What your gifts have achieved

We often hear people say “It’s only a small donation”, almost as an apology. It is not “only a small donation”, rather it is a gift given with sincerity and kindness. And it will make a difference.

Your donations enable us to drive innovation and research across all areas of the hospital and to develop new treatments and care for this generation and the next. The government funds our operations and the standard treatment we provide, but donations make research and innovation possible.  

Here are just three recent achievements made possible by our generous donors, big and small.

A new service to save the vision of premature babies

In 2012, twins Oscar and Luca were born at the Women’s more than 10 weeks premature.  Weighing only 464 grams at birth, Luca held on for just seven days before his tiny body gave up. With a birth weight of 776 grams, Oscar survived.

Oscar and Luca’s grandparents, Ruth and George Mihaly, owners of Paradigm Hill Winery on the Mornington Peninsula, established The Oscar and Luca Fund to raise money for the Newborn Intensive and Special Care unit at the Women’s. The Mihaly’s established the fund as a way of expressing their appreciation and acknowledgement of the dedicated nursing and medical team who were able to save Oscar’s life.

Thanks to the Oscar & Luca Fund and a very generous donation from the Mathieson family, we have been able to establish The Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) Service, to help us save the vision of premature babies.  The service offers eye reviews for all babies born earlier than 30 weeks and ensures that if a baby does develop the eye condition called retinopathy of prematurity (a problem with the way the blood vessels develop on the surface of the retina), it is detected early and treated promptly.

Thanks to the kindness and generosity of two families, we are one of the very few Victorian hospitals with their own retinopathy service.

A new research centre to advance our understanding of gynaecological conditions

A very generous bequest from the estate of Ilma Mary Short, received in late 2008, allowed the hospital to establish the Women's Gynaecology Research Centre and to staff it with leaders in the field. 

Ilma was treated at the Women’s in the late 1970s for gynaecological cancer. Having worked all her life around scientists, and having the financial means to do so, Ilma chose to direct her ultimate gift towards research in this area.

Our Gynaecology Research Centre is led by international expert Martha Hickey, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Women’s and at the University of Melbourne, and Peter Rogers, Professor of Women’s Health Research at the University of Melbourne.

The Centre is the first of its kind in Australia to bring together clinical and laboratory expertise to investigate and provide a greater understanding of common gynaecological problems that women experience including menopause, menopause after cancer, endometriosis, pelvic pain and sexual health dysfunction after cancer.

24 new breast pumps to help mothers give breast milk to their premature babies

Some of the most vulnerable, sick and premature babies come to the Women’s each year to receive the highly specialised care required for their survival.

Mothers of these babies can at times feel overwhelmed, stressed, exhausted and desperately want to do whatever they can to help their baby along.

One thing that can make a big difference is breast milk. Often described as ‘liquid gold’, breast milk is a vital ingredient in the care of sick and premature babies.  It has many unique properties; properties that support growth and protect against infection. 

Many of the babies admitted to the unit cannot be breastfed to start with, and can only receive breast milk via a tube. For mothers, this means expressing milk with an electric breast pump, up to eight times every day.

Thanks to ‘The Milk Run’ a fundraising event fundraising organised by Matt Bell, our Nurse Unit Manager in Day Surgery, as well as donations from our loyal and generous supporters, we have been able to purchase 24 new breast pumps for use in our Newborn Intensive and Special Care (NISC) nurseries.

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