How a local craft stall is making a life-changing impact at hospital

Penrith Hospital Auxiliary members with Alexander Alam and Karly Butler. Photo: Melinda Jane.
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Penrith Hospital Auxiliary members have paid a special visit to Nepean Hospital this week to see their latest donations in action.

The Penrith Hospital Auxiliary hosts a craft stall on the first Tuesday of every month at Nepean Hospital, selling handmade goods from blankets to cakes in an effort to fundraise for much-needed medical equipment.

In previous years, the group, in which most members are over the age of 70, have been able to provide things like a mobile defibrillator for the emergency department, and bracelets for the mental health unit and dementia ward.

“We fundraise to purchase equipment, and then we ask the hospital for a wish list, or if a department approaches us and says ‘We need X, Y, Z’, then we’ll try and get that for them,” volunteer Sue Veen said.

“Wherever there’s a need, we try and supply.”

On average, the group raises between $20,000 and $30,000 a year, and in 2022, this money went towards the purchase of two specialty treadmills – one for the CALM (Chronic Airways Limitation Management) program worth $15,111.80 and the other for the Cardiac Rehab department worth $10,769.00.

Though they admitted there was a bit of a delay on the treadmills, the ladies couldn’t be more excited to see their donations in person when they visited on Tuesday, knowing that their hard work has paid off.

“It’s good for these ladies to actually see where their money is going,” Veen said.

“They’ll be on cloud nine now for ages!”

Penrith Hospital Auxiliary members with Alexander Alam and Karly Butler. Photo: Melinda Jane.

CALM Coordinator and Senior Physiotherapist Alexander Alam said that the new treadmill has been a gamechanger for their pulmonary rehabilitation classes.

“When I came here in 2019, we didn’t have a treadmill, but luckily one of the patients who attended the classes frequently was very supportive about acquiring some funds for us to get the treadmill, and she used her connections with the Auxiliary to raise that money,” he said.

“It’s been really good for the patients to have some variety in their training. I usually get the patients walking up and down the corridor which can get a little boring, especially for the patients who are a bit higher functioning and need a bit more of a challenge walking up a hill, so putting the treadmill up is really quite beneficial for them.”

Vicki Paul, a Clinical Nurse in the Cardiac Rehab department, agreed with the sentiment.

“We use the treadmill as part of our cardiac rehab exercise circuit, so patients come in twice a week just to help get them to meeting the recommended guidelines for exercise, and get their confidence back as well,” she said.

“The treadmills are good because they can go as fast as what they feel comfortable doing, and it’s a bit more exciting than going up and down a boring corridor. It’s also really great to be able to have our own equipment, since we’re separating into our own cardiology gym.”

The Penrith Hospital Auxiliary is always looking for new members. To join, call 0406 160 612.

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