A fundraising car rally that finished in Bendigo on the weekend will support paediatric health services in the region by connecting hospitals across three central Victorian towns.
Dozens of drivers who departed Morwell on September 10 have since travelled up the east coast to Eden then back across the Snowy Mountains, all to collect donations for the Bendigo Health Foundation.
The donation will be used to establish paediatric and neonatal telehealth clinics between Bendigo Health and hospitals in Echuca and Swan Hill.
The cause is particularly pertinent to David Ward and Derek Blomfield, also known as Team Two Dads, who drove the 3000-kilometre route in their 1992 Subaru Brumby ute nicknamed Errol.
Both men have children who were born prematurely and who required care from paediatric specialists.
“It’s terrifying, especially when it’s your first born,” Mr Blomfield said.
“You don’t know what the result is going to be.
“But the services just come in and help families like ourselves, they just take care of them.”
Bendigo Health paediatrics clinical director Dr Andy Lovett said funds from the rally would mean young patients can get care closer to home while reducing emotional and financial stress on their families.
“Paediatric telehealth enables healthcare professionals to quickly assess children and initiate appropriate treatment,” Dr Lovett said.
“Being able to ‘see’ a child is essential in a discipline where the patient is not always able to describe symptoms.”