16 September 2020 News

Archer’s story

Rapid diagnostic testing for meningococcal which helped save Archer was made possible by the Woolworths and Children’s Hospital Foundation partnership.

On behalf of thousands of sick kids and their families across the state, the Children’s Hospital Foundation are celebrating 34 years of Woolworths teams and their customers for working hand in hand to raise more than $60 million to improve health outcomes for Queensland’s sickest kids.

The generosity of Woolworths customers and team has helped fund support for kids and their families, including life-saving medical equipment, bedside entertainment at Queensland Children’s Hospital, innovative research into childhood nutrition and ground-breaking medical research, including a landmark rapid diagnostic test for meningococcal disease, which helped save young Archer Roberts’ life.

Archer first became unwell on Thursday, 10 November 2016 when he was not even six months old, and it was the lightning speed and ferocity of the meningococcal disease that Ipswich mum, Katelyn Galea, could not believe.

“He woke up that morning as a normal, happy baby, before his first symptoms came on, which included being generally unhappy, with a high temperature and a bit of moaning and groaning,” Katelyn recalled.

“Within two hours, Archer’s lips were grey and purple and he was non-responsive, so me and his dad, Josh, took him straight to the emergency room at Ipswich Hospital – we just couldn’t believe just how quickly it had all deteriorated.”

Archer was stabilised at Ipswich Hospital before being transferred to Queensland Children’s Hospital (QCH), where, prompted by a purple rash on his chest, doctors immediately tested for meningococcal disease.

Archer spent a week in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, and another month in the QCH, undergoing nine surgeries, four skin grafts, and the amputation of two fingers as a result of meningococcal disease.

It’s thanks to the generosity of Woolworths customers and team members that more than 700 children a year have benefitted from the incredible early-diagnosis test that helped Archer, which was developed in 2001 by researchers at the former Royal Children’s Hospital in Queensland.

The rapid-fire test slashed the waiting time for results from three days to just one hour – a breakthrough that has helped reduce the amount of damage this deadly disease can cause through faster diagnosis.

Children’s Hospital Foundation CEO, Rosie Simpson, could not be more grateful for the support that Woolworths teams and their customers have shown, showcasing that famous Queensland community spirit.

“When visiting my local store, I love seeing the Woolworths team’s enthusiasm at collecting donations, and of course, the incredible customers who give so generously and lovingly to help our cause, and for that, I say thank you to the Woolworths community and customers for all your support,” Ms Simpson said.

“Celebrating the incredible milestone of $60m raised gives us a chance for us to say thank you, and formally recognise that we simply couldn’t do what we do for sick children without the generosity of the Woolworths team and their customers.”

Chris Peters, General Manager Queensland, said this donation would not have been possible without their amazing community of team members and customers.

“60 million dollars is an absolutely huge sum to have raised, and we’re very proud of the effort that our teams and customers have put in,” Mr Peters said.

“We feel so privileged to have such an incredible base of team members and customers in both Queensland and across the country, who are so willing to help a cause close to all of our hearts, and it’s incredible to see the impact that their determination and empathy has had on hundreds and thousands of sick kids and their families.”


60 million reasons to say thank you, Archer is just one of them.