good Friday Fundraiser 28/03/2018

THE strong Victorian ex-patriate community in Port Douglas is hoping to emulate the success of that state’s Good Friday Appeal.
Port Douglas AFL president Chris Bradsworth said the league had come up with the initiative of supporting the Mossman Hospital Friends of the Foundation, similar to the Good Friday Footy in Victoria.
“The idea originated from two years of thinking and talking about what happens in Victoria, and we want to support our local community,” Mr Bradsworth said. “In Victoria, where Good Friday AFL Football is prominent, the Royal Children’s Hospital Appeal raises millions of dollars, so we thought we would donate a percentage of our gate takings to our local hospital,” he said.
“We think the whole Far North Community will come forward to support this and we see it becoming an annual event supporting the Mossman Hospital.”
Spectators will also get to witness the unfurling of two premiership flags from last season, being both the Seniors and Reserves football sides, which will once again be brought to the grounds by sponsors GBR Helicopters, and also escorted by S & S Trike & Harley Tours.
Mossman Hospital Director of Nursing Peter Le Griffon said the Mossman Hospital Friends of the Foundation were extremely excited about the initiative. “We are part of this community and we know it is extremely supportive of what we’re doing, so we’re very excited about this opportunity to further support our community,” Mr Le Griffon said.
“We know our community is passionate about Health Service and we’d love to see some locals join our Community Advisory Network and the Mossman and Douglas Friends of the Foundation Committee,” he said. The hospital has a long history in the community – with the original hospital built in Port Douglas in 1878. The service was relocated to Mossman in 1930.
One particular focus of the hospital is its aged care provision, as well as emergency care for locals and visitors alike.
*The game will be at the Port Douglas Sporting Complex on Good Friday, March 30 from midday. The Port Douglas Crocs will play the South Cairns Cutters. The seconds hit the ground at 12noon with seniors at 2pm. A local musician, Shannon, will be live from the club at 7pm.

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Arrow event launched 26/03/2018

WALKING through the rainforest with your friends while fundraising for life saving equipment, is the latest initiative of the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation.
The Audi Arrow Experience will be launched today, with Cairns Hospital director of emergency Dr Richard Stone, Cairns Regional councillor Richie Bates; as well as Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe and Audi Cairns owner Alan Ren.
"The idea for the Arrow Experience actually came about during a discussion with a supporter so we've been working on it for a few months now and we're really excited to let the public know to save the date," Ms Duncombe said.
The event will be held on June 17, 2018 with participants given the option of a long or short course and the potential to fundraise selling raffle tickets in a new Audi A1.
"In the first year, numbers will be limited to 300 but we think it's going to be a really popular event," Ms Duncombe said.
Fundraising will go towards the Emergency Department of Cairns Hospital.
"We're actually one of the busiest Emergency Departments in the state so every extra piece of equipment we can buy, can mean we can save more lives more quickly," Dr Stone said. Brunch will be available after the event with barbecues, food and drinks provided by fundraising teams.
"We also are excited to announce that Audi have come on board as the naming rights sponsor, enabling us to call this event the Audi Arrow Experience,"
Ms Duncombe said.
"The event will be fully supported - there will be volunteers and medics at intervals along the way, and at the end of the activity, we'll draw the winner of the Audi," she said.
The new owner of Audi Cairns, Alan Ren, who lives nearby, said he was excited to be involved with both the event and the Foundation.
"We were actually researching the Foundation before we moved up from Sydney and we're really excited to be aligned with this local charity that is keeping funds raised local. With a young family ourselves, we hope we don't need to, but we know the day may well come that we need the local health service," Mr Ren said.
"I have been inspired by the passionate team at the Foundation and look forward to working with them over the coming years to support the Cairns community," he said.
Registrations are open at

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Roses for a Hearty Cause 16/03/2018

ONE year and one day ago, Geoff Choveaux’s life hung in the balance.
The “jumper leads” were put on his chest eight times, re-starting his heart when it stopped beating numerous times.
Today, the Yungaburra rose farmer has provided 50 bunches of roses for sale, with funds raised going towards “Team McGuinness”, a husband and wife duo riding in the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge.
While Mary, a midwife at Cairns Hospital, was not available to help sell roses, her colleague Melissa Marshall put her salesperson skills to the test.
Ms Marshall met Mr Choveaux’s partner at a Tableland markets recently, started chatting about the anniversary of his medical condition and offered the roses as a fundraiser.
“I don’t ride a bike,” Ms Marshall said, “But this is my way of helping out.”
Mr Choveaux was in Atherton delivering roses when he started to “feel a bit funny”.
“I was going to drive home to Yungaburra, but then I thought I’d drive to the doctor and then I thought ‘No, I think I’ll just drive straight to hospital’.”
Which he did, but then found he could not get out of the car as he was too weak and giddy, so he telephoned his partner Eve-Lyn McGrath, who called the hospital directly and staff raced out to help him. This happened around noon.
“They put the jumper leads (defibrillator) on me seven times in Atherton and another time in Cairns, and the helicopter flew me down to Cairns, where they cleared out the blockage and put a stent in. I’m very lucky,” Mr Choveaux said.
He was resting comfortably in the ward by the time his partner arrived at the Cairns Hospital at 5pm.
“This is our little way of saying thank you to all the staff who looked after us and maybe helping provide equipment to help someone else,” he said.
Registrations are open for the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge, an annual fundraising bike ride from Cairns to Cooktown in September. Visit HERE for more information.


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Lucky escape leads to gift 2/03/2018

ONE man’s near-death experience at Cairns Hospital has led to the donation of a vital piece of equipment.
Rob Sattler spent nine days in the Intensive Care Unit at Cairns Hospital in 2017 and is now so grateful to have his life back, that he is actively fundraising for the department.
During his stay in hospital, Rob and wife Lucy decided they wanted to make a difference to the staff who had made such a difference in their lives.
They spoke with Lucy’s mother Terina Sylvester, a member of the Rotary Club of Cairns Trinity, who took their request for help to her fellow Rotarians.
“The Rotarians thought the i-Stat Analyzer was a very worthy purchase when they heard the machine would provide much faster results for very sick babies as the machine could be used at the bedside,” Ms Sylvester said.
“It would also mean less blood was needed for the test as the machine was especially for testing babies and infants.  Previously the ICU had to use a blood gas machine designed for adults, this meant the blood collection was an adult quantity, and the test couldn’t be conducted at the bedside, another problem that the new machine could remedy.”
The Rotarians decided to donate the full $9900 needed for the purchase, using funds that had been collected for The Dream Flight Trust – a special trust fund under the management of the Rotary Club of Cairns Trinity. The Trust holds funds specially allocated for children and the Rotarians thought the i-stat Analyser perfectly fitted the aims of the Trust.
Cairns Hospital ICU Nurse Unit Manager Trish Smith said the iSTAT was a valuable clinical tool that enables critical biochemistry of seriously ill children to be measured with minute amounts of blood.
“This is beneficial to both the child and the health care team as it results in reduced pain and discomfort for the child, and a smaller sample is needed to be obtained to get an accurate result.
The iSTAT also is used to accurately measure low levels of calcium, which is a requirement in providing advanced critical care dialytic therapy for adult and paediatric patients in the ICU. We are grateful to have members of our local community provide such a useful piece of equipment for the ICU,” Ms Smith said.
The donation was made via the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation. CEO Tony Franz said it was rewarding to see the community recognising a need in local health care, and rallying together to make it happen. “We're seeing that more and more now, that people are recognising they can make a real difference to health outcomes in their community – in recognition of something they or a loved one have been through.”

Rob’s Story:
 Rob's normally a healthy 38-year-old local dad and business owner. In August 2017, he caught the flu, and by the middle of September he was in a coma.
 The flu weakened his immune system and allowed pneumonia to take hold. And because they are busy people who tend to 'soldier on', it turned into sepsis before they knew about it.
 Pneumonia didn't look like you'd expect it to. Rob had a light cough that wouldn't go away, and was pretty tired, but otherwise not much different to normal. In fact, he thought he was still just recovering from the nasty flu. Which is how everything got so out of hand.
Rob walked into Cairns Hospital on Saturday, September 16 at 9.30am. By 3pm, he was in an induced coma. He stayed in the coma on life support until the following Thursday, and all up spent 9 days in the ICU and 19 days in hospital.
 Without the care, experience and support of the team at Cairns ICU, Rob wouldn't be here. He was just about as sick as you can be, and survive. If he'd been 20 years older, or smoked or was overweight, he wouldn't be here. If his heart had failed, he wouldn't be here.
 Rob's now working to raise awareness for sepsis through his Instagram account, Rob's Hike Back To Life, and would like to raise funds to improve the conditions for patients and their loved ones in the ICU.

Photos: Below: Lyn Jensen, President of the Rotary Club of Cairns Trinity; Graham Reveleigh, Treasurer of the Rotary Club of Cairns Trinity, and Trustee of the Dream Flight Trust; Terina Sylvester, member of Rotary Club of Cairns Trinity; Rob Sattler, previous patient of ICU and Lucy Sattler.

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Beautiful beetroot brownies 26/02/2018

What you need
250g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), 100g butter, 250g cooked beetroot, drained; three eggs, 250g light brown sugar, 2 tbspn cocoa powder, 1 tbspn vanilla extract, 150g ground almonds, 1 tbspn baking powder, 1 tbspn cayenne pepper powder (optional).
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare a 23cm square baking tin by greasing with a little butter. Line with a wide strip of baking paper, leaving two “tails” at either side to help lift the cooked brownie out of the tin.
2. Break chocolate into squares and put into a heatproof bowl with the butter. Set over a pan of barely simmering water and allow to gently melt, stirring to mix together as it does so.
3. Tip beetroot into a food processor and process to a puree, pausing the motor to scrape down sides if necessary.
4. Add melted chocolate, butter and eggs and whizz until combined. Scrape sides down, add sugar, almonds, cocoa, baking powder and chilli powder (if using) and process until smooth.
5. Pour into prepared baking tin and bake for about 30 minutes until the top is set and brownie is starting to pull a little away from sides of the tin. A skewer inserted in the centre will come out fairly clean but still a touch sticky - don’t worry if it still seems a little soft as it will firm up on cooling.
6. Remove from oven, place on a cooling rack and allow to go cold in the tin. 7. Using baking paper tails, ease from the tin and cut into 16 squares.

