Run Ballarat shines light on children

SUPPORT: Run Ballarat ambassador Gorgi Coghlan and her daughter Molly-Rose,5, meet Lacey Mannix, 5, at the children's ward on Monday. Picture: Kate Healy.

SUPPORT: Run Ballarat ambassador Gorgi Coghlan and her daughter Molly-Rose,5, meet Lacey Mannix, 5, at the children's ward on Monday. Picture: Kate Healy.

Each month 200 children are admitted into the paediatric ward at the Ballarat Base Hospital. 

And, about 15,000 to 17,000 children seek urgent medical help from the hospital’s emergency department every year. 

Ballarat Health Services head of paediatrics Doctor David Tickell’s dream was to see a vibrant paediatrics facility which made Ballarat’s youngest patients feel at ease, but also provided state-of-the-art care allowing as many children as possible to be treated their hometown.

“I would like to see a facility that allows us to keep as many kids as we can in Ballarat without referring them to the bigger services down the road,” he said.“But also allows us to provide that care with best equipment, best staffing and best service possible to make sure they are not getting inferior care to anywhere else.”

Doctor Tickell said the current children’s ward was a “fit-out of an adult ward”. Events like this weekend’s Run Ballarat were critical in bringing to life a brand new space designed specifically to meet the needs of the region’s youngest patients.

The annual fun run raises funds for the Ballarat paediatric ward’s redevelopment by donating 100 per cent of every participant’s fees to the cause.

“We want to make the ward as kid-friendly a space as possible so the children aren’t threatened anymore than they need to be in a hospitalised environment where there are lots of scary and unknown things going on,” he said. 

“We’ve just done an audit of statistics from a 15 year period which showed the numbers are gradually increasing every year in line with numbers presenting to the hospital.

“We’ve also increased the acuity of hospital so we provide care for sicker kids than what we used to ten or 15 years ago.”

More than 2000 participants have already signed up for the fun run this weekend. 

Run Ballarat has introduced a new three-kilometre Pursuit of Happiness run or walk in addition to the 12km and 6km runs, 6km family walk and popular children’s 1km dash. 

To volunteer or register, visit runaustralia.com.au.