It's #Givemas time again! The most wonderful time of the year. But not for patients who have to spend the time in hospital.
Spending time in hospital or being treated for illness is a difficult time for anyone, but during the holiday period, being unwell can create additional hardship for patients. Away from family and friends, and during COVID19 restrictions with limited visitors allowed each day to visit, patients can feel tremendously isolated and lonely.
Canberra Hospital Foundation works with many local organisations, businesses and community groups to provide a Christmas time gift to those patients in need of comfort and support.
We call it Givemas.
Club Lime has been involved with Givemas for a couple of years now. Their 'donation drive' is so successful, last year they delivered two cars full of gifts to be distributed to their Adopt-a-Ward recipients. This year they have ‘adopted’ the Division of Medicine, which includes inpatients ranging from young adults to the elderly.
The Club Lime teams really drive participation in their gyms for Givemas each year.
‘Some team members have personal experience with Canberra Hospital and receiving care from our local health system, so they want to give back and are really dedicated to it,’ says Emma Stockbridge, Manager of Club Lime and Ladies Only, at the Canberra International Sports and Aquatic Centre (CISAC) in Belconnen.
Gyms and gym staff have been greatly affected by COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions this year, so to see the positivity and generosity still in abundance is heartwarming. Like team members, Zee and Chloe, who love to see the tree brighten up the foyer at the CISAC facility, and hear the kids excited voices as they notice it.
Instructors talk about Givemas in their classes and are known for being so generous themselves, knowing the gifts go to their local community. It’s more than the gift itself, it’s the thought that goes into it, for both the giver and receiver.
‘It feels different when you give a gift,’ says Emma, holding two big bags of gifts that have already been donated. ‘People enjoy choosing and leaving the gifts under the Christmas tree.’
Right near the front door, with colourful baubles catching the light and the warm breeze that comes off the pool, the big decorated tree at the CISAC centre is hard to miss. Pretty wrapped boxes add to the appeal. (The donated items are kept upstairs in an office, safe from damp fingers and wet footprints).
The members attending gym classes and swimming lessons love being involved. The kids love to participate in choosing something to donate, the bonus being the lesson they learn in kindness, compassion and sacrifice.
They want to give back, with ‘giving local’ a common reason why Givemas is high on their list each year.
A little girl and her dad came to see the tree as the Club Lime Belconnen (CISAC Platinum) team sportingly took photos for this article. She saw the photos being taken and wanted to have a photo in front of the tree with the wrapped presents too. Not willing to swallow her snack for a smile, it was still clear that there is magic that comes from a sparkly tree with pressies underneath. The joy of giving fills the air at Club Lime this year.
How does Givemas work? Like Club Lime Gyms in Canberra and Queanbeyan, you tell us which ward you would like to adopt, or some information about how many gifts you are able to provide. Canberra Health Services tells us the expected patient numbers for the wards and advises what kind of gifts would be most suitable for patients in that area.
With this information, Canberra Hospital Foundation matches participating organisations and businesses with a patient ward to adopt. Your organisation arranges gifts to be gathered by staff and clients, and then delivers the unwrapped donated gifts to Canberra Hospital Foundation.
Healthcare teams distribute the gifts to patients in need throughout the holiday period. Some wards may save the gifts to hand out on Christmas morning to make it a special start to the day for their longer term or regular patients. Everyone gets to experience the joy of giving.
The amazing support from our community means gifts are donated for patients in all wards and units at Canberra Hospital, Centenary Hospital for Women, Youth and Children, and the University of Canberra Hospital.
Each year over 7,000 gifts are donated through #Givemas at Canberra Hospital Foundation.
Thank you to donors from previous years, including Club Lime, Synergy Group Australia, Mackillop College, OSH Club ACT, Dementia Australia, and DFAT Social Club.
Learn more about Givemas, and Adopt-a-Ward, as a way to support patients in Canberra at Christmas time.