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Friends dedicated to hospital 26/02/2018

THE Mareeba Friends of the Foundation recently handed over about $30,000 towards equipment at Mareeba Hospital, the latest in a long line of donations.
The community organisation has been operating for more than 10 years, and in that time has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment and items to the hospital, including televisions and the recently completed $100,000 children’s playground.
The latest donation was for a portable ultrasound device improving the recognition of abdominal trauma, heart conditions and the early detection of bone trauma for example after a fall or accident when an x-ray will be delayed.
The probes also allow for quick look obstetrics ultrasounds.
“The Mareeba Friends is a great way for the community to connect with the hospital and they know we’re there to support them,” said chairperson for the group Ida Portella.
“Whatever they need, they come to us and let us know and if we’re happy with it and if we feel it’s going to improve patient services, then we say let’s do it,” Ms Portella said.
A lot of the group’s funds come from private donations, Rotary and Bendigo Bank but each year the Mareeba District Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association hold a fundraising dinner with all proceeds going to the Foundation. In 2017 they raised more than $18,500.
They currently have two chairs for the palliative care rooms to make life comfortable for those sitting with dying loved ones,  on order. They also are waiting for a cuddle cot sleeping system which allows parents to stay with their babies a little longer after they have passed away.
“In the last six months we’ve spent well over $160,000 at the hospital,” Ms Portella said.
“Queensland Health know we are here and we do care about our hospital and by giving to our hospital it’s great for our community. We’re all going to benefit from it.”
The Mareeba Friends of the Foundation is currently looking for a new project and considering buying some dialysis units, refurbishing the chapel or buying an outdoor kitchen.
“We’re working with the hospital at the moment looking at a range of things,” Ms Portella said. “These are all things that enhance the patient services. If there’s more that we can do, we will do it,” she said.

Photo: Mareeba Friends of the Foundation chair Ida Portella checks out the ultrasound probes with Acting Medical Superintendent at mareeba Hospital Toby Hopton and Senior Medical Officer Brian Treanor.


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Friends groups get together 26/02/2018

WE recently caught up with these fabulous ladies, who are "Friends of the Foundation" in Gordonvale, Innisfail and Mareeba for a workshop on their fundraising activities.
Fundraising groups in each of these communities are tireless workers to improve equipment available to patients and staff in those areas.
Thanks so much to Dr Sean McManus, who gave a fascinating presentation about ICU, as well as our chairman Dr Ken Chapman and Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service chairman Clive Skarott AM for joining us for a productive day.


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Funds put to good use 26/02/2018

WE love to spend the money that is generously donated to us and we've been putting it to good use recently.
Triple M Cairns raised $13,067 during their 2017 Give Me 5 for Kids campaign and we bought quilts, lamps and rocking chairs for the parent rooms in Special Care Nursery at Cairns Hospital.
Kim Berman-Hardman from paediatric speech pathology told us she treats babies and children with communication and feeding difficulties due to their complex medical conditions.
"Thanks to GM54K Ii was able to purchase lots of toys and resources to improve the outcomes of my patients. I would really like to thank GM54K and Triple M for their generous donation. I know its going to improve my therapy."



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Volunteers get front row seat 26/02/2018

DO you want a front row seat to the best show in town?
Volunteers are needed to help the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation help the world's top ironment and women compete in the Cairns Ironman events.
Be part of the atmosphere by being involved in an official capacity.
You might be a local wanting to support your community, an avid triathlete, a veteran volunteer, a student wanting to gain experience at world class event, or simply a lover of sport.
This will be a spectacular event, and the enthusiasm of our volunteer army will be crucial to its success.
To get involved, contact Foundation volunteer manager Anne Chirio on Ph: 4225 8993 or email

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Outback ride a family affair 21/02/2018

IT was while riding in one fundraising bike ride that Rebecca Buldo’s interest in another fundraising ride was piqued.
The Cooktown nurse said the R’n’R MTB Adventure would be a family affair – with her husband Paul volunteering and brother-in-law Mick also riding.
The R’n’R MTB Adventure is a cycling initiative of the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, following the overwhelming success of the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge. Cyclists in the R’n’R MTB Adventure will travel from Mareeba to Forsayth in May, with the option of returning on the world famous Savannahlander train.
 “My passion came about from my good friends in Cooktown who encouraged me to join them in riding socially, which soon led to more serious training for the Cardiac Challenge. For some, they have never missed a year since its inception.   It was during my second Cardiac Challenge last year during one of the many chats you have with the cyclists in your pack, that one of the riders was promoting the R’n’R,” Ms Buldo said.
“I mentioned this to my brother-in-law who lives interstate and he leapt at the idea.  How could I say no? Clearly, this was going to be a fantastic opportunity.   Living in Cooktown, working at the hospital and knowing its physical distance to a tertiary facility, reminds me daily of the importance of having equitable access to specialist medical treatment.
“Events such as these contribute greatly in providing much needed funding and I feel proud that I can contribute.  I am getting serious with my training now and as this is my first R’n’R, I am thrilled about having a more relaxed ride and being able to enjoy the countryside and what it has to offer.   The itinerary looks very interesting.  I believe this will is a great opportunity and I am pleased to be able to share this with my family.”
Mick Buldo, who works in the defence force in Canberra, has been a commuter cyclist for 20 years and did the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge for the first time in 2016 and again in 2017.
“For me, it was an opportunity to get motivated for a great cause – the professional connection to Rebecca’s nursing work, and also a great reason to catch up with family,” Mr Buldo said. And he’s planning to ride the R’n’R MTB Adventure on his fat bike – a normal bicycle but with oversize tyres to allow riding on soft terrain such as snow or sand. “I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into the R’n’R with Rebecca and my big brother providing support crew. Just as I’m looking forward to Cardiac 2018 to be Cooktown bound for the third year in a row.”
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said potential cyclists only have until February 28 to register for an amazing event taking in some stunning countryside. “It’s really quite spectacular countryside – it’s a smaller group of just 35 riders, and we camp and get to know each other, in outback Queensland.”

TOP: Brendan Buldo, Rebecca Buldo and Mick Buldo taking part in the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge in 2017.
ABOVE: Mick on his “fat” bike in Canberra on a “zero-degrees” day.



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Cardiac goal reached 2/02/2018

THE Cairns community has reached its goal, and fundraised $1.4 million for a second cardiac catheter laboratory at Cairns Hospital.
Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation chairman Dr Ken Chapman said he was blown away by the generosity of individuals and groups, who answered the call for help.
“We already had some money in the bank from the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge but the community answered the call and we received significant donations towards this project in a short space of time, totalling $423,000,” Dr Chapman said. The final donation of $50,000 came from a woman who saw that’s how much was needed to reach the total, and she was glad to be able to get the appeal over the line.
In addition, funds from the Car for Cardiac, Christmas Wrap and The Power of Pallets went towards the $1.4 million total.
Cairns Hospital director of cardiology Dr Greg Starmer said he could not be more grateful for the Foundation’s work in bringing the community together for the common goal.
Work is well underway, with applicants for the cardiology electrophysiologist position soon to be interviewed.
“As well, we are training more cardiac catheter laboratory nurses and we’re are about to start recruiting a new echocardiology sonographer,” Dr Starmer said.
“We are awaiting final architectural drawings but these have begun.
“What this means for the entire Far North community, is that patients all the way to the outer Torres Strait Islands will benefit, and the contribution from the community to enable this to occur is both unique and greatly appreciated,” he said. The two cardiac catheter laboratories will run side-by-side in a new location in D Block at Cairns Hospital.
“We will be able to do all the work we already are, such as angioplasties and other coronary procedures. But the second lab means we will be able to perform ablations of abnormal heart rhythms rather than send those patients to Townsville or Brisbane. We also will be able to implant life-saving implantable defibrillators into who people who need them – also saving them having to go to Townsville or Brisbane,” he said.
Dr Starmer is confident the second cath lab facility will be operational by the end of the year.


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Many hands make light work 31/01/2018

MANY hands make light work and that was certainly the case for the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation’s annual Christmas wrap last month.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said 130 volunteers wrapped to their hearts content, filling 429 shifts and working about 1716 hours.
The Foundation received $21,062.30 through shoppers having their gifts wrapped for a gold coin donation per gift.
More than 135 volunteers, spent 1624 hours, over 406 shifts, wrapping more than 10,000 gifts during the Christmas season at Cairns Central.
Cairns Central centre manager Christie-Lee Jackson said it was delightful that Cairns shoppers again supported their local charity. “We know these lovely volunteers were very busy throughout the month, and this is our little way of thanking them for their hard work,” she said.
To thank the volunteers for their hard work and dedication to the health services of the Far North, Cairns Central hosted a morning tea at Coffee Club on Wednesday, January 31.
Ms Duncombe said funds raised from this year’s Christmas Wrap, would go directly towards the second cardiac catheter laboratory at Cairns Hospital.
“Every cent we receive through donations stays local and every cent goes to its intended cause because all our administrative costs are covered by our commercial operations,” Ms Duncombe said.
“Since the Foundation’s inception 20 years ago, we have now contributed more than $15 million to improving health care in the Far North, and events such as this really do make a difference to patient outcomes,” Ms Duncombe said.




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Oh what a feeling! 30/01/2018

A LOCAL builder with a long history of supporting the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, is the surprise winner of a Toyota Yaris car raffle.
Max Bryant, owner of Bryant Constructions, was somewhat surprised when he received the phone call last week. He also won $1000 worth of fuel from Mobil Trinity Petroleum.
“Well you don’t buy raffle tickets to win things, do you. You do it to support the charity,” Mr Bryant said.
“We support the Foundation by donating to the Cardiac Challenge and my wife and I regularly donate for particular events so we do what we can,” he said.
His winning ticket was one of 25 he bought online after receiving an email about the raffle.
The Foundation sold 3084 tickets online, and 19,647 paper tickets.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe was very surprised when Mr Bryant’s name was randomly drawn by computer.
“I’ve known Max for a really long time and I know he’s been a Rotarian for a long time so it’s nice to see it go to someone who supports the community so much,” Ms Duncombe said.
The Car for Cardiac initiative raised just over $35,000 for the Foundation, with funds raised going to the second cardiac catheter laboratory project.
“This is a really important project for people in Far North Queensland and will prevent many heart patients having to travel away for treatment,” she said.
“We’re really grateful for the support not only from all the people who bought a ticket, but also from the volunteers who sold the ticket and the shopping centres who supported it by having the car in centre at various times.”


Photo: Glenys Duncombe with Pacific Toyota dealer principal Shannon Marshall.

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Family helps other families 17/01/2018

A GENEROUS Cairns family touched by heart disease has come forward to help other heart patients in the Far North.
The family, who did not wish to be identified, have pledged $100,000 to the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation’s cardiac catheter laboratory project.
The commitment brings the total raised by the Foundation to $1.3 million – leaving just $100,000 still to be raised.
They met with the Foundation and Cairns Hospital director of cardiology Dr Greg Starmer just before Christmas, and confirmed their commitment to support the project.
The siblings are acting on behalf of a family trust, set up by their father, a well known local cane farmer and business man.
“Dad had his first heart attack aged 60 and five years later he had a quintuple bypass in Brisbane,” the family said.
“We had another 23 wonderful years with our Dad, he died 10 years ago of an unrelated matter and so when we saw that the Foundation was fundraising for something that would help other heart patients, it seemed fitting that we do this in his honour,” the sister said.
Just before Christmas, the pair met with Cairns Hospital director of cardiology Dr Greg Starmer, who explained how their money would make a difference.
Ironically, Dr Starmer and the man are both “Saints boys”, albeit a few years apart.
“We love that the money stays here and that we can see exactly what it's going to. We're with you,” the brother said to Dr Starmer.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said she was simply blown away by the community's commitment to making the second cath lab a reality.
“We've now received significant donations of $423,000 and a pledge of $100,000 towards this project in just a couple of months and we're so grateful to these generous people,” Ms Duncombe said.
“We've still got the money to be tallied from Christmas Wrap and the Car for Cardiac which concludes on January 24, 2018, so I think we'll only have $50,000 to go then,” she said.
People can contribute by making a tax deductible donation directly via or buying tickets in the “Car for Cardiac” - also on the website or at Cairns Central until January 2, 2018 and then at Stockland Earlville until January 23, 2018.

