16 September 2020 News

Indiana’s story

The PICU Garden Terrace is a sanctuary for sick kids and their families and was beautifully renovated thanks to Woolworths.

On behalf of thousands of sick kids and their families across the state, the Children’s Hospital Foundation is 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 ground-breaking medical research, life-saving medical equipment, and support for kids and their families, including bedside entertainment at Queensland Children’s Hospital, innovative research into childhood nutrition and a redesign of the Queensland Children’s Hospital Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) terrace garden, which Indiana Dawkins’ family visited regularly during her long stint in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

Brisbane local Indiana Dawkins was only five years old when she suffered a cardiac arrest while under a general anaesthetic for a routine MRI scan.

Doctors immediately ventilated her and moved her to the PICU, where she went into respiratory failure and was placed on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) – a life-support technique which takes over the function of the heart and lungs while the body is fighting illness and injury.

Doctors performed a lung biopsy and diagnosed Indiana with interstitial lung disease and structurally abnormal lungs caused by a rare gene mutation that she had been unknowingly living with since birth.

Indiana remained on ECMO for two weeks before she was strong enough to breathe on her own and spent the next two months in PICU learning to stand, eat, and sit all over again.

“Indiana has been incredible. She fought so hard to be here, and pushed her way through every obstacle, and even though some days are tough, with encouragement, Indi always finds the strength to keep pushing forward,” Indiana’s mum, Meg, said.

During their time in hospital, the Dawkins family spent many hours on the PICU terrace garden – an area which was enhanced thanks to Woolworths’ generous funding in 2019.

Complete with new furniture, landscaping, and specially commissioned artworks by Queensland artist Madeleine Brown and writer Tony Smith, the garden allows families to take a break and go outside without having to leave their children’s sides. These additions helped make the terrace a place of respite and solace, offering access to fresh air, natural light, privacy and distraction.

“During the eight weeks Indi was in PICU, having the terrace garden to retreat to was imperative to keep us going during that time. The terrace holds both awful memories, calling our family to tell them to prepare for the worst, but also beautiful memories of Indi coming out to have some fresh air for the first time as she started to wake up,” Meg said.

“With its beautiful makeover, it is even better. We love the PICU staff, and although we never want to end up there again, it holds a very special place in our hearts.”

While Indiana is continuing to grow and learn during Year Two, the Queensland Children’s Hospital walls remain as familiar as ever for Indi and her family, as she continued to attend regular appointments with respiratory, cardiac, neurology, and psychology.

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, Indiana is just one of them.