This Christmas, give the gift of time to patients like Wes

13 Dec 2023

This Christmas, Queenslanders are being urged to donate to Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) and Surgical, Treatment and Rehabilitation Service (STARS) patients by supporting the RBWH Foundation Gift of Time appeal.

All donations support innovative patient care projects and life-saving research, such as new prosthetic leg technology which has helped Noosa local, Wes Raddysh, regain his mobility and secure a dream job.

Watch Wes on Nine News explaining how his lost his left leg in a horrific motorcycle accident in December 2022 on the way to a job interview.

“Since that day, when I nearly died, every day is a gift,” said Wes, “but without the donations to get new casting equipment for RBWH, I wouldn’t be walking around as well or as far as I am now.”

Three months ago, Wes became one of the first patients to trial new RBWH hydrostatic pressure technology, the Symphonie Aqua System.

Every year, RBWH manufactures below-the-knee prostheses for about 100 patients who can travel from around Queensland, Northern New South Wales and the Northern Territory.

RBWH Director of Orthotics and Prosthetics Jessica Angus said RBWH was the only public hospital in Australia with access to the expensive technology, thanks to an RBWH Foundation grant.

“Traditional hand casting techniques are performed with the patient in a seated position,” said Ms Angus. “The main limitation is that the soft tissue changes shape under load and this is difficult to replicate.”

During hydrostatic pressure casting, a standing patient rests their affected leg on a silicone membrane, inserted into a cylinder filled with water. Hydrostatic (water) pressure is then applied to the limb while in full weight bearing, allowing sensitive areas, bony structures, pressure and pain points to be identified (Wes, pictured below with RBWH Prosthetist/ Orthotist Andrew MacDonald (left) and RBWH Physiotherapist Peter Bryant (right).

“The process removes the possibility of error, allows us to fabricate the prosthetic quicker and considerably reduce the number of appointments required,” said Ms Angus.

“To give a patient, who otherwise might have used a wheelchair for mobility, the opportunity to walk is extremely rewarding.”

This Christmas, RBWH Foundation CEO Simone Garske is urging the public to support patient care innovation, like this, by donating to the Gift of Time appeal.

“Donations provide the Gift of Time for research, innovation and patient care initiatives that fall outside Government funding, and help Queensland’s largest hospital and other prestigious Herston institutes and centres go above and beyond for patients.

“Even the smallest donation has the power to make a massive difference to people’s lives.”

Wes Raddysh (pictured below right with wife Libby) had almost given up on regaining full mobility and independence because of the pain caused by his previous prosthetic leg. Despite years of training for running and cycling marathons, walking more than 200 metres had become his toughest challenge.

Just weeks after undergoing hydrostatic pressure casting, Wes was walking eight hours a day and recently hiked seven kilometres.

“My new prosthetic arrived and as soon as I put it on, it was like a Eureka moment,” said Wes, “It just fit and I was able to walk straight away.

“Ten and a half months after missing that job interview, I made it to a new interview and got the job as a skipper on the iconic Noosa Ferry.

“Owner David (pictured below, left) has been incredibly helpful, getting me out on the water again to my happy place.”

This Christmas, help the RBWH Foundation give patients like Wes, the Gift of Time.