SOME walked, others ran; one even pedalled a unicycle.
But yesterday’s Casella Wines-Visy City to Lake fun run was more about the destination than the journey.
- PICTURES: City to Lake fun run
With each step, the 1000-plus participants helped Griffith take a symbolic step closer to realising a decades-long dream of its own private hospital.
In an extraordinary show of community purpose, business houses and ordinary residents helped raise more than $40,000 for the St Vincent’s Community Private Hospital on the day.
Among the throng of walkers was 84-year-old Bob Harris, who completed the 9.84km course in less than two hours and raised close to $800.
“It’s a great cause but I wouldn’t have been able to walk much further,” an exhausted but elated Mr Harris said.
The fun run started at Animoo Avenue – the site of the soon-to-be-built private hospital – and finished at the Lake Wyangan picnic area.
Chairwoman of the community hospital fundraising committee Cr Anne Napoli said she was “stunned” at the overwhelming support towards the event and the hospital.
“This sends a clear message to St Vincent’s that the community wants this facility and they want it to happen now,” Cr Napoli said.
“The community has pledged to raise $1 million and with this sort of spirit, we will do it.”
She rejected claims the private hospital would be only for the wealthy, saying it would free up beds at Griffith Base Hospital and attract much-needed specialists to the city.
Hundreds of residents joined the fun run from surrounding towns to show the far-reaching benefit the hospital would have.
“We use Griffith Base Hospital at times and another medical facility like this will benefit the whole region,” Leeton’s Peter Stoneman said.
At a reception following the fun run, mayor John Dal Broi praised participants for supporting an “exceptional” cause.
“You have all walked for an exceptional reason, to help fund this new hospital,” Cr Dal Broi said.
“There is a perception in the community that this is just a private hospital when in fact it’s a fantastic community hospital.
“Thanks for contributing funds to this wonderful facility and let’s continue doing it.”
The fun run brings the community’s fundraising tally to more than $350,000.
The design phase of the hospital is set to start this month, with construction expected to begin in November.