WA philanthropists dig deep for sick kids

Posted June 8, 2022
WA philanthropists dig deep for sick kids

The generosity of some of Perth’s most high-profile philanthropists and business leaders was on full display at the annual Telethon Leeuwin lunch, where staggering donations were made to help sick children.

A record $4.4 million was raised at the event, up almost $1 million from last year. The Horgan family, hosted at their Leeuwin Estate winery in Margaret River and donated all the food and wine on the day.

Russell and Tamara Gibbs. Credit: Matt Jelonek/Matt Jelonek

Philanthropist Rhonda Wyllie teamed up with Navitas founder Rod Jones and wife Carol to go halves donating $825,000 to cover the cost of a new MRI machine to help children with brain tumours, allowing research teams to lab test new, less traumatic treatments.

Nick Gottardo, head of the paediatric oncology and haematology department at Perth Children’s Hospital, said the machine was a “game-changing” addition and the first of a new generation of technology that would speed up research “by months if not years”.

Tim and Linda Goyder. Credit: Matt Jelonek/Matt Jelonek

“I was completely blown away by the day,” Dr Gottardo said. “I certainly didn’t expect to be so moved. The atmosphere was electric and the support was palpable.”

Richard and Janine Goyder. Credit: Matt Jelonek

As well as their generous donation to the MRI machine, the Joneses also purchased other equipment and auction items, taking their total donations on the day to more than $500,000.

Chis Ellison’s Mineral Resources donated two therapy puppies for children with autism at a cost of $100,000, as did Audi Centre Perth managing director Bronte Howson and wife Colleen.

Elizabeth Perron. Credit: Matt Jelonek

The couple also gifted a $170,000 electric Audi e-tron Sportback as an auction item, which was snapped up by Maddington and Canning Vale Toyota dealer principal Paul Davies for $220,000.

Alesha Pemberton with Fat Cat. Credit: Matt Jelonek

Mining entrepreneur Grant Davey donated more than $300,000 for multiple items, including $188,250 for a cardiovascular ultrasound machine for examining neonates at PCH’s intensive care unit. An anonymous, generous philanthropist gave $1 million contingent on the room raising $1.5 million for medical equipment — a target that was easily exceeded.

Bronte Howson. Credit: Matt Jelonek/Matt Jelonek

Another anonymous, generous philanthropist donated $400,000 to secure a private lunch with new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and WA Premier Mark McGowan, with an announcement due to lob shortly about the special guests who will be invited. MinRes director and Multiplex heir Tim Roberts gave $500,000.

Neale Fong, Rhonda Wyllie, Justin Langer, Melissa Karlson and Jamie Karlson. Credit: Matt Jelonek/Matt Jelonek

Six-figure sums were also handed over by high-profile businessman Michael Anghie and wife Sandy, including for two Arctic Sun cooling machines for PCH, and Mei Wen on behalf of Wen Giving, supported by Hawaiian, for a Supine YAG laser machine.

Guests frequently involved in bidding included John and Tanya Eales, Jules Pemberton and his culinary powerhouse wife Alesha, mining entrepreneur Tim Goyder, Sharon and Dave Kais, Roy Hill chief executive Gerhard Veldsman and wife Marnelle, Bill Beament and partner Abbi Vermey and PwC’s Perth managing partner Michelle Tremain and her husband Mark.

Michelle Tremain. Credit: Matt Jelonek

And after the fundraising was done there was a surprise music performance from James Reyne much to the delight of guests.

Bill Beament and partner Abbi Vermey. Credit: Matt Jelonek/Matt Jelonek

Cricket legend Justin Langer said in his speech that Telethon was something unique West Australians should be extremely proud of. A sentiment Dr Gottardo could not agree with more.

James Reyne entertains the crowd. Credit: Matt Jelonek

“They were there with hearts open and wanted to help,” the renowned oncologist said. “That crowd was incredibly generous.”

Dave and Sharon Kais. Credit: Matt Jelonek/Matt Jelonek

Mr Jones approached him after the lunch, shook his hand, proclaiming: “This is the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Rod and Carol Jones. Credit: Matt Jelonek/Matt Jelonek

Joanne Beedie, co-founder of not-for-profit Helping Little Hands, which supports families of premature babies, told guests their generosity gave thousands of sick children across WA “a better road to a future for health”.

Joanne Beedie, co-founder of not-for-profit Helping Little Hands Credit: Matt Jelonek/Matt Jelonek

Original article thanks to The West Australian here