Finnan’s Gift unveils overwhelming community achievement

Former Winter Olympian Alisa Camplin and her husband Oliver Warner presented a remarkable gift to The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne (RCH) today in memory of their son Finnan.

Alisa and Oliver visited the RCH to unveil a $300,000 state-of-the-art echocardiology scanning machine, supplied by Philips and LifeHealthcare, and purchased with funds generated by the couple’s appeal, Finnan’s Gift.

Finnan Maximus Camplin-Warner was born prematurely on 10th March 2011 after doctors diagnosed him with in-utero congenital heart disease (CHD).  After bravely enduring six open heart surgeries, Finnan passed away at just 10 days of age.

To honour their son and help other babies and families avoid the same anguish, Alisa and Oliver established Finnan’s Gift in May 2011 to raise awareness and much needed funds through the RCH Foundation.  In just three months the couple reached their target enabling the purchase of this crucial piece of cardiac equipment.

Alisa says she cannot thank enough the 3000 individuals, families and organisations who gave so generously after being touched by her family’s story.

“Oliver and I are completely overwhelmed by the charitable warmth of all the generous people who’ve contributed to Finnan’s Gift,” Alisa said.

“We are so proud that collectively Finnan’s Gift has been able to purchase vital medical equipment that will help save lives, and it has helped us start rebuilding ours too.  We never anticipated how spirit renewing the process of achieving this goal would be, and feel indebted to all who helped us,” she said.

RCH Director of Cardiology, A/Professor Michael Cheung, says the leading-edge technology will make a difference for many RCH patients with CHD.

“Congenital heart disease affects approximately 1 in 100 children and is one of the leading causes of death in young children in Australia,” A/Professor Cheung said.

“Some of these children will need treatment in the first few days of life and account for some of the very sickest children in our hospital. On average half of the patients admitted to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit have heart problems.

“A new echocardiography machine will allow better access to the best equipment possible to assess heart structure and function in children of all ages. The machine is a significant upgrade of the echocardiography machine that is currently in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit,” he said.

Finnan’s Gift will continue to raise funds to support RCH doctors, nurses, surgeons and specialists instrumental in Finnan’s care.  Each year, on Finnan’s birthday, a grant will be awarded to an RCH department to directly support patients and families through excellence in leadership and education, technology and equipment, and medical research.

“The team at The Royal Children’s Hospital are truly marvellous and they deserve the absolute best in their ongoing quest to support our children and their families.  Finnan’s Gift will now keep giving, with a targeted annual grant program in place to make a lasting difference,” Alisa said.

Over 3000 families and individuals donated to Finnan’s Gift, including major contributions by: The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation, The Pratt Foundation, Glenn Archer and HeartKids Victoria, Chain Reaction Challenge Foundation, 60 Minutes, Women’s Day, Philips, Collingwood Football Club, Victorian Institute of Sport, Victorian Olympic Council and the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia.  

Donations can be made at www.finnansgift.com.au.  Every little bit helps.