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Paediatric nurse Grace Fearon has inspired hope for patients at the Queensland Children's Hospital by using her host of skills – including her hairdressing accreditation – to bring comfort to families in care.
Among these patients is 16-year-old Isabelle, who nominated Grace for the Juiced TV Super Hero Awards, proudly sponsored by the QSuper team at Australian Retirement Trust.
The Super Hero Awards Program shines a light on medical and support staff – the doctors, nurses, volunteers and others – who selflessly dedicate themselves to the wellbeing of others.
Australian Retirement Trust was created through the merger of QSuper and Sunsuper to become one of Australia's largest super funds taking care of over $240 billion in retirement savings for more than 2.2 million members.
Recognised for her nurturing nature and outgoing attitude, Grace wouldn’t have dreamed of a career in healthcare when she was starting her hairdressing accreditation at Isabelle's age.
But now caring for young patients with a range of conditions, including those with terminal illnesses, severe injuries, and long-term health problems, Grace's previous profession has proven an invaluable skill in the hospital wards.
"Many of [my patients] don’t get the chance to see a hairdresser while admitted with us, so it has a huge impact on families when you can give their child's hair a trim or braid as a comforting distraction," said Grace.
"It's something I've always been able to do for my patients, to the point where they'll seek me out in the wards."
A recipient of Grace's famous braids, Isabelle is one of many children at the Queensland Children's Hospital who have learnt the importance of conscious self-care through these hairstyling sessions.
"Having Grace, who Isabelle could relate to, was a godsend and a lifeline for her to pick herself up," Isabelle’s mother, Svenska, said.
"Respect was earned and given between them, and this was so important for Isabelle to continue on her journey to recovery."
With the help of Grace's support and genuine care, Isabelle has a bright future ahead of her with ambitions to advocate and help other children going through similar situations.
Isabelle is already working as a Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) junior gymnastics coach and mental health coordinator at Borderline, a camp program for teenagers, which is a testament to her determined spirit.
As Isabelle embarks on the next chapter of her life, Grace and the rest of the ward continue to cheer her on and celebrate her resilience.
When Grace learned she had been nominated by Isabelle for the Juiced TV Super Hero Awards, she was incredibly touched.
"I had no idea. I feel so grateful for this award, it’s not just about me, but about all those who've been working in the wards during these particularly difficult years," said Grace.
"When you watch patients like Isabelle grow up, it’s an honour to be a part of their journey and see the impact you have had.
"I'm very thankful to Australian Retirement Trust for putting this on for healthcare workers. I think a lot of my colleagues and patients will be so happy to celebrate this with me.
"As one of Australia's largest super funds, Australian Retirement Trust is proud to help celebrate healthcare practitioners like Grace who change the lives of young patients," Australian Retirement Trust CEO Bernard Reilly said.
For more information visit qsuper.qld.gov.au or www.juicedtv.com.au
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