When Sandra Woodward was diagnosed with breast cancer on March 4 last year, her mind spiralled to a place of fear and a million questions.
The 68-year-old Beachmere resident who works as an administration officer at Nambour Hospital, took a crucial hiatus from work to undergo immediate surgery at her local hospital in Caboolture.
Following six months of chemotherapy treatment at North Lakes with the typical debilitating side effects of weight loss, hair loss including eyebrows and lashes, and not wanting to eat, Sandra requested a transfer to Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH) to enable her to be closer to work, and no longer rely on her husband to ‘give up his life’ for six weeks.
“Soon I realised that wasn’t going to happen after one trip to SCUH. I came home, phoned the Adem Crosby Centre and asked if there was any transport from there to Caboolture or if all else failed, accommodation available and they told me about Wishlist accommodation,” Ms Woodward said.
Since opening in 2009, Reed House, the 20-bed ‘home away from home’ on the doorstep of Nambour Hospital has provided affordable hospital accommodation for more than 17,000 guests experiencing a health crisis.
The Reed House volunteers showed Sandra how to apply for the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme which allows people needing to travel more than 50km for specialised medical services to access financial assistance for travel and accommodation.
Sandra was also able to utilise Wishlist’s free patient transport shuttle to attend medical appointments at SCUH – a big help during her radiation treatment.
“The volunteers were so kind and thoughtful. They eased my stay at Reed House and I really appreciate the care that was taken of me during my time there – and they are mostly volunteers.”
Sandra has been a keen supporter of Wishlist for many years through working at Nambour Hospital but was unaware of how broad the charity’s fundraising activities supported.
Whether it be through the provision of medical equipment, extra therapy services, staff education or local research projects and affordable accommodation close to hospital, Wishlist strives to make the hospital experience better for staff, patients and families.
“As discussed with another one of the guests while staying at Reed House, if I won a heap of money, I would gladly make a very large donation to the good work done by Wishlist.”
“My health is now much better, radiation is complete, and I went back to working three days a week recently. It feels good to be productive again although I know I’m still not 100 percent. I am improving and some of that is due to the care given at Reed House where I could just sleep when I wanted and relax.”
To support patients like Sandra needing affordable accommodation close to hospital during cancer treatment, purchase a ticket in the Wishlist Travel Raffle for $10.