Alisa and Oliver Camplin-Warner could never have imagined that their baby boy Finnan would touch the lives of so many. 2021 marks 10 years since the couple founded Finnan’s Gift in his memory to support world-leading cardiac care at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH).
Thanks to a dedicated community of supporters, Finnan’s Gift has raised over $3.5 million and made an incredible difference to the care of thousands of sick children and their families.
During pregnancy, first-time parents Alisa and Oliver learnt that their baby had congenital heart disease (CHD).
When Finnan was born in 2011, specialists at the RCH were ready to take him into cardiac surgery. Finnan’s condition was extremely complex, and in eight days he underwent six open heart surgeries. Sadly, there was nothing more clinicians could do to save him, and he passed away at 10 days old.
“As parents, we know we did everything we could possibly do for our son and feel indebted to everyone at the RCH for their care, compassion, and communication,” said Alisa.
Amid the pain and heartbreak of losing Finnan, Alisa and Oliver founded Finnan’s Gift as a way of channelling their grief into something positive. Each year on Finnan’s birthday, Alisa and Oliver work with the RCH Foundation and the hospital to choose a project to support in Finnan’s name, giving back to the departments that helped in his care.
“Our aim has always been to provide funds for game-changing, state-of-the-art equipment and projects that will make a huge difference at the hospital,” said Alisa.
“Once a project is chosen, we set the challenge to raise the required funds. It’s not just us – it’s a team effort, our friends, family and community from all over Australia and the world who donate and fundraise – so that a year later we can present the gift to the hospital,” said Oliver.
Over 10 years, an incredible $3.5 million has been raised to purchase life-saving equipment for the cardiology, cardiac surgery and oncology departments, as well as for the NICU and Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. Each piece of equipment features a Finnan’s Gift plaque.
“We’ve met families who have also lost a child to CHD who are fundraising with us to help them get through, or others whose child survived cardiac surgery and saw the Finnan’s Gift plaques on the equipment, and are so grateful,” said Oliver.
“Although Finnan was with us for a short time, he left a huge impact on us as a couple and our love for him 10 years later is just as strong. It humbles us to think that the community of support through Finnan’s Gift is so meaningful to other people, not just us,” said Alisa.
This year, Finnan’s Gift is fundraising for a portable heart monitor which measures the pressures and flow within blood vessels and the heart. This equipment is crucial to a research study on long term survivors of repaired CHD.
Professor Michael Cheung, Director of Cardiology at the RCH, believes the findings from the study may lead to interventions for children and adult survivors of CHD.
“As our patients increasingly reach adulthood after having heart surgery as young infants, we want to make sure that we can maximise their physical capabilities to take advantage of all the benefits of exercise and cope with the physical stress of daily activities,” said Michael.
“We are so excited that our 10 year fundraising goal is focused on learning from older CHD patients, in order to help the future of younger cardiac patients”, said Alisa.
Support Finnan’s Gift and make a difference to babies born with CHD.Donate today