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Group 3

A rich history with a bright future

On Friday November 18, the GV Health Foundation brought together the Male Bag Foundation, Freemasons Foundation Victoria, and the Shepparton Biggest Blokes Luncheon.

The groups were celebrating the donation of a trans perineal biopsy (TPB) machine, which allows men who are under active surveillance for prostate cancer or need a prostate biopsy to have the 30-minute procedure in Shepparton, rather than travelling to Melbourne.

It’s just the latest development in a long history of serving the community for the GV Health Foundation. It originated from a trust started in 1989 by immediate past chair Ross McPherson who, along with a group of community-minded individuals, managed the surplus from a capital-raising campaign for the children’s ward.

Ross said the Foundation owed its success to the big and generous hearts of Goulburn Valley people, enabling it to fill gaps in hospital equipment and services that government funding couldn’t meet.

“Allied with an active and engaged community we had the hugely effective efforts of never-tiring Carmel Johnson to help us knit it all together,” he said.

Carmel also led the Foundation for many years, until she officially stepped down in July 2021.

“The Foundation has supported many thousands of patients who have needed medical services and treatment for a broad range of clinical reasons, but with a particular focus on paediatric and oncology patients and their needs,” Carmel said.

“Over the years the Foundation, with the support of a generous community, has raised funds for specialised medical equipment, assisted with ward and clinical unit refurbishments, and contributed to the provision of educational scholarships and training for GV Health employees.

“The GV Health Foundation has made a difference to the health and wellbeing of our community.”

Foundation chair Stephen Merrylees said while they had been effectively on a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic and recent floods, the Foundation was now determined to continue its proud history of providing much-needed services and equipment to the community.

“We have a really broad skillset in our trustees and now we’ve got some new faces, it’s very much a reset opportunity,” Stephen said.

“GV Health is growing rapidly now and we’re able to strategically support that.”

Stephen explained the Foundation was grounded in filling gaps – but was also very much centred around the community.

“They’ve provided significant support and commitment to this Foundation, but we’re also very focused around what their needs are,” he said.

“We aim to address the needs the community has and fill those gaps, but we also rely on their assistance, so we’re very much ‘by and for’ our community.”

GV Health Chief Executive Matt Sharp also expressed his gratitude on behalf of GV Health to the GV Health Foundation for their support and provision of essential equipment and services.

“Alongside the GV Health team, I value the collaboration with the GV Health Foundation and the positive outcomes the important work delivers,” he said.

As a charitable trust, the GV Health Foundation provides monetary and other beneficial supports to the hospital but relies on the community for donations to fund its activities and initiatives.

Director GV Health Foundation and Engagement Claire Ewart-Kennedy said those donating to the Foundation were able to specify exactly what their donation should benefit and where it should go.

“We encourage individuals and businesses to donate in a way they want their funds used, whether it be from a bequest in a will, in memory of a loved one, a thank you for care received or an event to mark a particular health concern,” she said.

“People can donate in a way that benefits the community and respects their individual giving. For example, some donate to oncology or paediatrics in memory of a loved one.

“We’re open to any partnerships that reflect the purpose of the Foundation to assist in the provision of health services that result in better health outcomes for our community.”

Claire said she was excited to build on the GV Health Foundation’s rich and successful heritage to create a bright future for health in the Goulburn Valley.

“The Foundation has achieved remarkable outcomes for the community over the last 33 years, but we couldn’t have done it without the support of the very same community we’re helping,” she said.

“We understand the health provision challenges in a growing catchment area that GV Health faces, and we are ready to continue tackling this alongside the community.

“But equally, we believe strong partnerships can go a long way in addressing those needs with the support of the same people we’ll be helping. I look forward to working with the community on the next campaign that will assist in all the work that GV Health does.”

The GV Health Foundation addresses the needs of people in the community by sponsoring events, funding education for staff and purchasing equipment. Those who wish to discuss donating or are interested in making a bequest can contact the GV Health Foundation on 5831 0160 or

A Rich History