Photo: Cairns Hospital director of cardiology Dr Greg Starmer, with the Foundation's Glenys Duncombe at the launch of the "Car for Cardiac".

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Donation a new record 17/01/2018

IT’s not every day that someone walks into a charity office in Far North Queensland, with a cheque for $300,000.
But that’s exactly what happened a few weeks ago to experienced fundraiser Glenys Duncombe of the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation.
“I sat the donor and her friend down in our boardroom and she handed over the cheque – I couldn’t believe it,” Ms Duncombe said.
She quickly fetched Foundation CEO Tony Franz who also was stunned at the donation – the single largest in the Foundation’s history.
The money is to be split equally between the cardiac catheter laboratory project and the Liz Plummer Cancer Care Unit.
At her request, the donor is remaining anonymous, but was happy to talk about her story.
Aged 87, the woman has endured terrible heartache – losing her husband, daughter and grandaughter, as well as undergoing significant medical issues herself.
Born locally at Herries Hospital, in 2008 the woman underwent major heart procedures in Townsville.
“I just think locals should support locals and that’s what I’ve done with this donation. My family has been hit by both heart conditions and cancer, so I wanted to support both causes,” she said.
“Wouldn’t it be great if we all did something like this – what a difference we could make. I want to give back to future generations.”
Her donation brings the tally to $1.2 million for the $1.4 million project, leaving $200,000 remaining to be raised.

Photo: Cairns Hospital interventional cardiologists Dr Greg Starmer and Dr Anthony Brazzale.


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Staff grateful for ventilator 21/12/2017

A PORTABLE ventilator will help keep Mossman patients in their community, rather than having to travel away to Cairns.
Mossman Hospital Emergency Department clinical nurse Kath Anich said the device, which performs invasive ventilation, non-invasive ventilation and hi-flow nasal oxygen, could be used on babies, children and adults when they come into hospital.
“For people who have breathing difficulties, sometimes there is a narrow window, where if you can get them onto a device like this, it will help them more than normal oxygen,” Ms Anich said.
“It might even prevent them deteriorating to the point they stop breathing or need more invasive intervention,” she said.
“This is usually a device that larger emergency departments have, but for us to have it will mean we can better stabilise critically ill patients before they are helicoptered out to Cairns, or even that they won’t have to be transferred out to Cairns at all,” she said.
At a cost of $44,000, the ventilator was bought by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation.
“We’re really thankful to the Foundation for providing this to us – we wouldn’t have had it otherwise and we know it will make a big difference to many of our patients,” Ms Anich said.
Foundation CEO Tony Franz said it was a pleasure to provide equipment that would make such an immediate difference to patient outcomes.
“We can see that this will have a positive impact on patients and the community overall because there is obviously a cost and it becomes more emotionally difficult when loved ones are in hospital some distance away from home,” Mr Franz said.
The item was funded through donations as well as profits from the Foundation’s cafes and carpark.
PHOTO: L to R – Senior Medical Officer (SMO) Dr Adam Pritchard, SMO Dr Anna Gough, Clinical Nurse Kath Anich, Registered Nurse Jess Shapter & Clinical Nurse Reggie Knight.


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Minister matches funds raised 21/12/2017

The addition of a second $2.8 million cardiac catheterisation laboratory will increase capacity at Cairns Hospital by up to 1400 extra cardiac patients.
During his first visit to Cairns Hospital in his new role as Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Mr Steven Miles announced the new laboratory which is due to open late in 2018.
The State Government has matched the $1.4 million dollars raised through the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation for the project.
“Demand for cardiac services in the far north is ever-increasing due to a growing and ageing population,” Mr Miles said.
“The $2.8 million dollars will fund the fit out, construction and the latest equipment for the new cardiac catheterisation lab.
“This commitment will significantly expand the Cairns Hospital’s ability to respond to increasing demand for this service and provide the highest quality patient care.”
“The second cardiac catheter lab will be adjacent to the Cardiac Unit and Cardiac Investigations Unit in Block D creating an integrated cardiac service all on one level.”
Cairns Hospital’s Clinical Director of Cardiology Dr Greg Starmer said as well as increasing capacity, the range of cardiac services will also be expanded once the facility is completed.
“Currently, people who need Electrophysiological services (EPS) need to travel outside the Cairns region, usually to Townsville but it will become available in the new cardiac catheterisation lab, meaning more far north Queensland patients can be treated closer to home,” Dr Starmer said.
“This expansion represents a major advancement in the delivery of comprehensive, high quality cardiac services to the far north region.”
Patient activity at the cath lab has almost doubled since 2013, according to the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service.
The 11-year-old lab became a 24/7 service only two years ago. CHHHS has submitted a business case for capital funding for a new cath lab with recurrent costs already approved in principle by its new board.
Dr Starmer said public patients currently needing the service are placed on a long waiting list and ultimately sent to Townsville.

PHOTO: Foundation chairman Dr Ken Chapman, CHHHS chairman Clive Skarott AM, Cairns Hospital Director of Cardiology Dr Greg Starmer, Health Minister Steven Miles, Member for Cairns Michael Healy.

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Fishos leave legacy of health 20/12/2017

GAME fishing fanatics from around the world are leaving a legacy of improved health care for heart patients in Far North Queensland.
Leftover funds from a life-size marlin sculpture unveiled on the Cairns waterfront last year, have been donated to the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, for the second cardiac catheter laboratory project.
The large, bronzed black marlin statue was commissioned to recognise the significant contribution the game fishing industry had had on Cairns tourism and the general economy.
Cheryl Campbell - a member of the Cairns Game Fishing Commemorative Association, which was established to raise funding for the project - said support for the “lasting legacy” of the Cairns game fishing industry had gained widespread national and international support, above and beyond what the association had originally anticipated.
“We received some significant donations for the sculpture from overseas, Australia and the local Far Northern community and it was the committee’s view that we should donate the leftover funds to a worthy local cause. And, the Foundation certainly fits the bill,” Mrs Campbell said.
She is a long-standing supporter of Cairns Hospital and was one of the original board members of the  Foundation when it was established in 1997.
She said most members of the Commemorative Association had been touched by the work of the Foundation in some way, whether personally or through friends or family. “When we sat down to decide where the extra funding should go, the Foundation seemed a natural choice and the cardiac catheter laboratory will benefit so many members of the Cairns community over many years to come,” she said.
Association president Capt Dennis “Brazzaka” Wallace agreed the Foundation was a deserving recipient. “Cairns is of size and the community is going to need these (cardiac) procedures more and more, so it makes sense to help bring these services closer to home so we don’t have to travel away,” Mr Wallace said. “Similar to the marlin sculpture being a lasting legacy for the game fishing industry, we believe the cardiac catheter lab will leave an important legacy of its own on the Cairns community.”
Foundation chairman Dr Ken Chapman said the $123,000 donation from the Association was a very welcome and generous gift. “Gifts like this really make a difference to this important project,” Dr Chapman said.
“We are edging closer all the time to our goal of $1.4 million so we are calling on the community to support us in the work we are doing to support heart patients in FNQ,” he said.


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Rapt about wrapping 14/12/2017

TAKE the stress out of Christmas this year and hand over your trolley of presents to be wrapped by volunteers for charity.
More than 130 Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation volunteers are giving up hours of their time this Christmas, to help cardiac patients.
Foundation CEO Tony Franz said the community was incredibly generous last year, donating $22,695 to the volunteer wrappers at Cairns Central’s Christmas Wrap.
“Funds raised from this annual event, will this year be going towards the second cardiac catheter lab project at Cairns Hospital,” Mr Franz said. “Of course all the funds that are donated to us, stay local to benefit local people.”
The project will mean less people have to travel to Townsville or Brisbane for heart treatment, and more heart patients can stay local.
“We actually have the highest rate of hospital admissions for acute myocardial infarction in Queensland, at 905 per 100,000, which is 3.5 times higher than the national average.”
Last year more than 135 volunteers, spent 1624 hours, over 406 shifts, wrapping more than 10,000 gifts during the Christmas season at Cairns Central.
“Customers donate a gold coin for each gift to be wrapped, so that means the Hospital volunteers were very busy this year,” Mr Franz said.
Some volunteers use the event as a team-building exercise in their workplace, others volunteer with their family and some have moved away, but every year when they come “home” for Christmas they always volunteer at Christmas Wrap.
Funds raised from events such as Christmas Wrap have previously contributed towards the brainlab orthopaedic surgery equipment, paediatric playground, education, training and research grants and interactive patient stations.
“Every cent we receive through donations stays local and every cent goes to its intended cause because all our administrative costs are covered by our commercial operations,” he said. “Since the Foundation’s inception 20 years ago, we have contributed more than $14 million to improving health care in the Far North, and events such as this really do make a difference to patient outcomes,” Mr Franz said.
Cairns Central is delighted to continue to partner with the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation for the annual charity Christmas gift wrap, which has been going for more than 15 years. We are truly overwhelmed by the generosity of the community, giving up their own time to help such a worthy local fundraiser,” Cairns Central Centre Manager Christie-Lee Jackson said.


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Grilled peaches with ricotta 6/12/2017

Australian peaches are available between October and April. Rich in vitamins A, C and E and a great source of dietary fibre and potassium, Australian peaches are some of the world’s best eating fruit. Our warm climate and hot, dry summers promote sweeter, juicier summer stone fruit. Peaches bruise easily so look for smooth, unblemished fruit and handle with care. They generally arrive in the shops in a firm condition and will have flesh that crunches when eaten. This is a simple and easy dish perfect for Christmas. Enjoy.
Grilled peaches with ricotta
What you need
4 just-ripe peaches, halved, stone removed; 1 orange zested and retain ½ the juice; 200g fresh ricotta cheese; 1tbspn icing sugar; pinch ground cinnamon; 100g toasted muesli - slightly crushed or crushed ginger nut biscuits; 4 tbspn warm runny honey to serve.
1. Preheat grill on medium-high heat. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Place the peaches, cut side up, on the tray.
2. Place ricotta, cinnamon, icing sugar, orange juice and zest in a bowl and stir until well combined. Spoon mixture into peach cavities. Sprinkle over toasted muesli or ginger nut biscuits. Grill peaches for 4 to 5 minutes or until crumbs start to brown.
3. Spoon peach halves onto plates. Drizzle with honey and serve. Add a good quality vanilla ice cream.



