16 September 2020 News

Jack’s story

The music therapy that helps Jack through his appointments is 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 thanking Woolworths teams and their customers for working hand in hand to raise more than $60 million over 34 years to positively shift health outcomes for Queensland’s sickest kids.

The generosity of Woolworths customers and team has helped fund ground-breaking medical research, entertainment and support for kids and their families, including the development of a rapid diagnostic test for meningococcal, bedside entertainment for every room at Queensland Children’s Hospital, innovative research into childhood nutrition and Music Therapy which supported Brisbane local, Jack Atkins-Walker, through treatment for a rare, longstanding birth defect.

Eight-year-old Jack was born with his liver and other abdominal organs outside his body and experienced kidney problems as a complication to treatment that required dialysis three times a week. He is one of the thousands of children who have participated in the Children’s Hospital Foundation funded Music Therapy sessions.

Jack spent the first five months of his life in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), and it was there that Jack’s mum, Anita Atkins, witnessed firsthand the positive relief that Music Therapy provided.

Amid long medical treatments, he would strum a ukulele, shake maracas, tap a tambourine, and wave his tiny hand through a set of chimes, laughing out loud.

“Jack had limited mobility, and music therapy sessions provided him freedom of expression, and became a major factor in his life,” Ms Atkins recalls.

Jack underwent a kidney transplant prior to Christmas 2013, and continues to attend appointments at Queensland Children’s Hospital once every two weeks to work with a variety of teams on his hearing, sight, kidneys, lungs, and allergies.

“Music Therapy was always there for Jack, and it helps keep him calm, it helps him sleep, and it helps him cope with many things that most kids will never have to,” Ms Atkins said.

“We’ve had eight more years than we thought we would have, and Jack is growing into a sweet, kind boy. He is also non-verbal autistic, but he sings, and everything relates back to music.

“The beautiful gift his music therapist gave him all of those years ago, has had a profound impact on his life, both in and out of hospital – it truly lifted his darkest days.

“Without Woolworths’ funding of the program, I hate to think what his life would be like, because it has had a truly deep and lasting impact – I have seen it, and I am forever grateful for it.”

Music therapy is just one of the many services that the Woolworths and Children’s Hospital Foundation has made possible over the past 25 years, and more than 460 patients at the Queensland Children’s Hospital have benefitted from Music Therapy in the past year alone.

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, Woolworths 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, Jack is just one of them.