Article from 2020/2021 Impact of Giving Annual Report
Evan and Naomi Dwyer are the parents of four boys. They are long-time supporters of the hospital, both personally and through the family business in collaboration with the Good Friday Appeal.
Like many families, they’ve had to take their sons to the RCH Emergency Department for sports injuries, rather than for a serious illness. However, that all changed when their youngest son urgently needed the hospital’s care, right in time for Good Friday.
Professionally, Evan is the founder and managing director of RedZed Lending Solutions. As a major sponsor of the National Rugby League team the Melbourne Storm, RedZed had committed to matching the Storm’s fundraising efforts for the 2021 Good Friday Appeal.
In March 2021, out of the blue, Evan’s youngest son Joe suffered from a haemorrhagic stroke while he was at school. He was rushed to the RCH for brain surgery, followed by a month long stay in the wards for follow up surgeries and extensive rehabilitation.
“Nothing quite beats the experience of having a child in a serious condition in hospital. I wouldn’t recommend anyone experiencing it the way we had to, but it opened my eyes to the incredible work that the RCH does,” said Evan.
“Joe had many people supporting him, from the neurosurgery team led by Dr Patrick Lo, to the nurses, physiotherapists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, social workers – the list goes on. Naomi and I wanted to find a way to thank them for the incredible care they’d provided,” said Evan.
Evan knew the Director of General Medicine, Dr Sarah McNab, who recommended he speak to the RCH Foundation about where they could make a difference. An opportunity was available to support Dr Joseph Yang, whose research had assisted in Joe’s brain surgeries.
Joseph was two years into his Clinical Research Fellowship in Paediatric Neurosurgery, which had given him protected research time to develop cutting edge MRI techniques to map the brain nerve fibre tracts. This advanced technology was helping surgeons to conduct precise and delicate brain surgery, but Joseph needed funding for his final year of research.
“What resonated with me was that research is like a start up or small business, you try to get funding support but it’s difficult until someone believes in you, then others want to support too. Joseph is making a clinical difference on a daily basis but isn’t at a stage yet where he can get appropriate Government funding – there’s a gap there where we and others from RedZed could jump in and help,” said Evan.
Not only are the Dwyer family now supporting Joseph’s position with significant funding for his research, RedZed also matched the Storm’s $50,000 donation to the Good Friday Appeal, handing over $100,000 to support patient care at the hospital.
“I hope this support can make a meaningful difference to other children and parents who need expert care like Joe did. We as a community need to support talented individuals like Joseph to keep Australia at the cutting edge of neurological research,” said Evan.