Run Sunshine Coast - Your Questions Answered

24 Apr 2014

What is RUN Sunshine Coast?

RUN Sunshine Coast is part of the RUN Australia series, an initiative of the Cotton On Foundation where people can run, walk or roll the streets of their town while raising money for local health projects supporting young people in regional Australia.

The Cotton On Foundation’s mission is to empower youth and they achieve this through partnering with communities where there is a need for improved health facilities for young people.

The most amazing thing about Run Australia is that 100% of every registration fee goes straight to the cause!

Run Australia is already established in Ballarat, Wollongong, Newcastle and Geelong, and with the Sunshine Coast and Townsville joining as additional event sites in 2014 this will bring the RUN Australia series to six different communities.

Being the first year for RUN Sunshine Coast, the Cotton On Foundation will match dollar for dollar the amount raised by registrations.

Wishlist is the beneficiary of RUN Sunshine Coast and will direct 100% of registrations towards growing the Child Development Service on the Sunshine Coast.

The University of the Sunshine Coast has come on as presnting partner of RUN Sunshine Coast while the event is supported by media partners Mix FM, Southern Cross Ten and the Sunshine Coast Daily.

What will the money go towards?

100% of every registration will go towards growing the Child Development Service on the Sunshine Coast. This is a priority need as identified by the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (SCHHS) and approved for funding by Wishlist with proceeds of Mix FM’s Give Me 5 for Kids 2013 already set aside for this project.

How is Wishlist involved?

Wishlist is the beneficiary of RUN Sunshine Coast, and as the Sunshine Coast’s Health Foundation dedicated to fundraising for local health initiatives, Wishlist will direct all the funds raised towards growing the Child Development Service on the Sunshine Coast.

Why is growing the Child Development Services so important to Coast families?

A community-based, dedicated Child Development Service outside of the major hospital setting, out in the community – rather than four floors up in a facility designed for sick and injured patients, will be extremely beneficial to many local families.

The purpose of the facility will be to house the SCHHS Child Development Service in a community setting, with better resources and with sufficient space to enable the service to grow in both the number of staff  and the number of patients who access the service.

Director of Paediatrics for the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (SCHHS) Dr Tom Hurley and his team believe the best setting for early assessment and intervention is in the community.  The hospital environment has negative connotations for both parents and their children adding to the stress of both during visits. Older children associate coming to the hospital with being sick and having something “wrong” with them, a stigma that will be reduced with a community based service.

A community Child Development Service will enable better access and closer links with Child Health nurses, GP's, child care centres, kindergartens and schools.

The current Child Development Service exists at Nambour Hospital, comprising of a team of highly skilled and experienced paediatric allied health staff, including speech therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, social workers, therapy assistants and administration support along with Dr Heidi Webster, the Developmental Paediatrician.

The team is passionate about the children and families they see, and the difference that can be made in children's lives, but are hampered by lack of time, space and equipment.

Play areas, both inside and out for sand and water play (important for sensory and play development) and space for group education sessions are currently unavailable due to space restrictions but will be highly beneficial in the new setting.

Locally, there are long waiting lists for children with behavioural or developmental concerns to be assessed by a paediatrician.  These children could be better assessed by Allied Health therapist screening, parent education and subsequent referral to other specialists if required.

Growing the Child Development Service on the Sunshine Coast will help shorten these long waiting lists as well as significantly increasing the age group of children who can be seen.

Based on the expected growth of the region over the coming years the Sunshine Coast is forecast to grow faster than Queensland overall. As a result, it is expected that services provided by the Community Based Child Development Centre will be in even greater demand.

Who will benefit from this service?

Families across the entire Sunshine Coast and hinterland regions will benefit who have children with a range of developmental conditions from mild to moderate.

This includes babies and young children with developmental delays, where they may be slow developing and lacking skills in their large and fine motor movements (walking/ running/ using their hands to feed/ play/ draw/ write), speech and language development, social and play skills, and daily activities such as toileting.

Some are children who have the abilities and behaviours of a much younger child and those with severe developmental disorders such as an autistic disorder and Cerebral Palsy.

Babies who are born prematurely or have medical problems that interfere with normal brain development are also seen by the team, as are school-age children when carers and teachers realise they're not speaking and playing properly upon starting kindergarten or school programs.

While some of these children have visible physical disabilities and look "different", kids with developmental disorders are often children who look normal, but whose skills and behaviour don't match those of other kids of their age - so they have what paediatricians term "hidden" or "invisible" disabilities.

Some children already have a diagnosable medical condition, or were born prematurely, so there is an obvious reason for their problems. But for many children, their parents and teachers are seeking a diagnosis to explain why they aren't developing skills at the normal rate for their age and to work out how to help them.

It is vital for these children and their families to have them properly assessed at as young an age as possible by a team of therapists who can each look at the different areas of their development, and then put all the information together.

Children over six years of age are not currently offered any SCHHS allied health therapy service, but with the new community-based clinic the team will develop the service to support 6-13 year olds as well.

When will the new service be completed?

As soon as possible, but the goal is to have the new community-based Child Development Centre operational before or by the time the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital opens (late 2016).

How can the Coast community help?

With 100% of registrations from RUN Sunshine Coast going towards growing the Child Development Service on the Sunshine Coast, the single best thing you can do to help achieve this goal is to sign up for the RUN which will take place on Sunday, 29th June 2014.  

The Cotton On Foundation will match dollar for dollar the amount raised by registrations, and if we can get 12,000 participants (there are more than 300,000 people living on the Sunshine Coast) we are in with a very good chance of raising $1million which will go a long way towards the cause!

Registration fees are just $48/per adult for the 12km Run, $28 for children, $38 for adults for the 6km run and walk, Children under the age of 12 are $8 for both events. To register go to

Media Contacts:

Cotton On Foundation, Jimmy Elkington, National Projects Coordinator, Ph: 03 5277 7742 or Mob: 0408 027 152

 Wishlist, Jennifer Swaine, Marketing and Communications Manager, 07 5470 6598 or 0438 952 830

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