A philanthropic partnership that is enabling more terminally ill Queenslanders to fulfil their last wishes and create memories forever has been marked with a special unveiling.
This week, a number of Eastern Star Foundation board members toured Ambulance Wish Queensland’s Volunteer Village, met with volunteers and took part in the unveiling of the Eastern Star Foundation logo on “Betty” the Wish Ambulance.
It follows the handover of a $50,000 grant to Palliative Care Queensland earlier this year, to support the volunteers of the Ambulance Wish Queensland program, which provides specialised transportation and the necessary medical care to empower those faced with a terminal illness to carry out their last wishes.
The grant is being utilised to fund the volunteer village coordinator, to ensure that all program volunteers such as paremedics, doctors, nurses and members of the community, receive the required training to perform their roles within the requirements of the program. The coordinator also ensures the smooth scheduling of volunteer activities and be able to measure volunteer engagement.
Palliative Care Queensland Chief Executive Officer Shyla Mills said they were proud to finally celebrate this partnership, especially after the program had to be put on hold for a period of time due to COVID-19.
“Through their support, Eastern Star Foundation will enable us to extend our reach,” Ms Mills said.
“Our program, although still in its infancy, has really struck a chord with the community, so the recruitment, training and coordination of our ever-growing team of volunteers is a crucial component of our success.
Since launching last year, we had over 200 expressions of interest to volunteer within the first six months.
“The benefits of granting a final wish go far beyond the person requesting it and can equally impact the person’s loved ones and their wider support network. Therefore, our ability to provide a safe and enjoyable experience is our priority, so that memories can be made, and patients wellbeing can be improved. In addition, the positive impact this program has on our volunteers is important too.
“Of course, what all of this will allow us to do, in a broader sense is, to change the narrative around positive dying.”
The grant was one of three initiatives to be funded by Eastern Star Foundation in its inaugural grant round, since becoming a charitable foundation last year. The group, which was formerly known as Star Aged Living, operated a not-for-profit aged care facility in Beaudesert before it was sold to Whiddon Group.
Eastern Star Foundation Chairman Jonathan Nantes said his organisation was proud to partner with Palliative Care Queensland on this important program.
“Our charitable focus is to empower those who enhance the quality of life for our ageing communities and given that the majority of Ambulance Wish Queensland’s clients are in their older years, this partnership was the perfect fit,” Mr Nantes said.
“We would like to thank the volunteers for meeting with us today and for sharing their stories, their presence really capped off the special unveiling. We look forward to furthering the work of Ambulance Wish Queensland to give the gift of choice to those nearing the end of life to fulfil their last wishes.”