Jun, 2024

From a Refugee Camp to CBus Super Stadium

On the Gold Coast, it can be easy to take our World Class public hospital service for granted, until you hear a story like 15-year-old Abdul’s and it stops you in your tracks.


Suffering from Thalassaemia, a complex blood disorder, Abdul and his family escaped from Afghanistan to a refugee camp in Pakistan, seeking a safer place to live and access to better healthcare to support Abdul’s condition. When most people land in Australia, they like to visit the Opera House or the Great Barrier Reef but when Abdul’s family arrived, they rushed to the Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH) Emergency Department, where the medical team immediately admitted Abdul to the Children’s Ward.

Over the past year, Michelle Noyes, a Nurse Practitioner specialising in Haematology and Oncology, has been pivotal in ensuring Abdul’s comprehensive care. She coordinates his treatment and appointments with subspecialty teams, including cardiology and endocrinology, striving to keep Abdul as healthy and comfortable as possible. During one of his monthly blood transfusions, Abdul shared his love for rugby league and the Gold Coast Titans with Michelle.

“I thought it would be wonderful if we could create an opportunity for Abdul to go to a game with his older brothers. They have been through a lot since they moved from Afghanistan, and they spent time in a refugee camp in Pakistan, so I wanted to bring a little joy to their family.” Said Michelle.

Knowing about the partnership between the Gold Coast Hospital Foundation (GCHF) and The Lottery Office (Australia’s leading provider of international lotteries and the Gold Coast Titans’ principal sponsor), Michelle reached out to the GCHF on a whim. The Lottery Office and the Titans responded with an incredible surprise for Abdul: an Inner Sanctum experience, including a private tour of Cbus Stadium, four tickets to watch the Titans play against the Rabbitohs, and an official Junior Titans Jersey.

Abdul and his brothers were thrilled about attending a game, although Abdul admits he had no idea what to expect. They are extremely grateful to everyone for banding together to make it happen. A loyal Gold Coast Titans fan, Abdul eagerly anticipated seeing his team live and attending a sports game for the first time in his life.

Michelle reflects on Abdul’s journey and the significance of this experience. “Even though we can keep Abdul well with medication, regular blood transfusions, and nightly self-administered subcutaneous infusions, the only cure for his condition is a bone marrow transplant. Abdul goes through a lot, so it has been wonderful to do something nice for him.”

She continues, “Abdul and his family are such an unassuming family, they are very respectful and grateful for everything we do for them. We are mindful of the journey they have been on to just get to Australia, so it brings me a lot of joy to assist in giving them this opportunity through working with GCHF, The Lottery Office and the Titans. I think it’s a privilege that we can work together as a team to make that happen for Abdul and his family.”

The GCHF would like to thank The Lottery Office and the Gold Coast Titans for gifting Abdul and his family such a wonderful experience. We would also like to thank, Michelle, who has been a generous supporter of the Foundation throughout her time at Gold Coast Health. This is just one of many examples of her dedication to her patients and her community.

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