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Improving patient outcomes 29/11/2017

A $300,000 community investment is improving patient outcomes at Cairns Hospital.
The Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation contributed the money through donations from the community, towards the overall $1.5 million budget of the vital signs monitors.
Cairns Hospital ieMR clinical leader Cam Stewart said 100 vital signs monitors were bought, as well as software to upgrade a further 100 devices that were already in place.
The monitors use WiFi to transfer a patient’s vital signs or “observations” – temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturations into the patient electronic observation chart.
“The vital signs monitors automatically upload that information into a patient’s electronic medical record – rather than a nurse having to write it down on a chart, or a scrap of paper, or type them manually into the computer,” Mr Stewart said.
“The biggest outcomes are less transcribing mistakes, significant time savings for nurses and we can better identify and track if a patient is deteriorating so we can act more quickly to address that,” he said.
“Already in just three months we’re seeing time savings of up to 2 minutes per set of observations most nurse do 10-12 sets of vital signs a shift, so if you extrapolate that across the whole hospital, there is a lot of time invested back into quality care.”
And a survey of staff who have used the technology indicate almost 90 per cent of them, found it easy to use and more than 70 per cent said they found it saved time.
“At the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane where this has been running for 2.5 years, they found in some areas earlier response and recognition of clinical deterioration and we’re very confident that Cairns Hospital will follow that trend.”
The vital signs monitors are being used in most wards of the hospital, with a couple of wards yet to “go live”.
Foundation CEO Tony Franz said it was incredibly heart warming to know that community donations were going to improving patient outcomes.
“This technology is incredible to watch in action and we are confident it will save nurses time, save potential errors and mean better patient care in the long term,” Mr Franz said.

Photo: Cairns Hospital nurse India Talbot and ieMR clinical leader Cam Stewart demonstrate the vital signs technology to Foundation CEO Tony Franz.


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Marmalade sandwiches ready 24/11/2017

BEARS like Paddington are very rare. And a good thing too, if you ask me, or it would cost us a small fortune in marmalade.
Fans of the famous Paddington Bear have been invited to an exclusive advance screening of Paddington 2, the follow-up to the 2014 smash hit family film, in Cairns on December 3.
Sick children in Far North Queensland will benefit from ticket sales to the event at three city cinemas.
Thanks to a partnership between Event Hospitality and Entertainment (EVENT) and film distributor StudioCanal, the proceeds from every ticket sold in Cairns will be donated directly to the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, to help give sick and injured kids access to the best possible paediatric care.
Foundation fundraising and events co-ordinator Lindsay McDonnell said since 2015, Event (including local Rydges hotels) had provided more than $40,000 to the Foundation. “This has come about through payroll deductions, staff fundraising functions, gold coin donations and the company matching donations,” Ms McDonnell said.
Event Cinemas Regional Queensland Marketing Manager Deanne Clark said the company was thrilled to be supporting such a meaningful initiative.
“This year will mark the seventh annual charity screening which has seen over $580,000 raised from this initiative alone around! In addition, our food and beverage team have confirmed they will donate $2 from every Paddington 2 Combo sold on the day, to add to the fundraising,” Ms Clark said.
The much-anticipated sequel looks every bit as charming and whimsical as the first film, and finds Paddington happily settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens, where he has become a popular member of the community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes.
While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, he spots a unique pop-up book in Mr Gruber’s antique shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. But when the book is stolen, it’s up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the culprit. Ben Whishaw is again voicing the titular mischief-maker, with Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson joining the cast.
Tickets for this exclusive advance charity screening of PADDINGTON 2 will cost $12* each and can be bought online at or at cinema box offices.
StudioCanal’s PADDINGTON 2 releases in theatres nationwide on December 26, 2016
Buy tickets HERE

Photo: Flynn Clark cannot wait for the Paddington 2 charity screening.


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Sitting on top of the world 24/11/2017

PATIENTS, staff and volunteers of Cairns Hospital are sitting on top of the world lip syncing and dancing to one of Australian singing sensation Delta Goodrem’s singles.
The video, released today, brings awareness to helping improve health outcomes in the Far North.
Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation chairman Dr Ken Chapman said the song was an inspirational example of the close partnership between the Foundation, Cairns Hospital staff, volunteers and patients.
“It really is an amazingly heart-warming snapshot of the incredible people we work with every day, and what can be achieved,” Dr Chapman said.
“We hope that people will see this, be inspired, share it and we can help even more patients in the Far North ‘sit on top of the world’,” he said.
 “The project is something the team had wanted to create for a long time, but it was a chance meeting with a connection with the Sony Foundation that really sparked the fire,” Dr Chapman said.
Videographer Norbert von der Heidt and director Brad Newton donated 2.5 days to filming the project, and the Foundation had incredible support from staff, volunteers and patients. The whole video actually was produced by 92 amazing local people.
“We know some of the hospital staff said to us they found it to be a great team-building project and it’s really wonderful for people to be having fun, and supporting a great cause.”
Patient Skye Vass, mum of three, said the video was exciting to be involved in.
“After the twins arrived I was in hospital for a little while and used a piece of equipment the Foundation had bought, so it really brought home to me how important it was to be involved and make a difference,” she said.
“I always feel like I receive really amazing care at the Cairns Hospital. Everything is really focussed on the patient, which is wonderful.”

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Volunteers put heart into event 17/11/2017

HUNDREDS of volunteer hours have gone into prepping food for party-goers intent on fundraising for a good cause.
Acclaimed chef Catherine Pacey has been working behind the scenes for months on menu planning and sourcing volunteer hospitality workers for The Power of Pallets this Friday night.
“I have always enjoyed event co-ordination and food plays such an important part when bringing people together,” Ms Pacey said.
Former executive chef at Thala Beach Lodge and currently chef and owner of Cairns Cooking School, Ms Pacey said the Hospital Foundation supports the whole community so she felt the whole community should support it in return.
“I’ve actually been involved with The Power of Pallets since it began four years ago and I just love it.”
She has sourced 25 hospitality workers to donate their time for the lead-up and the big night.
“I’ve really been overwhelmed by the response not only of the volunteer staff but also of the suppliers,” she said.
Total Food Network has supplied all the fruit and vegetables for the event, and ISP Seafood has supplied $1000 worth of product.
Volunteers will be cooking 10kg of Arborio rice, prepping more than 200 desserts, as well as 60kg of tomatoes, as an example of the work being done.
“The menu is going to be amazing, we’re really excited.”
This year’s The Power of Pallets presented by The Property Shop, will contribute towards a second cardiac catheter laboratory at Cairns Hospital.
Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation fundraising and event co-ordinator Lindsay McDonnell said the Foundation was fundraising $1.4 million for the second cath lab project.
“This is important because some of the cardiac issues in the Far North are the worst in the country,” Ms McDonnell said. “Hospital admissions for acute myocardial infarction are the highest in
Queensland at 905 per 100,000. This is 3.5 times higher than the national average,” she said. “The Power of Pallets is an amazing event and we are looking forward to working together to raise as much as we can for this important project.”


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New board welcomed 13/11/2017

NEW board members have been welcomed to the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation.
Chairman Dr Ken Chapman welcomed Ali Davenport, Dr Edward Strivens, Jodi Peters and Clive Skarott AM at its November meeting.
They join fellow members Professor John McBride, John Andrejic, Pat Bailey, Steve Russell, Clare Douglas and Desley Boyle.
“We’re very pleased about the new board members and the skills they bring to our already accomplished board,” Dr Chapman said.
Previously the board farewelled long-time supporters Charlie Marino and Mario Calanna as well as Anita Veivers.

PHOTO: Back, left to right: Ali Davenport, Steve Russell, Prof John McBride, Dr Edward Strivens, Jodi Peters. Front left to right: Clare Douglas, Dr Ken Chapman, Clive Skarrott, Desley Boyle. Absent: Pat Bailey, John Andrejic.


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"I was a walking timebomb" 2/11/2017

BUYING tickets in a gala ball and buying fabulous furniture made out of disused timber pallets, will help keep cardiac patients in FNQ.
This year’s The Power of Pallets presented by The Property Shop, will contribute towards a second cardiac catheter laboratory at Cairns Hospital.
The Power of Pallets founder Kate Fern and heart patient Richard Hawes (pictured) inspected some of the pieces that have been made, ahead of the exhibition opening this Friday, November 3.
Mr Hawes, 65, had his aortic valve and part of his aorta replaced, and a pacemaker implanted in May this year, after suffering some breathlessness.
“My wife finally got me to go to the doctor and they discovered a murmur so I was sent to Townsville Hospital where they did all this work on me and I was in ICU for 17 days and I’m so grateful,” Mr Hawes said.
Since then he has undergone Cairns Hospital’s cardiac rehabilitation program, with great results.
“I’m back to work now doing quite physical work and I’ve got four grandchildren including one who lives with us, so I can look forward to watching them grow up and get married,” he said.
“Anything we can do to help keep heart patients close to home and having procedures at Cairns, then I think we should do our utmost to do it.”
Meeting Mr Hawes was an inspiration for Ms Fern.
She instigated the event four years ago as a way to do something tangible and productive for the community with items that would otherwise go to landfill.
 “We move the funds around different areas of the hospital that needs it and this year as the cardiac catheter lab is the Foundation’s major fundraising push, that’s what we’re going to put the funds towards,” she said.
International gardening guru Jamie Durie is returning for this year’s auction and gala dinner on November 17 at The Tanks.
The exhibition of pieces being auctioned, will be at Tank 4 at The Tanks Gallery from this Friday, November 3, and the gala ball and auction will be on November 17.
For further information about The Power of Pallets and to buy tickets, click HERE.


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Research assists youth at risk 25/10/2017

HELPING young people learn skills to deal with crisis, reduce damaging behaviour and improve relationships is the aim of a research project funded by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation.
The $17,000 grant will enable an audit of a long-running youth mental health program that aims to prevent self-harm and suicide.
Dr Richard Lakeman, Adolescent Mental Health Nurse Navigator at Cairns Hospital, said in 12 months, 170 adolescents who had self-harmed presented three or more times to Cairns Hospital Emergency Department. Since the program started in May 2017, 30 individuals have progressed to assessment, 20 being engaged in either weekly pre-commitment therapy or the full program (of individual therapy, skills group attendance and telephone coaching) and two weekly skills groups being run in tandem.
He won the grant after explaining the importance of the Youth Empowerment Towards Independence (YETI) program.
Dr Lakeman said the Youth Empowerment Towards Independence (YETI) program has been running for eight years and the grant would enable researchers to verify what they already suspect – that it is making a difference to the lives of young people. “This research grant will also enable them to continue the program and evaluate its effectiveness,” Dr Lakeman said.
Foundation chairman Dr Ken Chapman said the mental health of young people was of vital concern to everyone in the community.
“Anecdotal evidence indicates this program is working, but this research will hopefully verify that, with the aim of continuing its good work,” Dr Chapman said.
“The Foundation is working to help move Cairns Hospital towards becoming a tertiary hospital and we are pleased to announce that in future we will be doubling our research grant budget each year,” he said.
“From next year, the Foundation will offer two research grants of $25,000 and a number of small grants to a total of $150,000 each year. We know it is important to keep research happening in the tropics and we can provide a conduit for some life-saving research to occur,” Dr Chapman said.
Foundation board member and JCU Professor in Medicine, Prof John McBride said since 2009 the Foundation has provided more than $213,000 to research in the Far North. “That includes last year’s box jellyfish venom project, and smaller grants for gestational diabetes, evacuation response, quantifying cannabis use in Indigenous people and exploring how facial information is processed by young people,” Prof McBride said.

