A WEEKLY bingo competition has been a big winner for South West Healthcare, enabling the hospital to almost finalise its $141,000 Reconstruction Microscope Appeal.
The Lucky 7 Cancer Bingo group raised $10,000 for the appeal.
Once purchased, the microscope will reduce the need for people facing reconstructive surgery to travel to Melbourne.
The medical equipment will be used in breast cancer reconstructive surgery, melanoma patients and trauma patients involved in road, workplace and farm accidents.
As of Christmas Eve, $5500 remained outstanding and South West Healthcare’s community partnerships manager Suzan Morey was hopeful of closing the appeal in coming days.
Bingo organisers Judi Doherty and Pauline Burleigh presented the cheque to Ms Morey this week, on top of weekend donations of $5000 from the Warrnambool Football Netball Club members and $6000 from an anonymous Warrnambool group.
Ms Morey’s goal was to finalise the appeal before Christmas, so residents would not have to travel for surgery in 2013.
She said the unexpected donations in the last few days had been a delightful surprise.
“It is unbelievable. I’m absolutely thrilled ... people are incredibly generous,” Ms Morey said.
She said the $10,000 bingo donation was a great Christmas present.
“They have now given us $30,000 since September last year. $30,000 it is huge money, this group now are our biggest consistent donor,” Ms Morey said.
She said the modern, mobile reconstruction microscope would make the job of the hospital’s first resident plastic surgeon, Rob Toma, much easier.
The microscope will be ordered from overseas and once staff were trained in its operation, it is hoped the device will be operational by April.
Mrs Doherty and Mrs Burleigh began the bingo competition with the aim of raising money for the hospital’s oncology department. They were full of praise for their loyal volunteers and supporters, thanking City Memorial Bowls Club, Clinton Baulch — who supplies a bus to collect players — and Materia Brothers, who donate raffle items.
The women said when the bingo began they didn’t anticipate the amount of money they would raise, but with such strong support it was growing annually.
“We’ll keep it going as long as the people keep supporting us,” Mrs Burleigh said.