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Celebrating Jo: 10 Years of Bringing Joy to Kids in Hospital

15 Dec 2023
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"It is an honour to be recognised for my contribution, but there is only one reason I do it. The Children." 

We are privileged to witness extraordinary acts of kindness that shine brightly within our community and healthcare centres, often in unexpected places. Today, we want to share the heartwarming story of Jo, a remarkable woman whose compassion and dedication have been quietly making a significant impact on the lives of countless children in Centenary Hospital for Women, Youth and Children for the past decade.

Ten years ago, Jo embarked on a journey inspired by a deeply personal experience involving her grandson, Silas. He spent seven weeks in traction due to a spiral fracture of the femur. During this time, Jo found solace in keeping Silas engaged and distracted with various activities - colouring, arts, crafts, puzzles, and reading. When other children came into the ward and had trouble settling, Jo began handing out gifts to them, too, realising the impact it made. 

"I knew I had to do something," Jo recalled, "so that Christmas, I delivered my first bags to the Paediatric Play Therapist at the hospital."
From that moment on, Jo committed herself to a mission: crafting and donating 80 colour-coded bags brimming with age-appropriate toys and activities for children in hospital. What usually might require a team, Jo has single-handedly undertaken, from sourcing and purchasing items within her means to meticulously packing and delivering these bags of joy to the Paediatric Ward - twice a year!

The heartwarming feedback Jo receives from the Play Therapists affirms how her bags of goodies significantly help the children during their hospital stay. This is her source of motivation. Jo's spirit of generosity has even inspired others, like Liz from Queanbeyan, who has joined in, contributing small items to fill Jo's Christmas bags.

"I have always wanted to contribute more, and if it helps make a less stressful stay for the children, the more I can do, the better." Jo tells us.

Jo frequently has people asking how to help out. She has one simple ask: donations from recyclable cans and bottles, which can help Jo sustain this wonderful initiative for another decade. 

Jo's story is a testament to the incredible impact one individual's kindness and dedication can have on a community. Her selflessness and her unyielding commitment to spreading joy and comfort embody the spirit of giving. 

"It is an honour to be recognised for my contribution, but there is only one reason I do it. The Children." 

If you'd like to support Jo in her mission to bring joy to children in hospital, please contact us and consider donating recyclable cans and bottles. Together, as a community, we can make a difference.

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