The Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) (RFDS) in Cairns has received a helping hand to restock essential aeromedical and clinical equipment thanks to a COVID-19 Emergency Community Grant of almost $10,000 from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.
Much-needed items such as specialised coolers to transport vaccines, syringe drivers, digital thermometers and intensive care response kits will be purchased with the funds, to help the local base to continue providing aeromedical and primary health care services to rural and remote patients.
Since the onset of COVID-19, community fundraising for the RFDS by volunteer groups and through events such as campdrafts, sausage sizzles and open days, has decreased significantly across the state due to strict social distancing guidelines.
RFDS Cairns Base Service Coordinator Leanne Lowe welcomed the grant, stating that it helped to address an urgent need.
“As the state opens up to tourism and business, we expect to see an increase in aeromedical work, and this equipment will be vital for our response,” Ms Lowe said.
“While incredibly grateful for the funding we receive from the State and Federal Governments, the RFDS also relies on community fundraising and donations such as this to deliver vital healthcare services.
“We are extremely grateful for this donation from Hand Heart Pocket and for their wonderful support over the years.”
Murray Freemasons Lodge representative Alan Sims said they nominated the Cairns Base of the Royal Flying Doctor Service for the grant.
“We have supported the Cairns Base over a number of years, but with the COVID-19 restrictions we had to put our charity work on hold,” Alan said.
“We are so proud that the Freemason charity has come to the aid of the local RFDS with this grant, in recognition of the important role that the service plays in improving health outcomes in regional and remote Far North Queensland.”
Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the charity was focused on assisting its existing charity partners and working with Freemason Lodges to increase support at a grassroots level during the Coronavirus pandemic.
“So far, Hand Heart Pocket has provided over $750,000 in COVID-19 emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants to charities across Queensland during the pandemic,” Gary said.
“Cairns RFDS provides an essential service for the region, and we are glad we could provide this extra support at a time when their community needs them the most.”
Photo: Carpentaria Deputy District Grand Master Raja Chohan, Murray Lodge representative Alan Sims, Royal Flying Doctor Service PHC Nurse Lisa Wisely and Cairns Base Service Coordinator Leanne Lowe.