The team at Starship Children’s Hospital will be breathing a little bit easier thanks to the fundraising efforts of Barfoot & Thompson staff, whose $200,000 donation will pay for two new ventilators and the refurbishment of the Child and Family Unit Garden for mental health patients and their families.
The ventilators, which will live in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU), are vital for premature babies who do not have the lung capacity or respiratory drive to survive without the assistance of breathing support. Many full term babies also need initial respiratory support, with an estimated 1000 admissions to the NICU each year.
The ventilators are an essential addition to the NICU, which now houses 10 of the highly advanced ‘Babylog’ machines all with the ability to ventilate babies as small as 450 grams and as large as 6 kilograms.
While the smallest of the Starship patients are given the vital breathing assistance needed for survival, the older patients are also being provided a breath of fresh air with the greatly-anticipated refurbishment set to double the size of the garden space in the Child and Family Unit.
The unit assists over 300 people a year, providing mental health assessment and treatment for patients under 18.
With an ongoing need for quality mental health support for New Zealand teenagers in particular, the unit has a dedicated team of 50 staff, all of whom are welcoming the refurbished garden and the potential it holds for patient recovery.
When completed, it will provide a safe, outdoor environment that will greatly aid recovery, giving solace and recreation at the end of a challenging day or an alternative space for meetings with health professionals.
"We are so grateful to Barfoot & Thompson and their passionate staff who have tirelessly fundraised for Starship over the past 12 months. As a charitable organisation, Starship Foundation exists through the generosity people like the Barfoot & Thompson staff who lovingly donate time and money to help us make Starship a world class medical facility" says Brad Clark, Starship CEO Foundation.
“There is no other space for our patients to experience the outdoor living that studies have shown is so beneficial for recovery from mental illness. It’s also such a morale-booster for the staff to have an alternative place to meet with patients and their families- we can’t wait for it to be completed!”
A herb garden to be used to teach both gardening and cooking skills is in the pipeline, along with a half basketball court for team-building exercises, greatly needed for patients who often feel alone and isolated in their recovery.
The beginning of this project comes at the end of another year of hard work from the Barfoot and Thompson agents who in 2013 raised over $200,000 for the cause, and are an ongoing Five Star Sponsor of the Starship Foundation.
It’s been a bit of fun for the agents and their communities too, with everything from wine and cheese nights, to rock shows, quizzes, fashion shows, night markets and evening soirees hosted as fundraising endeavours.
“Our staff see it as a huge privilege to support the Starship Foundation,” said Peter Thompson, Barfoot and Thompson Managing Director.
“Every year we set an ambitious new target for them and thankfully their dedication, and no doubt a bit of their competitive edge, come to the forefront. We are particularly excited to see the development of the garden, and hope that it will provide a little slice of home for those who stay in the Child and Family Unit.”