Spinal cord injury patients are admitted to hospital for a lengthy period of time, which can result in feelings of social isolation and restriction. In an attempt to alleviate their situation and give them some time away from their surroundings, some of the occupational therapists and physiotherapists from the Spinal Cord Injury Unit at Royal North Shore Hospital decided to raise money for their ‘Fresh Air Fund’.
The Fresh Air Fund enables spinal cord injury patients and their families to enjoy an outing together and begin the process of reintegrating them back into their community.
Motivated to get more funds for this valuable cause, the team decided to compete in the Runaway Sydney Half Marathon on Sunday 21 May 2023 and rally the support of the local community to help. The Fresh Air Fund was established many years ago by the spinal multidisciplinary team and the staff decided that the half marathon was a perfect opportunity to replenish the fund to give more patients the opportunity to benefit from getting out and about.
Affectionately called the ‘Speedy Spinals’, this energetic team of five led by Lisa Benad, the Senior Occupational Therapist in the Spinal Cord Injury Unit at Royal North Shore Hospital began training and making the necessary preparations for the big day. The NORTH Foundation helped to set up their online fundraising page to accept donations, created posters to raise awareness and organised custom running singlets. By the time race day came around, the team had already well and truly exceeded their fundraising target of $3,000 eventually raising an impressive $5,000.
“It’s such a great feeling to have raised so much and we are already looking forward to our next fundraising adventure!” said Lisa.
On the day of the marathon, the weather was flawless, and the team had an unforgettable time competing in this iconic event, whilst raising much-needed funds that will make a direct and significant impact on the experience of patients in their unit.
“Two in our team ran the race in under two hours and three of us ran the race for the first time and the best thing of all is that we all finished!” said Lisa.
The NORTH Foundation is passionate about harnessing the power of the local community and staff of the Northern Sydney Local Health District to support our hospitals, patient care programs and medical research.
“We are so grateful to the ‘Speedy Spinals’ for their enthusiastic effort which will make a tangible difference to the wellbeing of future spinal cord injury patients,” said Amelia Seeto, Director of Marketing and Communications at the NORTH Foundation.
“Our team is always ready to help staff with whatever fundraising projects they are passionate about and it’s also a wonderful way for us to connect with clinicians and learn more about their fundraising needs,” Amelia added.
Lisa said that the experience working with the NORTH Foundation was very positive and helpful.
“It has been such a fun and rewarding experience working with the NORTH Foundation to pull this together so thanks again for all the assistance throughout the process.”
For ideas and inspiration on how you can get involved in similar community initiatives to raise money for our local hospitals and research units, please visit our community fundraising page.