When 1355 athletes signed on for this year’s Ironman in Port Macquarie, they were probably unaware their participation would help create a record donation to local community organisations.
The 2016 event has delivered $43,500 to Ironman Australia’s local organising committee, the highest ever amount received by the committee for distribution to community groups and organisations.
Among the beneficiaries is Port Macquarie Base Hospital’s Emergency Department, which has received a $2000 donation.
Local Organising Committee chairman Mike Reid said the gift was a ‘thank you’ to the medical staff who volunteer their time and expertise to the Ironman event, ensuring athletes have access to quality medical care should they need it.
Local school teacher Vanessa Grey, the event’s Recovery Services Director for the past eight years, has the task of recruiting medical volunteers for the Port Macquarie event and helped organise the Emergency Department donation.
“We simply wouldn’t have a race without the volunteer medical team,” Mr Reid said.
“The Ironman event puts the body under a lot of pressure. All of our volunteers are important, but our medical volunteers - the doctors and nurses, podiatrists and physiotherapists who work in our mini ED on the day, are extremely important.
“And Vanessa is the person who puts together this team. She is a marvel.”
Mr Reid said the committee received funds each year for organising the Port Macquarie race, with this year’s amount of $43,500 bringing the tally to about $300,000 gifted to various community organisations in the past 11 years.
One of the hospital’s enrolled nurses, Simon Ross, is an Ironman committee member who also helped organise the donation, which has purchased a bronchoscope.
The device is used by medical staff to assess a patient’s airways and lungs. Within the ED environment, it is used to assist the procedure required to insert a breathing tube.
Emergency Department Acting Nurse Unit Manager Andrew Baxter gratefully accepted the donation, adding that the support of community groups such as the Ironman’s Local Organising Committee made a big difference to patients and hospital staff.
“The support we receive from our community is genuinely appreciated,” Mr Baxter said.
“Our doctors and nurses do great work here in Emergency. Support from our community helps us to continue to provide the highest level of care to our patients.
“We are thrilled that the Local Organising Committee recognised a need and acted on it,” he said.
“The bronchoscope is a valued addition to our department and will help in the care of critically ill patients.”