Club Meeting Wednesday 6th June 2018 ROMAC



On this very, very frosty morning our club members were greeted by Sossi and Tony with a warm coffee. What a wonderful way to start on our weekly meeting. Geoff Gledhill was our chairperson and welcomed our Guest Speaker Norm Casey and once again Margaret Lucas, Martin Uttbridge and Matt Donovan from FOOD FOR CHANGE. Grant took us to North Dakota, USA. North Dakota is in the area known as the Great Plains. It is bordered by Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south, Montana to the west and Canada to the north. It is the 19th largest state in area, the fourth smallest by population and fourth most sparsely populated of the 50 states of USA. The Lousiaina Territory was controlled by France from 1682 to 1762 and was ceded to Spain in 1762 to 1802 and was then receded to France in 1803. Napoleon sold the territory to the United States in 1803 to fund his war efforts. The Capital is Bismarck and the largest city is Fargo. North Dakota which had been part of the Louisiana Territory was admitted as the 39th state to the Union on November 2, 1889. Grant asked us to raise our glasses to toast President Woodrow Poland and the members of the Rotary Club of The Rotary Club of Dickinson, North Dakota, USA, District 5580. The club was chartered 1st February 1921 and has 72 members who meet at the Ramada Grand Dakota Lodge Tuesday at 7.30 pm. The photo of the club members depicted a third grade receiving a dictionary as is the custom of this club to do each year.   Thank you once again Grant for going to so much effort to introduce us to yet another country. Pres. Peter presented Linda O’B with an extra blue sapphire and held one for Paul Fergusson to honour their donations to the Centurion Club. Pres Peter invited Jo to the rostrum to present Matt Donovan with a cheque donation towards his amazing charity Food for Change. He reminded us (as he did come to the club to present his innovative ideas last year) that Food for Change was founded in 2016. The mission was to grow fresh produce to be given directly to people who never have this opportunity. 22,000 meals were prepared in one year with the aim of being on track for 44,000 in the coming year. The produce is donated to charities such as Kingston City Church, BayCISS, Rowville Community Kitchen and Second Bite. Matt and his team are now looking for more areas to grow more food in Dandenong and to encourage schools to grow fresh vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, beetroot and silver beet. When asked, he explained that gardens are fertilized with organic compost. He was delighted with our donation. PP Norm Casey was our Guest Speaker and is President of the Rotary Club of Montrose and District (2017-18) with 25 years of service and has been a member of the ROMAC (Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children) team for the past 6 years. He was pleased to come to our club and was accustomed to breakfast meetings when he was a member of RC Doncaster Sunrise. He informed us that ROMAC is totally run by volunteers which means that all $s raised goes to children who need surgery. The objectives of ROMAC are to: Give hope and dignity to transform a child’s life: Provide the best possible surgical and medical expertise: Engage Rotary and the community at all levels to fund and support surgery for children: Maintain and improve the quality of the management process and ensure high quality government of the ROMAC program. ROMAC provides surgery that is not available in the children’s own country and mainly come to Australia from Papua New Guinea to be treated for cancers, tumours serious injuries and deformities. Monash Medical Centre and the Royal Children’s Hospital are the two hospitals who receive these children. The challenges are many and varied as host families and hospital beds need to be found. The lack of beds and insufficient funds are huge and Australian children who need surgery always have first preference. The project began in 1988 and since then 470 children have been treated. Another challenge is poor communication with remote villages. Prior to acceptance for ROMAC the patient is assessed whether the condition is treatable and the likelihood of a successful outcome. We in Australia have the best medical opportunities in the world, with the waiting list of approximately 30! ROMAC usually treats children from birth to 17 years. Norm gave us examples of the kind of issues the medical team faces. He told us about a boy who had Crouzon’s syndrome where the child is born with a fused skull. The skull needed to be enlarged to allow the brain to grow. The treatment started at 16 months and continued until the boy was 17 years old. The face had pulled forward and the eye bulged out of the socket because there was no room for it. The boy regained his face and was able to realize his dream of meeting “Melbourne Storm”. He talked of a 2 year old whose stomach tumour weighed 3kgs!  When an Australian baby is born with the need of open heart surgery it is done immediately but children from Timor have to wait to have heart operations and this can lead to further heart diseases. Norm told yet another story of a child that was accompanied by his father (the bread winner) as the mother was pregnant and could not travel. The child had a chest tumour the size of a cantaloupe and the blood could not circulate. He was treated at RCH. Host parents looked after the family. John and Margaret host families and children who come to Australia for life giving and restoring of dignity of life.  This help is the best facility as no children should suffer pain and isolation. The surgeons who perform surgical procedures and often ground breaking procedures do all this voluntarily with no charge. ROMAC is the best publicity for Rotary because the work is often reported by the newspaper and media. It encourages community involvement and provides good value for the monies donated. In closing, Linda presented a cheque raised by the 3 club market stalls together from our funds. Norm thanked us and said that if all clubs did what BMC does, more children could be helped. Rotary is the main source of funding. Thank you Norm for you inspiring presentation and for coming on such a very cold 5 degree morning to share your valuable information.  This once again another valuable example of ROTARY : MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Zilla (Bulletin Reporter)

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