It’s on again.
Ballarat’s biggest community event of the year is occurring this Sunday. It is one where the unstinting generosity of old and young is displayed in the spectacle of an army of red and white flowing down Ballarat’s iconic boulevard.
Now in its sixth year and getting bigger every year, Run Ballarat provides a marvelous opportunity for the wider community to get out and get active whether in a competitive dash or a more leisurely family stroll.
But if the salubrious benefits of such a social Sunday morning outing aren’t attractive enough then one needs barely to be reminded that this is for a good cause. In this case it is for the kids and more specifically the most important facility for sick children in the region. This is also a special landmark year with a start to construction of the refurbishment of the Base Hospital children’s ward.
The $3.5 million redevelopment is almost half-funded by Run Ballarat and if that isn't a concrete example of how community generosity can be turned into demonstrable improvements for these sick kids, what is? The refurbishment, expected to be completed by May, will include a new high-observation area for the sickest young patients, reducing instances of children in intensive care units with adults.
According to BHS chief executive officer Dale Fraser it also allows unwell children to receive top quality care locally. For any family that has had to add to the trauma of a very sick child, the difficulties and stress of travelling to Melbourne, this will make a world of difference.
Apart from technical advances, for those children who are perhaps less sick but compelled to stay in hospital even the cosmetic upgrades can make an enormous impact. Consider the contrast to the mental wellbeing of a child in a hospital bed who “pining, pining, till time when reason rambled” has their spirit buoyed by airy brightness and light or those that must endure their frustrating infirmity in a dinghy alcove?
There have been arguments put forward that the community shouldn't be funding a state government responsibility. No doubt health administrators and workers would respond that every little bit helps and who would begrudge them help? Moreover you might as readily argue that the health facilities at the base belong to everyone and recognising their value is just one more way for the the community to say thank-you for looking after our most precious.