Photo: Foundation chairman Dr Ken Chapman, board member Professor John McBride, YETI psychologist Stacey Anderson and Dr Richard Lakeman.


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Students put heart into upcycling 20/10/2017

A GROUP of high school students have put their hard work and creativity into helping improve health services.
Year 11 manual arts students from Trinity Bay High School have produced a number of pallet pieces to be auctioned at this year’s The Power of Pallets fundraiser for the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation.
School Design and Technology teacher Rob Wales said this was the third year the school’s students had participated, and they all got a kick out of knowing they were making a difference.
“It really is wonderful for them to put their new skills to good use for the community,” Mr Wales said. “We find this project is great motivation for the students to try to create their best work, knowing it is going to such a good cause,” he said.
“What they love too is afterwards, finding out how much their piece sold for at auction,” he said.
The Power of Pallets founder Kate Fern inspected some of the pieces produced this week and was astounded with the quality of workmanship.
“These students do such a great job with their pieces and it’s quite inspirational to see how motivated they are to make a difference in their community,” Ms Fern said.
She instigated the event four years ago as a way to do something tangible and productive for the community with items that would otherwise go to landfill.
This year’s The Power of Pallets presented by The Property Shop, will contribute towards a second cardiac catheter laboratory at Cairns Hospital.
“We move the funds around different areas of the hospital that needs it and this year as the cardiac catheter lab is the Foundation’s major fundraising push, that’s what we’re going to put the funds towards,” she said.
International gardening guru Jamie Durie is returning for this year’s auction and gala dinner on November 17 at The Tanks.
“Jamie’s really excited and he had some input into the changes we instigated this year – we do have a few tickets left but people should jump onto the website and grab them before they all go,” Ms Fern said.
For further information about The Power of Pallets and to buy tickets, click HERE.

Photo: The Power of Pallets founder Kate Fern and Trinity Bay High School teacher Rob Wales look over some of the students' work with Dreaki Lui, Andrew Pilot, Gohven Wong and Garry Exton.


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Generous community gives back 6/10/2017

NO ONE likes to think of kids in hospital, but a new playground open at the Mareeba Hospital will make their stay a little easier to bear.
Funded through the Mareeba Friends of the Foundation, the playground officially opens this week, much to the delight of staff, patients and the broader community. The Mareeba Friends of the Foundation is a branch of the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, fundraising specifically for the Mareeba Hospital.
Mareeba Friends of the Foundation chair Ida Portella said the $140,000 playground came about through a grant from the Mareeba and Dimbulah Bendigo Community Bank, Mareeba Rotary and the Mareeba and District Fruit and Vegetable Growers, in kind donations from local businesses and the entire community.
“The Mareeba Friends have worked on this project for more than four years and it is evident that we continue to receive overwhelming support.   Our purpose is to raise funds to provide additional equipment which improves services for patients and staff at the Mareeba Hospital,” Ms Portella said.
Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service Board chairman Clive Skarott AM said that he was proud to see new facilities added to help improve the experience of the hospital’s patients, both young and old.
“The new playground will provide an appropriate place for children who are either visiting the Mareeba Hospital or who are inpatients to enjoy playing in its colourful and inviting surrounds.”
Mareeba Hospital facility manager and director of nursing and midwifery Vickye Coffey said she wanted to thank all who contributed to the development and construction. “This wonderful playground will benefit the inpatient children and families of the Mareeba community. It is a wonderful example of what a community can do to achieve excellent results,” Ms Coffey said.
Mareeba Hospital maternity nurse unit manager Michelle Bombardieri said the playground is ideally for children aged up to 5 and features garden beds (completed thanks to a Rotary working bee).
“Before, that area was quite run down and not really used for anything, but now it’s one of the best features of the hospital. We have one little boy with a broken leg at the moment, and he’s been loving going out there and getting mobile in a normal, child-friendly environment so it’s been great for his rehabilitation,” Ms Bombardieri said.
Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation chairman Dr Ken Chapman said the playground was a wonderful example of the community working together for a common goal. “This will be a wonderful space for Mareeba children – the Foundation now has achieved two childrens playgrounds in a short space of time and we know both of them are well used and help make the hospital experience a little easier to bear, for kids in hospital,” Dr Chapman said.
The Foundation completed and opened its $1.2 million playground adjacent to the children’s ward at Cairns Hospital, two years ago.

Photo: Mareeba local Izzy Price gives the new playground a test run.


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Ride brings goal closer 4/10/2017

HEART patients in the Far North are closer to gaining a second cardiac catheter lab, thanks to hundreds of cyclists and their supporters.
The annual Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge ride from Cairns to Cooktown, held on the first weekend of the September school holidays, raised more than $212,500.
Since inception in 2007 by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, the event has now raised more than $3 million. The Foundation recently announced it would be fundraising $1.4 million towards a second cardiac catheter lab in Cairns, which will mean less people have to travel away for vital cardiac treatment.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said the weekend went very smoothly with 240 cyclists ably assisted by 95 volunteers.
“The weekend went really well, the weather was kind to us, particularly on day 2 which was quite hot last year and the riders had an amazing time,” Ms Duncombe said.
Riders participated from around the country, some who had been travelling in -2 degrees in Canberra, but they really enjoyed the scenery and camaraderie
“We know that patients in Far North Queensland need a second cardiac catheter lab and we have a lot of community support to make it happen. These riders and their supporters have done an incredible job to help bring this project to fruition,” she said.
“Along the way we had incredible support and patience from the motoring public, particularly on the Kuranda Range one-lane closure. We actually were able to reopen the Range completely at 7.17am – fully 90 minutes earlier than scheduled.”
“A large contingent of off-duty staff from Cairns Hospital’s cardiac unit took part as both riders and volunteers on the event, showing they are doing what they can to support those who support them.
“The cardiac unit at Cairns Hospital have an amazing vision of health care and we are working really hard to help make it happen.”


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Sea of jerseys floods highways 14/09/2017

A SEA of pink and green cycling jerseys is about to flood the Kennedy and Mulligan highways, as more than 250 cyclists embark on the annual Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge.
Each pack of up to 25 cyclists has “pack leaders” front and rear, to help the less experienced participants and this year the pack leaders will be distinguishable by their “hot pink” outfits.
Pack leaders talk to each other via UHF radio and each pack also is escorted by escort vehicles front and rear.
The Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge is an annual fundraising bike ride from Cairns to Cooktown, raising funds for cardiac services in the Far North. Since inception in 2007 by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, the event has raised more than $2.8 million. The Foundation recently announced it would be fundraising $1.4 million towards a second cardiac catheter lab in Cairns, which will mean less people have to travel away for vital cardiac treatment.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said the work of hundreds of volunteers was integral to making the ride a success.
“We have the pack leaders and escort vehicle drivers who do an outstanding job in keeping our riders safe on the road, we have SES volunteers also helping keep them safe on the road,” Ms Duncombe said.
“Police also escort the ride and manage any traffic issues and we have tremendous support from the motoring public as well,” she said.
All trucking companies and tourist operators have been advised that the ride is about to happen and particularly about the partial closure of Kuranda Range on Saturday morning.
“We’re pretty sure we’re going to raise at least $200,000 this year and every cent makes a difference,” Ms Duncombe said.
“We know that patients in Far North Queensland need a second cardiac cath lab and we have a lot of community support to make it happen. These riders and their supporters have done an incredible job to help bring this project to fruition,” she said.
“The cardiac unit at Cairns Hospital have an amazing vision of health care and we are working really hard to help make it happen.”
The Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge departs Cairns on Saturday, September 16 at 6am from Tjapukai.
For further information or to donate, visit HERE.

Photo: Tony Quinn, Trish Sexton, Michael Rumble, Judi Phillips and Gary Jackson model the pink pack leaders jerseys.


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Cardiac's deadly new cyclists 13/09/2017

A GROUP of nine indigenous teenagers have been cycling and fundraising hard to improve their own health and make a difference to the health outcomes of others.
The young men are founding members of the 2 Deadly Treadlys Indigenous Youth cycling group and have been training for almost four months under the guidance of local cycling experts. Attending Trinity Bay High School, the lads are supported by Clontarf Foundation – Trinity Bay Academy and also are part of a state government program – Making Tracks Investment Strategy via Closing The Gap. Cairns Hospital occupational therapist Lauren Sunner, who has been instrumental in bringing the program to fruition, said the lads had been working really hard. “We’ve had a lot of support from the community such as bike shops, as well as bikes supplied by Southside Rotary and the Queensland Police Service,” Ms Sunner said.
“Soon after they began their campaign, they set a goal to participate in the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge which has been a wonderful opportunity for them,” she said. “In the past few months they’ve all made a huge effort to train before and after school, learned pack riding skills, carefully considered their lifestyle choices as well as their diet and exercise regimes to make positive changes,” she said.
Clontarf Foundation Trinity Bay Academy associate director Aidan Coate said the young men had committed to months of training and hard work.
“We’ve had early starts with the boys being picked up from home at 6am for training rides. It’s great to see the boys waiting out the front of their house in the morning ready to tackle the next hill or challenge. The program improves the self-esteem, health, resilience and leadership qualities of these young men who will carry these skills into their school and community,” Mr Coate said.
The Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge is an annual fundraising bike ride from Cairns to Cooktown, raising funds for cardiac services in the Far North. Since inception in 2007 by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, the event has raised more than $2.8 million. The Foundation recently announced it would be fundraising $1.4 million towards a second cardiac catheter lab in Cairns, which will mean less people have to travel away for vital cardiac treatment.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said the boys’ achievements were truly admirable and showed what could be done when people put their minds to it. “This ride changes lives – not just in terms of the fundraising and what it does, but how it changes the participants’ lives and it’s really wonderful to watch the growth and development of these young men,” Ms Duncombe said.
The Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge departs Cairns on Saturday, September 16 at 6am from Tjapukai.
For further information or to donate, visit and to support their team specifically, search for 2 Deadly Treadlys.


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Moroccan vegetarian tagine 12/09/2017

THIS vegetarian tagine is full of healthy goodness and with all your daily recommended intake of vegies in one serve, is good for your hips and your hip pocket. Not only is it low-GI, low-fat and diabetes-friendly, it has a subtle blend of apricots and spice so it tastes great too! If you feel the need for meat just add stir fry cut beef, lamb or chicken in step 1 after the onion has softened.
Looking for a quick short cut for lunch tomorrow at work or home? That’s easy. Spoon the tagine in a wrap with a little rocket and a squeeze of lemon. Take a small container of yoghurt for dipping with you to work and hey presto an awesome lunch. Toast the wrap if you wish for a crispy bite.
We serve our very popular Moroccan lamb roti in both dcafé and Sea Breeze Café so feel free to let us make it for you.
What you need
1 tbspn oil, 1-½ finely chopped medium brown onions, 4 tspns Moroccan seasoning, 1 tspn cinnamon, 5cm piece grated fresh ginger, 5 crushed garlic cloves, 2 halved, thickly sliced medium carrots, 650g butternut pumpkin cut into 3cm cubes, 100gm dried apricots, 1-1/2 cups vegetable liquid stock (or water), 400g can crushed tomatoes, 1/2 (500g) cauliflower cut into small florets, 400g can chickpeas - drained, and rinsed, 1 medium zucchini - quartered and thickly sliced, 2 tbspns honey, ½ tspn chilli flakes (optional), fresh coriander sprigs, and a spoon of yoghurt to serve.
1. Heat oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat.
Add onion. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until onion has softened. Add Moroccan seasoning, cinnamon, ginger and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant. 2. Add carrot and pumpkin. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until combined. Add stock, apricots and tomato. Cover. Reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until vegetables start to soften. 3. Add cauliflower. Stir to combine. Cover. Cook for 10 minutes or until vegetables start to soften. Add chickpeas, zucchini and honey. Cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper. 4. Spoon on yoghurt and sprinkle with coriander sprigs. Serve with couscous.


