Student leaders spread kindness

The IGS students, accompanied by Deputy Principal Wellbeing Mary Duma, were welcomed to the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse by Gail O’Brien.

This week our Year 12 leaders visited the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, an independent, comprehensive cancer centre in Camperdown that provides multidisciplinary and holistic cancer care for patients and their loved ones.

The Centre is named after Professor Chris O’Brien AO, an internationally-renowned head and neck surgeon and director of the Sydney Cancer Centre.

The IGS student leaders came with baskets of Easter eggs, flowers and cards to pass out to staff, patients and their families to spread joy and kindness to people who might be going through a tough time. 

The students, accompanied by Deputy Principal Wellbeing Mary Duma, were welcomed to the centre by Chris’ wife Gail O’Brien, who shared with the students a little about the history and purpose of the centre. 

“We want to thank you, your family and all the staff and volunteers at the Lifehouse for all you do for the community,” said Mrs Duma, addressing Gail. 

“We have a lot of families at our school who have benefited from the services you provide, and we are really hoping we can continue to find ways to support what you do here.”

Gail thanked Ms Duma and the students for their kind words before the students took a tour around the facilities with volunteer Jean-Claude. 

“Visiting Chris O’Brien Lifehouse was an incredible experience that allowed us to connect and bring joy to our local community,” reflected Year 12 Student Leader Lola Merten on the visit. 

“We toured the hospital with members of staff and volunteers who gave us impactful anecdotes and information about the facilities and features of the hospital.

“It was amazing to see all of the wonderful work being done to create an exceptionally positive and supportive environment. As leaders, it was an eye-opening experience of the importance of connecting with the community and creating kindness and hope whenever possible.”

The visit was part of the IGS Connect Program, a whole-school initiative aimed at giving our students an opportunity to learn more about the experiences of others and give back to the community. 

In 2006, Chris O’Brien was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour. He transformed his personal adversity into a national opportunity by using his unique position as both doctor and patient to advocate strongly for a comprehensive cancer centre in NSW, where patients and their carers would no longer have to navigate through all the different elements of dealing with their illness alone. Four years after his tragic death, his vision was realised with the opening of the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse to patients on 19th November 2013.

IGS thanks all the staff, patients and volunteers of the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse for all the important work they do and for welcoming our students into the space.

Congratulations to our students for proudly representing our School and exhibiting maturity, kindness, curiosity and care during the visit.