New lease on life

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By ROSANNA CAN­DLER

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.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d448987

MSWA chief ex­ec­u­tive Mar­cus Stafford with Leukaemia Foun­da­tion mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Chara Faux.

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