Many not for profit organizations with a cause are set up by founders after they personally experience something. Firsthand experiences make people realize the needs of others which then encourage them to set up something that could benefit everyone around them with similar problems. The George Gregor Foundation was set up by the record holding rugby player George gregor in 2005. His wife Erica was the co founder and they took up the job after their own son was diagnosed with epilepsy.
Neural disorders leave people feeling deprived and held back, especially children who can’t enjoy their lives the way they see other children around them doing so. In order to make kids feel full of life and happy, they need to be provided with opportunities that are suitable for their life conditions. Holding them back is no option, rather letting them do what they want in an environment that is suitable for them is the need of time.
The firsthand needs of many sick children were experienced by the founder couple when they spent time in the hospital with their sick son Max.
The organization has two major purposes. One is to create playgrounds in all children’s hospitals across the country while the other is to train doctors and other health professionals who are caring for children with neurological disorders.
The society where this foundation exists is lucky to have gotten over the basic needs of human beings to a great extent. Only a small percentage of the population is hungry or deprived. In societies like these, it is possible for people to set aside funds for projects like these. In many countries, people would consider things like these a luxury as the general population is hungry, homeless and deprived. The mission of the organization is thus to make the best out of what it has.
The organization has raised three million dollars to date through different events held in Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra.
The Children’s Hospital Westmead
Katie Power, an ambassador of the foundation inaugurated the first park at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead on 5th October 2006. It was an interactive playground built with partners Mirvac and Backyard Blitz. It took the team three weeks to complete the ground. The playground was designed to give disabled and normal children an equal chance of outdoor activities. The environment and activities were made accessible after close research in Australia and internationally renowned research. The theme of this playground was aquatic, with water elements that included sculptures of animals like octopus, seal, fish and crabs. The giant pirate ship in this park, with sound effects, was donated by Cure our Kids.
The Canberra Hospital
Construction at this hospital was initially delayed because of the expansion of the hospital itself. The key donors for this playground raised $160,000 initially. The ACT community, Bovis Lend Lease, 104.7fm, Ernst and Young Foundation and tireless efforts of John and Jenny Gregan played important roles. The efforts for fundraising were supported by ACT at every stage. During the next levels of fundraising, more donations continued to flow into the project and in 2011, the playground designer Ric McConaghy started his work on the new playground. Working in proximity with the staff of the hospital and the ACT community, a playground based on jungle theme was built and officially opened in August, 2013. It took ten weeks.
Sydney Children’s Hospital
Being one of the leading children’s hospitals in Australia, the Sydney Children’s Hospital takes almost 14000 children into admission each year. It looks after 200,000 children in the outpatient, outreach and emergency services. This playground is a superb version of natural areas and trees combined with all access playing area. There are many games to play and a lot of things to explore. For kids are parents who want to escape from the wards of the hospital, this is a great place. This playground was completed in eight weeks.
The Lady Cilento playground project
This all access playground was due to open at the end of 2014. The designer Ric McConaghy was given the task to design another playground for the charity foundation’s playgrounds project. The foundations and the equipment is almost complete and it is the installation which remains as we write this piece. In order to raise funds for the project, fundraising events have been a part of the campaign.
Charity for Fellowship
Medical specialists that treat neurological problems like epilepsy in kids are in constant need of training. The George Gregan Foundation raises funds for the training of these medical practitioners.
The Foundation believes that investing in the Fellowship of medical practitioners is a good investment and so this has been in progress since 2006 at the Westmead Children’s Hospital. This clinical experience improves the assessment, investigation, research and treatment of disorders such as seizure. Between 2009 and 2011, the same kind of program was run at Brisbane in the Mater Children’s and Royal Children’s Hospitals. A Fellow played important role such as the clinical care of epileptic patients in hospitals, along with services in the OPD and IPD.
The George Gregan Foundation raises money through two means besides the events and donations taken. Donor tiles are sold to people who are willing to buy pieces of engraved tiles that are then inserted in the walls of the playground. Over a year, the tiles are replaced more than once. Another way they raise funds is through selling of merchandise. When donors purchase equipment, they play a direct role in the maintenance of the playgrounds. Their names are also shown on donor walls.
The fundraising events are supported by partners of the foundation for example, Marie Claire, Mulpha, OPI and Ensemble Theatre.
Donations can be made on the website or through check; the form for which has been presented on the website. Volunteers can also raise funds to donate to the foundation. By buying merchandise; people can help maintain the grounds. Donations can be made both as individuals or as corporate groups or organization.