Carmel Garonzi was a patient at St Vincent’s Private Hospital in Fitzroy for 20 years, following her diagnosis in 2001 of atypical Meningiomas, a recurring form of brain tumour.
Her diagnosis came as a shock to both herself and her family as she had previously always been very healthy. She required immediate surgery following her initial diagnosis in 2001, and returned for more surgery in 2004 and again in 2005 when her tumours regrew.
The fourth time she came to stay at St Vincent’s in 2011, Carmel practically became a permanent resident. She underwent 13 procedures and with the exception of a few weekends at home, she spent a total of a year and a half in the hospital.
Three of Carmel’s four daughters live in Melbourne. Her husband Frank and her three girls remained completely committed to Carmel throughout her lengthy hospital stay. They would bring her in breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. “It was a big part of our lives to be at St Vincent’s with mum. She deserved to be surrounded by family as much as possible.” Tiffany said.
Tiffany also recalls how her mum would make a point of getting to know all the nursing staff. “Mum was such a people person. She would introduce us to the nurses each time we’d visit and give us their life stories. She loved the interaction with them all.”
Tiffany remembers her mother as the most beautiful, caring woman who always thought of others. “She was such an amazing mum, friend and grandmother. We all miss her very much”.
When Carmel passed away in August 2021, her family knew they wanted to honour their beloved wife, mother and nonna, but also to do something that would benefit St Vincent’s Hospital as well.
“It was important to us to thank all the wonderful nurses who cared for mum over the last twenty years. We are especially grateful to Mum’s neurosurgeon Associate Professor Michael Murphy and his team. We decided to create a fundraising page on the St Vincent’s Foundation website to show our thanks to them all,” Tiffany said.
All proceeds raised from the foundation page will go towards the purchase of neurosurgery equipment that will be named in Carmel’s honour. The money will assist in improving the care provided to over 300 people who undergo brain surgery at St Vincent’s Private Hospital every year.
Through reaching out to family and friends, personal donations and even a run in the Melbourne Marathon, so far, the family have raised over $14,000.
You can set up your own fundraising page to support St Vincent's Hospitals https://www.stvfoundation.org.au/fundraise