Charity hospital fundraising effort reaches $100K mark

Waikaia Store, Brown Owl Cafe and Waikaia Post Office owner Lyn Brown and 
Waikaia Store, Brown Owl Cafe and Waikaia Post Office owner Lyn Brown and husband Lindsay Brown.PHOTO: SUPPLIED
When Lyn Brown jumped online to buy a brick in support of the Southland Charity Hospital, little did she know it meant the fundraising campaign had reached its first milestone.

The Waikaia Store, Brown Owl Cafe and Post Office owner’s purchase of a supporter’s brick took the funds raised by the campaign, publicly launched last week, to $100,000.

To begin the refit of the hospital building, formerly the Clifton Club Inn, off Armagh St, donated by the Invercargill Licensing Trust in February, the charity hospital board has to raise a total of $500,000.

Mrs Brown said her daughter Jess had also purchased a brick.

"We wanted to buy one, mainly because we’ve both lost family members to cancer, so it’s pretty close to the heart.

"We just thought, if there was anything we could do to support the cause, then we would."

Mrs Brown’s father died of bowel cancer a few years ago, and her mother died of cancer 30 years ago.

Her husband Lindsay’s family had also lost loved ones to cancer recently.

She was surprised to receive a phone call from charity hospital board member Melissa Vining, whose husband, Blair, died in October last year of bowel cancer.

"I admire Melissa and the Vining family so much, they’re incredible people.

"It’s so selfless, doing this for the betterment of everybody in Southland."

Mr Vining received a terminal diagnosis in 2018.

After discovering inequities within New Zealand’s healthcare system because of the "postcode lottery", he decided to do something about it.

His public fight for better healthcare access in the South garnered national attention and he was a driving force in the creation of the Southland Charity Hospital Trust.

The trust was founded by the community for the community to provide healthcare for those living in the Southern DHB zone, who would otherwise be unable to access treatment, publicly or privately.

Mrs Brown said she hoped the planned new hospital would provide earlier diagnosis and treatment options for future patients.

"The hospital is going to open so many doors for so many families and, hopefully, will take away the stress and anxiety of waiting."

The Southland Charity Hospital had $500,000 in the bank before the "buy a brick" campaign was launched and the trust needed to match that before it could proceed with the physical work.

By yesterday afternoon, $117,500 had been raised.

New Zealand’s first "Buy a Brick Day" would be held on July 31; the trust wanted New Zealanders to take part in a "casual Friday", wearing red, white and black, and use proceeds to purchase supporters’ bricks, which would form the path from the car park to the hospital, or commemorative plaques, which would be placed in "Blair’s Garden" onsite.

Bricks and plaques could be bought on the campaign’s website:

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