New lease on life
ONCE the ink dries on the final paperwork, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of WA (MSWA) will be ready to start construction at the former Shenton Park rehabilitation hospital.
The State Government released proposed redevelopment plans for the 15.8ha site last Tuesday, which included a 1100 to 1600-dwelling residential ‘urban village’ development and two portions of land leased to the MSWA and Leukaemia Foundation of WA for new patient accom- modation facilities.
MSWA chief executive Marcus Stafford said the $2 million needed to build a high- support accommodation facility for people with MS and other neurological conditions had already been raised.
“As soon as we are given the green light, the next day you should watch this space because we will be out here clearing the land,” Mr Stafford said.
“Many people with disabilities live in both isolation and fear.
“This will change their lives more than able-bodied people could ever understand. By moving to a facility of this nature, they are going to enjoy the most wonderful quality of life and still have that ongoing social interaction that is so important for us all.”
Leukaemia Foundation of WA general manager Andrew York said a 20 to 25-apartment complex called the Village of Hope would be built for families coming to Perth for blood cancer treatment.
“The facility will not only give families a free ‘home away from home’ to relieve financial pressure and stress, but it will also provide them with an opportunity to safely interact with others facing similar situations,” Mr York said.
“With the central location in Shenton Park, transport to Perth metropolitan hospitals will be simplified and patients will have ease of access to the range of services provided by the dedicated team of blood cancer support staff located onsite.”
Mr York said the Foundation would begin a capital campaign to raise funds in “the coming months”.
THERE are certain encounters in life that stop you in your tracks. When you walk away, the world looks a little different – not worse, not better – but somehow your perspective has shifted. Following our photoshoot at the former Shenton Park rehabilitation hospital last week, the security guard made a point to shake each of our hands. Making chitchat, he asked what was planned for the site. I explained it would be mostly residential, but we were here with the Multiple Sclerosis Society and Leukaemia Foundation WA for an article on their allotted land. “Cancer, did you say?” he said, his eyes filling with emotion. After 50 years of marriage, his wife had just passed away from cancer at age 67. “Our honeymoon never ended,” he told us. If you need a reminder of just how important these new accommodation services will be – please think of the man who greeted us at the gate with a broad smile, all the while quietly mourning his soulmate.
MSWA chief executive Marcus Stafford with Leukaemia Foundation marketing and communications manager Chara Faux.