Lismore's mystery angel: The spirit of truly giving
A MYSTERIOUS Lismore resident has eased the suffering for struggling families at Sydney's Westmead Children's Hospital with a steady flow of gift vouchers.
Staff at the hospital say the vouchers began arriving in the post a few months ago with a surprising, but very welcome, donation along with an unsigned letter asking that they be used to help needy families.
A couple of weeks later another envelope arrived with the same unsigned note and more vouchers.
The envelopes have been arriving steadily ever since. The most recent turned up on Friday and brings the total value of the donations to more than $600.
Lucinda Newell, the deputy head of social work at the hospital, said hospital staff had followed the letters' instructions and the gift vouchers had made a real difference in the lives of families with sick kids who were going through hard times.
"January is a hard time for many of our patient families and the gratitude we felt on their behalf after receiving the first letter with five $30 gift vouchers was immense," Ms Newell said.
"We thought long and hard about where the greatest need was for these vouchers and they were given out and greatly appreciated."
Ms Newell said the staff had no clue as to the identity of their mystery angel, but the envelopes were all post-marked Lismore, so they assumed their benefactor lived in or near the city.
Whoever it is, they have the hospital's heart-felt thanks.
"We cannot thank this wonderful donor enough for the difference the vouchers have made to many families at The Children's Hospital Westmead," she said.
The vouchers had been used to provide things such as groceries, mobile phone recharges to help families stay in touch, basic needs after emergency transfers from regional and rural areas, and buying toys to help cheer sick kids with serious illnesses and/or about to undergo surgery.
The social workers at The Children's Hospital Westmead see many families whose lives are disrupted due to a child's medical condition," she said.
"Some of these conditions are temporary, some chronic and some devastating for the child and family.
"Supporting these families through these difficult times has been made just a little bit easier thanks to the mysterious hospital hero in Lismore."