Gulgong dancers aid heart and lung surgical research

Lorna Beattie and Lisa Turner of the Baird Institute with Andrew Scholes of the RPA Hospital, fundraiser Pat Johnson and Anita Law of the RPA at Gulgong on Sunday.

Lorna Beattie and Lisa Turner of the Baird Institute with Andrew Scholes of the RPA Hospital, fundraiser Pat Johnson and Anita Law of the RPA at Gulgong on Sunday.

Representatives from the Baird Institute for Applied Heart and Lung Surgical Research and the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) attended the annual Baird Ball at the Gulgong Bowling Club on Sunday to thank fundraiser Pat Johnson for her work on behalf of the institute. 

The Baird Institute promotes and funds research to improve the outcome and quality of life for patients facing heart or lung surgery.    The Institute encourages medical undergraduates, graduates and its own surgeons to undertake research into areas such as aortic diseases, innovative heart surgery, thoracic cancer and mesothelioma. 

Over the past 16 years, Mrs Johnson has raised almost $40,000 by regular raffles, as well as holding old time and New Vogue dances at the Gulgong Bowling Club every month. 

Mrs Johnson began fundraising for the Baird Institute after undergoing heart surgery. 

“I wouldn’t be here without research, so that keep me running dances,” she said. 

Around 50 dancers from as far as Muswellbrook, Wellington, Elong Elong and Dubbo attended Sunday’s Ball, the final event for this year. 

Visitors from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) joined the regulars on the dance floor, learning the steps to the Barn Dance and Carousel to the music of Bob Tanti and Joan Manning. 

Cardiovascular Research Clinical Nurse Consultant (CNC) at RPAH Lisa Turner said the Baird Institute was working with RPAH on research which would minimise the invasiveness of surgery and the time patients spend in surgery. 

Current studies into new techniques to improve survival rates include the use of robotics in coronary artery bypass grafting. 

Funding will also help Baird Institute to run more clinical trials at RPAH. 

“Without you coming to buy raffle tickets and dance, we wouldn’t have the funding to do this,” Ms Turner told the guests. 

“Words cannot describe how proud we are at the Baird Institute of what you do,” she told Mrs Johnson.  “We don’t have any other fundraiser like Pat working for the Baird Institute.” 

Fundraising dances for the Baird Institute will resume next year.  Watch the Community Diary in the Mudgee Guardian for details. 

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