Key Mount Gambier business figure recognised for palliative care efforts

Tuesday April 02, 2024

Independent Mount Gambier MP Troy Bell has recently told State Parliament of the key roles played by Gail Richards.

"The need for a dedicated hospice facility is certainly there," Mr Bell said.

"Gail's lived experience really transformed through a campaign for greater palliative care services.

"Gail's grandmother's illness and the experience that family went through is what spurred Gail on to really getting involved in raising funds for hospice and palliative care services.

"She introduced a fundraising initiative called Key 2 Kindness, because her Mount Gambier real estate business is called Key 2 Sale.

"Through donations since 2021, Key 2 Kindness has raised over $120,000, all of which has been reinvested back into our community. Included in those fundraising efforts is a biennial charity ball, the latest of which took place just a couple of weeks ago.

"Over the past two years, Gail and I have engaged in numerous discussions regarding the necessity of a standalone hospice facility.

"We have convened meetings with the Limestone Coast Local Health Network and the Health Minister Chris Picton to explore options for a feasibility study.

"However, up until a couple of weeks ago, we had not been able to secure government funding for this feasibility study.

"This led to Gail's focus for the 2024 charity ball in Mount Gambier.

"In addition to raising funds for the local volunteer-led in-home hospice service, the evening also saw a campaign to raise $20,000 that was needed for the feasibility study." According to Mr Bell, another key figure in the night's success was guest speaker Diane Wright OAM.

"Diane was instrumental in the establishment of the hospice facilities called Anam Cara in both Colac and Geelong," he said.

"She spoke to the crowd about the importance of what a hospice facility can do for the community, patients and their families as they go through their end-of-life journey.

"Importantly, she was also able to illustrate the size of a community does not define the viability of having a hospice facility.

"With a population of only 10,000 people, the town of Colac and the surrounding area have supported the facility since its opening in 2011.

"Now in its 12th year, Anam Cara House provides respite, palliative care and end-of-life care for the people of south west Victoria.

"It provides an in-homelike setting, offering a choice in care for people of all ages who are living with longterm or life-limiting illnesses.

"Diane's message was well received and the night achieved the goal of raising $20,000 for the feasibility study, as well as a further $25,000 for the in-home hospice service.

"The Mount Gambier community has shown that it is ready to support the hospice facility and I look forward to further discussions and working with the health minister and the current government on how a State Government can assist in making this happen.

"I congratulate Gail Richards and her team at Key 2 Sale on their efforts in hosting such a successful charity ball and thank them for their continued advocacy for bringing greater palliative care services to our region."