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'Plumbing' puts paid to ride 11/09/2017

AN unexpected round of “plumbing” to his heart, meant Shane Craige (pictured) could not take part in his fourth Cardiac Challenge this year.
The 49-year-old Weipa resident has taken part in the event three times and was ready to register for this year’s event later this month, when a sudden heart attack put paid to his plans.
A rapid flight whisking him from Weipa to Cairns on the RFDS plane, meant he got to experience some of the equipment he has helped fundraise for in the past.
“I was always aware that there was a strong family history, so therefore I considered that heart disease was a possibility,” Mr Craige said.
“I woke up on the Sunday morning, I was about to go for a walk with my wife, but I had a bit of heaviness and I felt a bit clammy. We thought it was unusual so we went straight to (Weipa) Hospital,” he said.
It turned out he had a number of blockages in his heart, which required cardiac intervention.
Once he was on the road to recovery, Shane started making donations to a number of current riders, who he has ridden with in the past.
“The team at the hospitals in Cairns and Weipa were just awesome and I felt so at ease, knowing they were looking after me. At one point I was having an ECG and one of the staff pointed to the machine and said ‘Cardiac Challenge paid for this’, so that was a pretty good feeling,” he said.
The Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge is in its 11th year, and will depart Cairns on Saturday, September 16 for its three-day pilgrimage to Cooktown.
Since inception in 2007 by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, the event has raised more than $2.8 million. The Foundation recently announced it would be fundraising $1.4 million towards a second cardiac catheter lab in Cairns, which would mean less people have to travel away for vital cardiac treatment.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said it was unfortunate that Shane’s story was one she heard so many times.
“Shane and hundreds of others are really lucky we have such a great team and great equipment here, but we really do need the community’s support to help fix more hearts in Far North Queensland,” Ms Duncombe said.

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Foreign students tackle Challenge 2/09/2017

A DIVERSE group of young people from around the world are tackling one of the Far North’s most iconic adventures – the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge.

Five teenagers who are in Australia as part of the Rotary Youth Exchange, will saddle up and ride in the fundraising bike ride to Cooktown, later this month.

Rotary Cairns Mulgrave Rotary spokesman Peter Sexton said the students are encouraged to experience as many of the host countries customs, traditions, events, natural attractions and education as possible. The Cardiac Challenge ticks off most of these items.

“The Cardiac Challenge gives them the opportunity to meet people they would not normally meet, experience the varying countryside during the ride, while being challenged mentally and physically over the three days,” Mr Sexton said.

Rotary Youth Exchange students have been taking part in the ride since 2014 and Rotary has been heavily involved since its inception. Students doing the event this year are from Japan, Belgium and Germany.

“They arrive in Australia one or two months before the ride as shy students. The ride gives them the opportunity to be fully immersed in the local culture during the training rides and for the three very hectic days during the ride. The achievement of riding 330km also gives them a huge boost of confidence in their ability to overcome the many new experiences in front of them over the coming 12 months,” he said.

The Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge is an annual fundraising bike ride from Cairns to Cooktown, raising funds for cardiac services in the Far North.

Since inception in 2007 by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, the event has raised more than $2.8 million. The Foundation recently announced it would be fundraising $1.4 million towards a second cardiac catheter lab in Cairns, which would mean less people have to travel away for vital cardiac treatment.

Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said Rotary volunteers were vital part of the event – providing riders, escort drivers and many other volunteers.

“Without this community support, we could not get this event off the ground each year and we know it has a huge impact on the exchange students as well,” Ms Duncombe said.


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Father and son lucky to be alive 29/08/2017

PAUL Broomhall simply believes he and his son are lucky to be alive. In a bizarre twist of fate, they both had heart surgery within months of each other and it has been incredibly life changing for them both.
Although their heart conditions are seemingly unrelated, the family believes it would have to be more than a coincidence. “Jordan’s heart used to race, and mine slowed down to the point of stopping,” Mr Broomhall said. After believing for a quarter of his life that he had epilepsy, one last test to rule out a cardiac condition revealed, he did in fact have a heart condition.
“I was a police officer, had been for more than 27 years and every year or so, I would just collapse. I was on very heavy doses of medication but when I collapsed, I couldn’t carry a firearm and I couldn’t drive a car for a period of time,” Mr Broomhall said.
“It was extremely disruptive to my life – to my whole family’s life and of course to my workmates. But then I fell and hit my head late last year and my neurologist said ‘I don’t think it’s your heart, but let’s just do one last test to be 100 per cent sure’. So they put a loop recorder in just under the skin.”
Loop recorders are used to capture the heart’s activities during a blackout, with programming and data retrieval conducted remotely. Paul’s was implanted in Cairns Hospital. “Well one morning I woke up and I wasn’t feeling well so I rang the hospital and asked them to check my results and they said: your heart stopped for 15 seconds at 4am today, come in immediately,” Mr Broomhall said.
He did, a pacemaker was placed in his chest at the cardiac catheter lab in Cairns Hospital and he has never felt better. “I’m not upset or angry or bitter that we thought I had epilepsy for so long – I’m just so grateful to be alive.” Son Jordan, now aged 24, was diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia when he was a teenager.
“He was booked for an ablation when he was 18, which is where they burn some nerves in the heart, but the prospect of a heart procedure at the age of 18 proved too overwhelming and Jordan opted to try and live with his condition. Unfortunately his symptoms continued, and in addition to having supraventricular tachycardia, Jordan was further diagnosed with premature atrial complex,” Mr Broomhall said.
“We got another chance to have it done in Townsville late last year. And his life has improved out of sight ever since. It can be up to a 10 hour surgery, but he was done in five hours. “Jordan’s condition resulted in him becoming unemployed and post procedure he’s working again.”
If Cairns Hospital had a second cardiac catheter laboratory open at the time, he could have had the procedure in Cairns.
The Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation board has recently approved $1.4 million towards a second cardiac catheter laboratory to be installed at Cairns Hospital, which in the future could enable electrophysiology to be conducted in Cairns. This would be mean procedures such as Jordan’s could be conducted locally.
Mr Broomhall, formerly Sergeant Broomhall, a training officer with the Queensland Police Service, resigned just months after his surgery. “I just wanted a less stressful life after what we’ve been through.”
While the pair might not quite be ready to ride in the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge, they are passionate supporters of the event and health services in the Far North. “I love the public hospital and I’m so grateful to be here, so I think people should do everything they can to help heart services in Far North,” Mr Broomhall said.
Donate to the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge HERE.

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Lions step in to help 24/08/2017

WHERE there is a need, there is a Lion, and nowhere is that more true than at Tully and Mission Beach.
The Tully and Mission Beach Lions Clubs have once again put their fundraising might to good use, and provided two electric lift recliners for the Tully Hospital.
The two chairs were provided at a cost of $5475 for the 12 bed Tully Hospital.
Tully Club secretary Irene Braddick said the Club has previously provided furniture for the hospital’s mental health unit, quilts to new mothers at the hospital.
“This is our local hospital and where there is a need, there is a Lion,” Ms Braddick said.
Fundraising occurs via selling tickets at the goose club on Friday nights for meat trays, a stall at the Tully Show, and their annual Christmas Raffle.
 “We along with our colleagues at Mission Beach, also donated 10 High Back Day Chairs to Tully Hospital a couple of years ago at a cost of more than $3000,” she said.
Mission Beach Lions Club spokesman Des Roberts said their fundraising efforts include collecting aluminium cans and old car batteries, as well as raffles, barbecues, sausage sizzles and an annual charity golf day.
“Once the decision was made to purchase by Mission Beach Lions Club, we contacted our colleagues at Tully Lions Club who readily agreed to split  the funding 50/50,” Mr Roberts said.
“The  reason for buying  the chairs was made after consultation with the therapy department at Tully Hospital as to what equipment they needed to make life better for their patients, along the lines of our philosophy of  serving our community (The Lions Motto is  “We Serve”),” he said.
Tully Hospital acting director of nursing Sue Williams said some patients have difficulty/discomfort spending all night in bed it is so good to offer them a comfortable option.
“We like to encourage people to get up and sit out of bed, it is important for their recovery and now it will be much better with a comfortable option. We have nothing similar so it is a huge benefit to our clients,” Ms Williams said.
Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation CEO Tony Franz said it was very pleasing to see two Lions Clubs join forces to support the improvement of health care in their local community and their combined donation to the Foundation was very much appreciated.

Photo: Back left to right: Des Roberts of Mission Beach Lions Club, occupational therapist Alison Salleras, Tully Lions Club’s Martin Braddick.
Seated: physiotherapist Karen Hawkins, Tully Lions Club’s Irene Braddick


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Help build a second cardiac lab 21/08/2017

A MAJOR fundraising drive to help keep cardiac patients at home in the Far North, is underway in Cairns.
The Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation’s board has committed to raise $1.4 million towards a second cardiac catheter laboratory at Cairns Hospital.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said a second cardiac catheter laboratory would enable electrophysiology procedures to happen in Cairns and prevent hundreds of people having to travel away for those procedures.
“Recent research has shown that our region is among the worst in the country for heart disease and we have also been hearing that our population and tourist numbers are growing quite rapidly,” Ms Duncombe said.
“This is our first major fundraising drive since the paediatric playground project was completed and we really do need the public’s help to get us across the line,” she said.
Fundraising from the 2017 Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge will go towards the second catheter laboratory, as well as a car raffle that began at the hospital this week.
“People have the chance to win a great Toyota Yaris – and all they have to spend is $2,” she said.
Cairns Hospital director of cardiology, Dr Greg Starmer said staff and patients from the cardiac ward were eternally grateful for the support provided by the Foundation.
“Staff and patients of the cardiology department at Cairns Hospital are, as always, grateful for the support from the Hospital Foundation and Far North community and will continue with efforts to provide high quality cardiac care and sustainability close to home,” Dr Starmer said.

Photo: Cairns Hospital director of cardiology Dr Greg Starmer and Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe with the "Car for Cardiac".


