Donation used for happy walls at Rockingham hospital

Indigo Lemay-ConwaySound Telegraph
Jodi O'Connor with grandson Ezekiel and nurse unit manager Vicki Filby
Camera IconJodi O'Connor with grandson Ezekiel and nurse unit manager Vicki Filby Credit: Jasmine Leivers/supplied/Jasmine Leivers/supplied

Four murals at Rockingham Hospital — made possible by a Mandurah grandmother who completed the Rottnest Channel swim 10 times — have been unveiled after she donated $2000 to the hospital’s paediatric ward.

Jodi O’Connor has done the 19.7km open water swim from Cottesloe Beach to Rottnest Island five times solo and five times in a team.

In 2019 she fundraised for the paediatric ward where her sick grandson, Ezekiel, was receiving treatment.

“With my grandchild being sick and needing to spend a fair bit of time in here, and seeing what the staff did ... not just for him, but for all the other sick kids, I thought, I could make a difference here by still doing what I enjoy doing,” Ms O’Connor said.

Having previously fundraised for other causes such as homelessness and mental health, Ms O’Connor decided she would give the money to the hospital to say thank you for the help they had given her family.

“I didn’t mind what they used the money for as long as it was used for the paediatric ward and would give the kids some happy times,” Ms O’Connor said.

Paediatric ward nurse unit manager Vicki Filby said she originally planned to use the money to get a wooden cubbyhouse for the outdoor area outside the ward, but after the idea was rejected, decided to redo the rundown walls instead.

“We were inspired by the children’s rooms in the ED, they’ve got a lot of underwater scenes on the walls and they’re just amazing,” she said.

One of the four new murals in the Rockingham Hospital paediatric ward.
Camera IconOne of the four new murals in the Rockingham Hospital paediatric ward.

“When you go to give a kid a needle, if you can distract them by saying ‘look at the fish on the wall, and can you find Dory?’ By the time you’ve given them the needle they haven’t even realised what you were doing, it’s such a great distraction.”

Four rooms in the ward have been given a makeover by Rockingham’s Wicked Walls and Mrs Filby is hopeful the remaining four will be done in the future.

Ms O’Connor will be taking part in next year’s Rottnest Swim but she hasn’t decided who she will fundraise for next.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails