Profound Community Support for Palliative Care Upgrade

Creswick’s palliative care room has been the fortunate recipient of significant grassroots community support through two notable fundraising projects.

After a successful fundraising campaign raised over $10,000 for its refurbishment, the newly upgraded Palliative Care facility was officially opened on Sunday 18 August.

Talented Clunes artist, Karolina, spent her final months as artist-in-residence at the palliative unit. In gratitude for the care given by the Creswick Hospital’s wonderful staff, Karolina’s wish was that the room be refurbished, making it more comfortable for future patients.

After Karolina’s passing in July last year, a GoFundMe campaign was established to raise money to refurbish the room in her memory.

The suite has been transformed. Repainted and with new furniture, floor coverings, artwork, soft furnishings and decorations, the room is less institutional and more home-like, warm, welcoming and comfortable for both patients and their visitors. The abundant natural light filled environment is enlivened with the energy and colour of new outdoor and indoor plants.

Now the space provides a comfortable living area for patients and visitors to spend time together and share a meal; the new sofa can be opened to provide a sleeping area for loved ones staying overnight.

A wall mounted box to display photos, books and objects allows patients to bring their possessions to personalise the space and provide points of connection and conversation amongst visiting family members and friends. This can prompt the sharing of stories, an important therapeutic and comforting part of end-of-life care.

Hepburn Health thanks the following for their generous contributions to this wonderful recreation:

  • Karolina’s friends and the Clunes community who contributed to the GoFundMe campaign
  • Creswick Hospital Auxiliary for fundraising to provide new linen and throws
  • Olicartia Creswick for the donation of plants and pots
  • Shannon’s Bridge for the gift of a bar fridge
  • Suzie Batch for coordinating the refurbishment project
  • HHS maintenance team for painting and the installation of fixtures

Pictured at the opening ceremony is Karolina’s brother Leo Gregorc with Creswick’s Anne Hetherington and Suzie Batch.

Meanwhile across town, Creswick Primary School pupil Zahlia Zannit is much like any other 10 year old, enjoying athletics, playing Four Square with her friends and having a love for all animals. What sets her apart from her peers is a unique passion for supporting locals in end-of-life care.

The young Broomfield resident independently decided that it is vitally important to care for people in the last stage of their lives. She then set about to achieve this aim by raising money for Creswick’s newly refurbished Palliative Care room.

Mature beyond her years, young Zahlia started baking cupcakes and has raised $512, a total she never imagined in her wildest dreams when she first started. It’s truly cupcakes for a cause!

The local community has been very supportive, with various locals donating ingredients. The Creswick Bakery also pitched in and donated a batch of cakes to fill an order when Zahlia was unwell. She didn’t want to potentially make others sick too, as these cakes were a donation from Zahlia for participants attending a “Dying To Know” event at the end-of-life organisation Shannon’s Bridge.

This young activist bakes most nights in readiness to sell her delicious wares the following day. The fundraising project has already achieved many positive outcomes, including sharpening her focus and drive, teaching her something about business as well as cementing a real pride in what she’s achieved. Indeed, during her project’s short life she’s become quite the role model for children and grown-ups alike.

Zahlia presented a personalised cheque to Fundraising Committee member Sue Craven and COO Phil Catterson and in turn received a Certificate of Appreciation expressing the admiration and gratitude of Hepburn Health for her initiative. Attended by nursing staff and Zahlia’s family, the presentation ceremony naturally concluded over an afternoon tea – of cupcakes!

Both initiatives demonstrate a wonderful level of community engagement and collaboration to bring about an outcome of profound benefit to locals for many years to come.

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