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CEO Message: Mother's Day 2020

CEO Message: Mother's Day 2020

Two weeks ago, some close friends of mine welcomed their baby grandson into the world—here at Mater. It is an exciting time for my friends and their family, as this little boy is already such a big part of their lives.

What a special Mother’s Day this year will be for this new Mum—and of course a very proud Grandmother too!

It is a story of firsts that will play out in many families this Mother’s Day, as it does each passing year. A time to celebrate a new ‘first time’ Mum, or simply to say thanks to mothers near and far, or perhaps to remember a mother who is no longer with us but whose memory never dims.

Mother’s Day is also a very important day for Mater. It’s who we are, it’s what we mean to families, and it’s a very special responsibility shared by our people as they bring new life into our world.

And while we might touch for a moment on the number of babies born at a Mater hospital—around 33 every day in Queensland—we know very well that each of these little ones is unique and precious to their families, and all who love them.

With so many babies being born at a Mater hospital each day, there are countless stories to tell. I have been privileged to be witness to many of these stories in my 25 years at Mater. They are stories of hope, anxiety, expectation, joy, and sometimes sadness and grief. They are stories of our lives.

One story I want to share with you this Mother’s Day is of Gail Heeley and her son Jonathon. Born in 1992, Jonathon was 12 weeks premature, weighing just 374g. He was the smallest surviving baby to be born in Australia at the time, weighing less than a can of Coke!

Jonathon’s story was well known by the time I joined Mater a few years later. It still spoke loudly to all that could be achieved through dedicated and highly skilled medical care, technology and research, made possible to a large extent by community support generated in the years just prior to Jonathon’s birth. It also spoke of hope, and above all, a mother’s hope that at times defied possibility.

I recall thinking then, as I continue to believe now, that without that generous and timely support, Jonathon’s story may have been very different. So too Gail’s.

Today Jonathon owns a dance school and is a keen choreographer. He’s a young man with a bright future—and has a very proud mum. A mum who truly deserves a special Mother’s Day celebration each year!

Over the years I have been privileged to meet many mums who, like Gail, hold Mater in their story of motherhood. These same mothers who, with their children and their families, frame Mater’s story. A story that so often has its beginnings in the kindness and care that you give.

As always, we have much to celebrate on Mother’s Day.  The mothers and families cared for by Mater.  Those who work so hard to give care especially the mums! And you, who have always held Mater in your care.  We thank you for all you do for mothers and families cared for at Mater. 

And of course, our mothers—and all of the important mothers in our lives.

Yours in gratitude,

Nigel Harris

Mater Foundation CEO

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