Buy a brick and help us achieve Finn's dream

Buy a brick and help us achieve Finn's dream

Finn was a really active six-year-old boy. He loved soccer, school and his family. He was just a regular kid – and then everything changed.

The Cummins always looked forward to day trips to Melbourne. In August 2018, the family was crossing the road on an outing in the city, when a car came out of nowhere and hit Finn. He suffered traumatic internal injuries and spent eight long weeks in hospital in Melbourne undergoing multiple surgeries and unable to eat. 

finn and family before accident

It was a parent’s worst nightmare. But the Cummins family’s journey had only just begun.

After a long and daunting hospital stay, Finn was finally able to come home and continue his rehabilitation and recovery in Geelong. This made a big difference to Finn, and his family, as he could begin his rehabilitation with the wonderful Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Services (VPRS) team at Barwon Health based at the McKellar Centre in North Geelong. Like most people in Geelong, Finn’s mum Kate Cummins never knew this support was there until she needed it.

However, this group of specialists are achieving amazing things with kids and their families in a space that is designed for adults. With the community’s help, we can do better.

The dedicated staff of the VPRS at Barwon Health have made a big difference to Finn’s life and his recovery, and there are hundreds of other children like Finn who need their own space to achieve their goals. Children are receiving their rehabilitation alongside adults, including the elderly, amputees and other patients with confronting conditions in shared spaces.finn in hosp

These brave and resilient children, who are working hard every day to achieve their recovery goals, deserve a centre tailored to their needs. To ensure they receive the best service and care here in Geelong, we need your help to support them to lead the best possible life.

Finn dreams about this space, and even has his own ideas on what the new centre could be.

“After my accident when I needed help to get back to running and walking and playing soccer, I had to do my exercises and practice running and walking with adults, he said.

“It was a bit scary. I wish kids like me had a place just for us, with colourful walls and tables. I hope one day kids will have their own place that we can run and
have fun.”

Every child in Geelong who needs rehabilitation due to traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, brain tumours, or neurological illnesses should have their own centre just for kids.

Thanks to the Geelong community the Barwon Health Foundation is getting so close.

The Geelong community has raised over $2 million for the Kids Appeal. However, there is still $1 million or 1000 bricks to go.

Please make a donation or buy a brick in your family or loved one’s name.

Any donation of $1000 will purchase a brick and your brick will be displayed with your name, or the name of your family, in our brand new kids rehabilitation centre.

To support Finn’s Dream contact the Barwon Health Foundation on 4215 8900 or donate online at ww.barwonhealthfoundation.org.au finn enjoying sun

About the Project

The Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service (VPRS) is a service just for young people in the Barwon South West Region. The focus of the service is on ‘kids leading kids’ lives’: going to school, being with friends and enjoying hobbies and sports.

Since 2009, clinicians and specialists at the VPRS have been working with children from infancy to late adolescence (0-18), including those with traumatic brain injuries, strokes, and spinal cord injuries. Others, such as those with cerebral palsy, have been involved in rehabilitation following medical treatments including surgery or Botox injection therapy.

Treatments range from physical, speech and occupational therapy to social work and clinical psychology.

In 2016, the VPRS saw 156 patients from the Geelong region and assisted 108 in the first half of 2017. Many of these children and youth have had an acquired brain injury from car accidents, falls, strokes and brain tumours.

It is estimated about 20,000 Australian children aged under 15 years have an acquired brain injury.

Others have had spinal cord injuries or surgery to muscles, bones or tendons to allow better movement.

These children are treated in the Community Rehabilitation Centre at the McKellar Centre, which has been designed for adults. However, to tailor programs to each child and family’s specific needs, Geelong needs a rehabilitation facility for children and youth. BH VPRS TEST RENDER 06

The new centre’s spaces will feature:
• Kid-sized equipment, with design and decorations suiting a child’s imagination;
• An atmosphere that helps stimulate creativity and a willingness to engage in rehabilitation;
• Programs for developing brains, with therapy disguised as play to engage the minds of children and their families;
• Development with families in mind, including parents and siblings who play a key role in rehabilitation.

The new centre will include:
• A children’s gym with state-of-the-art equipment to help with walking, moving arms and hands and preparing children for physical play at home, playgrounds and schools;
• Staff with facilities and equipment to provide the highest quality care to children of all ages with better outcomes for families;
• Teleconference facilities improving the capacity to provide direct support to families across the region, allowing for input from Melbourne-based specialist clinicians.
• Quiet spaces for counselling, therapy and group programs that provide a warm, friendly and homely environment, allowing families who may be under great stress to feel safe and cared for; and
• An innovative ‘communal kitchen’ where families can sit, relax, meet and chat, as children and youth can participate in therapeutic cooking activities. This aids arm movement, thinking skills, problem solving, and physical function.