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Couple's lasting gifts 16/08/2017

MORE than $60,000 worth of medical equipment for Mareeba Hospital will be a significant parting gift for a local couple.
Leslie and Anne Mills are soon to leave their Tablelands home to move closer to family in Cairns but said they wanted to make one last significant donation to their local hospital of the past 38 years.
Since 2012, they have donated $160,000 worth of equipment to Mareeba Hospital.
Funded through the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, the equipment includes an i-STAT machine for theatre/maternity, two vital signs monitors, a hoist to help lift frail elderly people, a bladder scanner and a hoverjack for bariatric patients.
Mareeba Hospital director of nursing and midwifery Vickye Coffee said staff and patients were very grateful for the purchases.
“Donations such as these help us continue to provide exceptional care to the Mareeba community,” Mrs Coffee said.
“This equipment uses the latest technology on a number of levels – the vital signs monitor provides accurate, up-to-date and efficient patient data to ensure ongoing patient safety when observations are taken. This helps us make timely decisions about patient care changes when needed. Having the latest technology provides on-the-spot information so that decision-making supports best practice care,” she said.
“Having a new bladder scanner ensures patient comfort, supports bladder health and helps prevent bladder damage.
“The hoist and lifter ensure patient comfort and adds to the pleasure of being able to care for patients with the latest equipment,” she said.
Foundation CEO Tony Franz said it was rewarding to see community-spirited donations like this, making a real difference to patient outcomes.
“And it’s important to show that the Foundation not only supports the Cairns Hospital, but also the outlying centres. These purchases can mean less people have to be transported to Cairns in critical conditions – they can stay in their home community surrounded by loved ones for longer, and it’s less physical stress on the staff as well. We are eternally grateful to Mr and Mrs Mills for their generosity to their community,” Mr Franz said.

PHOTO: Mareeba Shire Council's Angela Toppin, Mareeba Hospital's Michelle Bombardieri, Robyn George, Leslie and Anne Mills, and Mareeba Hospital's Vickye Coffey.


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What are the odds? 14/08/2017

WHAT are the odds of one ticket bought in a Harley-Davidson art union drawn on your birthday, and your name being called out?
For Guillaume Vanthournout, the odds were one in 18,664, as that is how many tickets were sold.
Receiving a phone call from a mob of burly motorcyclists singing “Happy Birthday” was not how he imagined spending his 31st birthday.
He won the Wayne Leonard’s Motorcycle Muster art union – on his birthday.
“I bought the ticket in July when I saw that it was being drawn on my birthday and then when I got the phone call, I just could not believe it,” Mr Vanthournout said.
Originally from France, he has worked in the mining industry in New Caledonia for the past five years and is currently travelling around Australia.
He plans to keep the bike for his travels around Australia, that he started just a month ago.
“When I saw it in the shopping centre – I realised it was drawn on my birthday and that the money was going to a good cause,” he said.
He only bought one ticket while the art union was at Cairns Central shopping centre.
This year’s Wayne Leonard’s Motorcycle Muster raised more than $61,077, with funds going towards theatre equipment at Cairns Hospital.
The event is in its 16th year and has raised more than $700,000 in that time.
Hosted by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation in conjunction with Wayne and Rhonda Leonard, the fundraising event this year travelled to Mission Beach.
Foundation CEO Tony Franz said riders and volunteers did a tremendous job raising so much money for the hospital.
“We all hope it won’t be us, but it’s a fact of life that we might some day need this equipment so it’s reassuring to know that we are helping to provide the latest technology and equipment for our medical and nursing staff,” Mr Franz said.

PHOTO: Wayne and Rhonda Leonard with Guillaume Vanthournout and Foundation CEO Tony Franz.


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$60,000 raised on motorbike event 7/08/2017

MORE than $60,000 has been raised to help provide drills and saws for the theatre department of Cairns Hospital.
The funds were raised through the annual Wayne Leonard's Motorcycle Muster on the weekend, with tickets in a Harley-Davidson art union, the main contributor.
Co-ordinated by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, the event, in its 16th year, resulted in more than 40 motorcycle riders, pillion passengers and car drivers travelling to Mission Beach for the final component of the fundraising event.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said a great group of community-minded motorcyclists had a wonderful weekend.
“We travelled from Cairns to Mission Beach via the Atherton Tableland where we received great community support, particularly from the Millaa Millaa Lions group which donated a fabulous morning tea to the rdiers,” Ms Duncombe said.
A very surprised man received the telephone call on Saturday night that he had won the Harley-Davidson blackiron art union, telling organisers he had bought one ticket as a birthday present to himself.
The top fundraiser of the event was long-time participant Bob Ison, who raised more than $6000 on his own.
“We still need to collate the final tally of funds raised, but it's over $60,000 for sure and we know this will buy at least two drills or saws for the theatre department,” Ms Duncombe said.

Photo: Geoff and Jan Nielson with some of the motorcycles at Mission Beach.

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Tony's intent on giving back 3/08/2017

Twenty-five years ago, Tony Peace didn’t know whether he was going to live or die.
He suffered a major health condition which resulted in significant surgery in Brisbane and follow-up surgery and treatment in Cairns.
“I really didn’t know whether I was going to make it, to be honest, it was a pretty intense time for me,” Mr Peace said.
That experience stayed with him, and his ongoing volunteering and fundraising is his way of saying thanks.
He has been participating in Wayne Leonard’s Motorcycle Muster since 2011 and in that time has raised more than $30,000. This year he is the top fundraiser so far.
“I just enjoy the ride, they’re a great bunch of guys with similar interests and the money stays local,” Mr Peace said.
Mr Peace also volunteers at other Foundation fundraising events such as Cairns Airport Adventure Festival, Christmas Wrap and Color Run.
Fundraising from this year’s Muster is going towards extra drill and saw kits at Cairns Hospital theatre department. Each kit costs $25,000 and so far $35,000 has been raised.
Foundation CEO Tony Franz, who also participates in the Muster, said stalwart participants and volunteers like Mr Peace, were simply invaluable.
“The volunteers are the heart and soul of what the Foundation achieves – working their shifts around the hospital, as well as at our fundraising events, we could not do, what we do without them,” Mr Franz said.
•    Wayne Leonard’s Motorcycle Muster departs Cairns Hospital at 9am Saturday, August 5, heading to Mission Beach via the Atherton Tableland. Riders will return to Cairns on Sunday afternoon.
For further information, to donate or volunteer visit HERE.


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Thanks for special blankets 31/07/2017

NONE of us like to think about death and dying, but for a special group of people at the Cairns Hospital, it is part of their daily work.
Mortuary Attendants Kerrie Cameron and Lucille Craig often prepare loved ones, who have died, for their families to view, as part of their regular daily duties.
"We do set up for a lot of viewings here at the Hospital and up until now only had standard Hospital quilts to utilize. We just wanted to be able to present people as nicely as possible for their families." Ms Cameron said.
"No one likes to come down to the Mortuary, but we try and make it as nice an environment for them as we can. We had an idea to improve the appearance of our viewing beds and thought the fantastic craft ladies, who work with the Hospital Foundation, may be interested in our idea." Ms Craig said
So contact was made with the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation volunteer manager Anne Chirio. Ms Chirio in turn asked regular "craft lady" volunteer Betty Rodney if she would like to make some quilts for Mortuary viewings.
Mrs Rodney said she has been making quilts for at least 20 years, including for the past 16 years for the Foundation.
"I was quite honoured actually and I was very surprised by how appreciative the staff were of them. My mother lost several children and I know she would have been proud of me," Mrs Rodney said.
Ms Chirio said the Foundation has a group of wonderful volunteers who make memory blankets for birth suite at Cairns Hospital. "These new bereavement blankets are made on a similar basis as the quilts, but very small so parents can wrap their baby in it after a baby has passed away. Some parents bury their little one in the blanket, others keep it as a keepsake," Ms Chirio said.
"Not everyone felt comfortable with the process of the blankets being used in the mortuary, but I personally felt it was a real honour for the Foundation to be asked if we could help.
"Betty makes the most beautiful children's clothes for our weekly craft stall and when I asked her if she may be interested in helping, I knew I had struck gold," Ms Chirio said.
Photo: Foundation volunteer Betty Rodney is thanked by mortuary attendants Kerrie Cameron and Lucille Craig.



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Smile helps sick kids 27/07/2017

THE smile of a child in hospital has inspired donations to help other sick children in hospital.
Sam Breckenridge, was just four months old when a doctor discovered he was weeks away from blindness.
His story, shared through the Woolworths Token campaign in 2016, helped generate almost $42,000 for other sick kids in the Far North.
This year the funds, distributed through the Children’s Hospital Foundation, bought paediatric colonoscopy equipment for Innisfail Hospital.
Sam had a cataract in his eye and required urgent surgery. “Being told your perfect four-month-old baby had a cataract was shocking – I thought only older people got cataracts, not my baby,” Sam’s mother Sonia said. “The doctor said we needed to be in Brisbane immediately, and before we knew it, we were flying to Brisbane for an operation.” Sam was soon in the operating theatre, and had a hard plastic cover over his eye. The procedure went well, and Sam’s family returned home to Cairns. “The doctor was relieved – Sam may have been blind within three to four weeks, had he not had the surgery.” Sam’s family had a long and winding road ahead, with patching and incorporating a hard contact lens into his life. “Sam was very patient and understood what we had to do to make him better – thanks to his determination, his check-ups are now very minimal and we can go back to living a normal life.”
Sam now aged 10, enjoys school, kicking a football around in AFL training and playing with his friends on X-Box.
Innisfail Hospital Theatre Nurse Unit Manager Donna Low said the extra paediatric colonoscope, which also could be used for adults, would enable local patients to receive a continuous service.
“This will prevent the need to cancel a patient’s procedure when a scope needs to be sent away for servicing, as this reduces the number of scopes available for several weeks. This equipment will allow us to provide a service to our local community without interruptions,” Ms Low said.
Cassowary Coast has a population of 30,000, and 9200 of whom are 18 and under, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Innisfail Hospital is now home to two of these colonoscopes, thanks also to fundraising by the local community through the Innisfail Friends of the Foundation.

Photos: TOP: Sam Breckenridge.

ABOVE: Woolworths Innisfail staff Cassie Tanti, Tricia Biancotti, Riley Harrison, Ritu Saini and Innisfail Hospital Theatre Nurse Unit Manager Donna Low.

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Loss motivates family 25/07/2017

A FAMILY who lost their beloved husband and father to a second heart attack in April, are motivated by their loss to ride their bikes in the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge.
The Nicolaou family of Karen and children Jake and Paige were devastated to lose husband and father Steven in April to a massive heart attack. Steven was 47 years old.
“We lived in Cooktown when he died and we had often seen the Cardiac Challenge riders come into town so we just thought now was the time to do it,” Mrs Nicolaou said.
“To be honest it’s probably diverted my attention a bit from losing Steven, but it’s a healthy positive thing to do and we’re making a difference,” she said.
Sadly, Steven’s family has been plagued with heart issues – his brother had a quadruple bypass at age 39, his eldest brother had a heart attack in the same week and their father had six bypasses and their sister also has a heart condition.
On the day Steven died, he woke with back and shoulder pain that just did not settle, he had a shower, a massage and finally asked for an ambulance.
Despite valiant attempts to keep him alive, Steven died at the Cooktown Hospital.
“The positive thing is that the children in the family are now being tested for heart issues, and we’re taking part in this bike ride to make a difference,” Mrs Nicolaou said.
Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation CEO Tony Franz said there were many stories of participants whose lives had been touched by heart conditions.
“Unfortunately we see it so much, but it’s really a big reason why people take part – they’re motivated because they want to make a difference,” Mr Franz said.
“United together everyone who takes part makes a massive difference to health outcomes in the Far North.”
Registrations for the 11th Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge close on July 31.

