Wishlist House eases burden for Cooloola Coast Residents

For Vicki Cunningham and her family from Gympie, this support came in the form of Wishlist House, a remarkable initiative that has become a lifeline for regional families in need.

5 min read | March 21, 2024 – 7.00am

In the realm of healthcare challenges, a glimmer of support can be a lifeline for families facing medical stress. For Vicki Cunningham and her family from Gympie, this support manifested through Wishlist House, an initiative that has become a vital resource for regional families in need. Their journey intertwines with AUSMAR’s commitment to the community through the transformative project, “The House The Coast Built.”

Vicki Cunningham, a mother of three, found herself grappling with the prospect of her two daughters, Sophie (aged six) and Felicity (aged 13), undergoing significant Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) procedures, including adenoid and tonsil removal. Sophie’s struggle with sleep apnea, a condition causing her to fall asleep at school and experience breathing interruptions during sleep, made surgery a necessity for her well-being.

Compounding the challenge was the fact that both surgeries were scheduled for the same day. For this Gympie family, the Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH) was the designated healthcare provider, demanding a lengthy 200km round-trip journey.

“We were told about the surgeries the week before, so it was really stressful to think about the travel and having to be at the hospital so early. We planned to stay at Wishlist’s unit complex Reed House at Nambour and were very lucky when they rang and said Wishlist House was open,” shared Vicki Cunningham.

AUSMAR built Wishlist House in 2020 – a haven for patients undergoing treatment at Sunshine Coast University Hospital

Wishlist House, a six-bedroom haven within walking distance of SCUH, became their refuge during this challenging period. Vicki expressed her gratitude, saying, “I was so thankful to be so close to the hospital. We arrived the day before and checked in. The girls’ nanna (Vicki’s mum) came with us to help as carer, and when we walked in – the house was so lovely.”

Wishlist House transcends being just accommodation; it’s a space of hope and community spirit. Plaques on the wall narrate heart warming stories of how this house came into existence. For the Cunninghams, stepping into this brand-new space allowed them to momentarily forget the surgeries scheduled for the next day.

This invaluable resource will undoubtedly serve as a beacon of hope for other Gympie and Cooloola Coast residents facing similar situations as they travel to SCUH for their child’s surgery or to care for a seriously ill loved one.

The Cunningham family had the privilege of staying in Wishlist House for two nights before the surgeries and another night for recovery. Vicki Cunningham remarked, “It’s quite traumatic preparing for your children to go under anaesthesia and knowing it will take a few days to recover.”

AUSMAR built Wishlist House – a community funded home aimed to give support back to our medical services on the Sunshine Coast

Regrettably, Vicki’s youngest child had to postpone her surgery due to unforeseen circumstances. Yet, this is the reality of healthcare journeys; sometimes, the path takes unexpected turns. However, Wishlist House remains a steadfast support for families like the Cunninghams.

Vicki Cunningham, currently pursuing studies to support those in aged care, recognises the immense value of Wishlist House for regional and remote families who have no choice but to embark on long journeys for healthcare.

As we celebrate the vital role played by Wishlist House in the lives of families like the Cunningham’s, it is also an opportune moment to acknowledge the admirable commitment of AUSMAR through their “The House The Coast Built” project. This initiative reflects AUSMAR’s dedication to enhancing the well-being of their community by providing essential resources and support to those in need.

In Vicki Cunningham’s own words, Wishlist House is a blessing that touches the lives of countless families, and AUSMAR’s contribution through “The House The Coast Built” project is a shining example of corporate responsibility that truly makes a difference. With every brick laid and every support service provided, AUSMAR is helping to build a stronger, more compassionate community. Together, we can make a positive impact, one house at a time.



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