The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital’s dream for a therapeutic playground is one step closer, thanks to a R50 000 donation from the City’s Fire and Rescue Service.
Anthony Hughes, a platoon commander, handed over the cheque to the Children’s Hospital Trust, on Thursday June 30. The money was raised at the annual firefighters’ ball in 2019,
The City’s firefighters have been fund-raising for the hospital’s burns unit since 2009, and Mr Hughes, who retires at the end of July with 40 years of service, has helped the fund-raiser grow from a karaoke and dance to the ball.
The handover had been delayed by Covid-19, he said.
“The hospital and the patients, especially those in the burns units, are very close to our hearts,” he said. “We often come around to the wards to check in on patients. We love bringing a smile to their faces but also realise the impact the burns have on their lives. Many of them are scarred or maimed for life and have to stay in hospital for years.”
The funds will go towards the therapeutic playground project to establish an inclusive play area where children of all abilities can grow and learn through physical, sensory and social experiences.
The hospital’s medical services manager, Dr Nellis Beyers, thanked the firefighters, saying it was indeed a life-changing experience for a child who ends up in the burns unit.
“We want to thank you for your continued support and for being willing to continue the relationship with the hospital,” he said. “We also want to thank the trust for all the work they are doing behind the scenes to bring this playground to life.”
The trust’s donor relations manager Pauline Solomons said the play area would greatly help burns patients by increasing their skin’s mobility and sensory stimulation through play.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said firefighters had first-hand experience with burn patients so the fund-raiser was very important to them.
“I am impressed by the changes you have planned for this area and hope that this money will help to bring the trust’s vision to life for the playground,” he said.