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Power-ful boost for volunteers 18/07/2017

THEY’RE known as Cairns Hospital’s “purple angels” and now they have the power of Ergon Energy behind them - literally.
The Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation’s volunteers have been given a boost with an increased sponsorship agreement and important recognition of the relationship.
Ergon Energy’s sponsorship funds go directly towards providing the volunteer shirts for the Foundation, which are worn throughout Cairns Hospital and the community.
Foundation CEO Tony Franz said up to 100 individuals give up almost 25,000 hours of their time around the hospital each year.
In addition, hundreds more volunteers lend their support to fundraising events and art unions throughout the year.
“We could not do the work that we do, without our invaluable volunteers and so to have the support of Ergon Energy supporting them when they support is, is of enormous benefit,” Mr Franz said.
“We’ve had this agreement now in place for 11 years, but with the increased sponsorship, over three years, we decided to give Ergon Energy a boost in return and came up with a revised design for the background with their logo and the words: ‘This volunteer is powered by Ergon Energy’,” Mr Franz said.
Ergon Energy has an extensive community partnership program, which plays a valuable role in supporting the regional communities it serves. Ergon Customer Delivery Manager Charlie Casa said the Foundation was an important part of that program.
“Ergon has depots with administrative and field staff right across the Far North and into the Torres Strait,” Mr Casa said.
“It makes sense to support these community based organisations as our staff live and work there and are actively involved in their communities. So our involvement is not just about keeping the power on – it goes much deeper than that. It’s about engaging and supporting our communities. And the Hospital Foundation is an important way that we can do that,” he said.

Photo: Ergon Energy staffers Justin Pitts (left) and Leon Allan (right) with Hospital Foundation volunteers Maddeilene Kyaw and Brian Lines.


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Memory lives on in Mossman 11/07/2017

ROGER Gibbons met the love of his life relatively late in life and lost her after three short years.
But her memory will live on forever in a little hospital in Far North Queensland due to the care, compassion and empathy she received from the staff there. Dallas, Texas citizen Marie LeCroy was undergoing cancer treatment through doctors in Dallas, America and the Wesley Hospital in Brisbane but the care she received at Mossman Hospital, north of Cairns had a huge impact.
So much so, that after she died, Mr Gibbons set up a fundraising tribute in her honour, which is finalised this week with the opening of the Mossman Hospital OPG machine.
“We were in Port Douglas for a few days on holidays when Marie became ill and we came to the Mossman Hospital for treatment,” Mr Gibbons said. She had had a special stent installed in her brain to enable methotrexate to be delivered and keep cancer at bay for as long as possible.
But it was while they were in Port Douglas that fluid started leaking from the stent and so the help of Mossman Hospital was sought. “We rang Marie’s doctors in Dallas because of the time difference and they were able to help the Mossman Hospital staff do what they needed to do,” Mr Gibbons said. “Those staff were so caring and compassionate and had so much empathy for what we were going through,” he said.
Sadly Marie died in Brisbane aged 55 just a few weeks later, but Mr Gibbons wanted to give something back to the Mossman community that had so much impact on them both. Fundraising was launched through the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation website in March 2016 and by July enough had been raised for the OPG machine – a special facial and dental xray device, at Mossman Hospital. “Really without the 53 individual donors, this would not have happened – no matter how much they donated, their gift was extremely generous. Marie’s hairdresser made a donation, her family made donations and even people from local businesses in Port Douglas contributed as well,” Mr Gibbons said.
“Marie’s memory will live there forever and the patients there will benefit forever and because this machine will generate revenue for the hospital, it will help that hospital improve over time as well,” Mr Gibbons said.
“I was incredibly lucky to meet the love of my life at a relatively late stage of life but we had three beautiful years together,” he said.
Mossman Hospital Multi-Purpose Health Service Director of Nursing Peter LeGriffon said when Mr Gibbons approached him for a fundraising idea, he thought he had maybe a couple of thousand dollars in mind. “Roger said to me he was thinking more along the lines of $50,000 and I nearly fell off my chair. The great thing about this OPG machine is that it will save people having to go down to Cairns for this test and it will create a revenue stream for the hospital so we can continue to grow and improve our services,” Mr LeGriffon said.
Foundation CEO Tony Franz said he was grateful Mr Gibbons had chosen the Hospital Foundation to assist with the fundraising resulting in this wonderful state-of-the-art piece of equipment being provided to improve the quality of health care in Far North Queensland.    

Photo 1: Roger Gibbons with some of the staff who cared for his wife Marie in Mossman Hospital - Dr Darryl d'Souza, Kath Anich and Susan Meldrum.

Photo 2: Roger and Marie in happier times.

Photo 3: Roger and Dr d'Souza.

Photo 4: The new OPG machine at Mossman Hospital.

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Fix hearts in Far North Queensland 6/07/2017

A YOUNG boy travels with his grandfather, who only speaks Italian with some broken English, from the family tobacco farm in Mareeba, 1800km to Brisbane.
The journey happens regularly for little Anthony Brazzale and his grandfather Guido Brazzale as Anthony’s parents cannot leave the farm, but Guido needs to visit his electrophysiologist in Brisbane and needs help communicating with his doctors.
It was a time in his life that made such an imprint on young Anthony’s mind, that it set his course for life – he set out to, and became, a cardiologist, inspired by his grandfather. “All he wanted was to see me graduate and I did that in 2008 – he died shortly thereafter,” Dr Brazzale says.
Dr Brazzale’s medical studies were conducted through JCU Cairns and Townsville, before he travelled to Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and Melbourne to further his education. “My wish is to add to what’s here, we have a fabulous cardiology team and my aim is to work with this incredible team to grow what we have and bring world-class services here,” Dr Brazzale said.
It is ironic that his colleague, Cairns Hospital director of cardiology Dr Greg Starmer, also hails from the Mareeba tobacco industry. His father worked for the tobacco growers organisation for most of his working life but Greg’s interest in medicine came about through typical boyhood injuries. As a child, Anthony competed against Greg’s “little” brother Alex in athletics and often went away together. The pair were fierce rivals and very good friends, and still are.
“I did all the usual things that boys do, ended up in hospital, and the doctors would patch me up,” Dr Starmer said. “I always planned to go back to the Tablelands as a rural GP, but I met my wife in Brisbane and while she was furthering her studies, the director of cardiology at the Princess Alexandra Hospital suggested I might have a future in interventional cardiology,” he said.
Ironically, Dr Starmer’s grandfather also died of a heart attack. “Well before the technology that we have today. I was only young but it certainly stuck with me.” “The biggest thing for me when I went away to study 20 years ago, was seeing the standard of health care in Brisbane compared to what I knew we had in Far North Queensland,” he said.
Dr Starmer and many of the cardiac unit always fundraise for and take part in the annual Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge, a fundraiser for cardiac services in the Far North. He plans to take Dr Brazzale and another new cardiologist shopping for bicycles in the next few weeks.
Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said the event made a real difference not only in terms of the equipment it had brought to the region, but also to the lives of participants. “We have many people taking part, who we can see it’s changed their life. They’re healthier and fitter and leading a more active lifestyle and that’s a big part of cardiac health too,” Ms Duncombe said.
Registrations close for the 11th Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge on July 31. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

Photo: Anthony Brazzale aged 16 with his grandfather Guido Brazzale.

Photo: Cairns Hospital interventional cardiologists Dr Greg Starmer and Dr Anthony Brazzale both hail from Mareeba.


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Beef & Pasta Ragout 4/07/2017

What you need
500g beef brisket or beef cheeks cut into six pieces, plain flour, t tbspn salt, 2 tbspn smoked paprika, 30ml extra virgin olive oil, 1 brown onion thickly sliced, 1 stick of chopped celery, 2 chopped carrots, 3 cloves garlic, 2 tbspn dried oregano, 125ml dry red wine, 250ml beef stock, 250ml water, 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes, 2 bay leaves, 2 tbspn tomato paste, 1 tbspn castor sugar, 200g rigatoni pasta, sea salt and cracked black pepper, half cup basil leaves, finely grated parmesan.
1.Preheat oven to 180ºC, Dust beef in flour, salt and paprika, shaking to remove excess. Heat 2 tbspns oil in a heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Cook beef for 2–3 minutes each side or until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
2. Reduce heat to low, add remaining oil, onion, celery, carrot, garlic and oregano and cook for 6–8 minutes or until softened. Increase heat to high. Add wine and cook, scraping bottom of the pan, for 2–3 minutes or until liquid halves. Add stock, water, tomatoes, bay leaves, tomato paste and sugar. Return beef to pan, cover with a tight-fitting lid, transfer to the oven and roast for two hours.
3. Remove lid and roast for a further 30 minutes. Remove beef from the pan and shred meat using 2 forks, discarding any fat. Return meat to the sauce and mix to combine.
4. Cook pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 10–12 minutes or until al dente. Drain, return to pan with the beef sauce, salt, pepper and toss to combine. Top with basil and sprinkle with parmesan to serve. Serves 4–6.

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Booze free for a good cause 23/06/2017

REBECCA Johnson and her team know more than most, the benefit that fundraising has on cancer treatment.
She is the acting Nurse Unit Manager of the Oncology Day Unit at Cairns Hospital and every day she uses equipment that members of the public have fundraised for.
It’s for this reason that she and some of her colleagues have signed up for Dry July 2017, raising funds for cancer equipment in the Far North.
“Our patients are the lucky recipients of the equipment that people fundraise for and we see firsthand the difference some of that equipment makes,” Ms Johnson said.
Not only that, all four who have signed up for Dry July – two nurses, a medical oncologist and a physiotherapist, have all been personally affected by cancer in some way.
“Everyone in the community is affected by cancer in some way. Yes, not having a drink for a month will be hard, but it’s a very small sacrifice for us to make, compared to what many people going through treatment endure,” Ms Johnson said.
This year, fundraising from Dry July will go towards a PhysioTouch device to help manage oncology patients with lymphoedema, post-surgical scars and post-radiation fibrosis and pain.
Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation fundraising and events co-ordinator Lindsay McDonnell said she was delighted that the Cairns Hospital staff had decided to participate in Dry July.
“They really are a pro-active and positive team here in Oncology. By giving up alcohol for a month, Rebecca and her team are really going to make a big difference to our local cancer patients,” Mrs McDonnell said.
Since 2013, Dry July has raised more than $105,000 to help cancer patients at Cairns Hospital. This money has bought vital medical equipment such as chemotherapy pumps, which deliver medication while allowing a patient to be mobile, and other items that are essential to our patients’ comfort, like the chemotherapy chairs used for day oncology.
For further information, to donate or volunteer for the Foundation visit and to sign up to Dry July click HERE.

Photo: Cairns Hospital oncology day unit staff Rebecca Johnson, Rikki Holzhauser, Harriet Fergusson and Megan Lyle surround cancer patient Tom Meharg.

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