Power to make a difference remains in your hands | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Power to make a difference remains in your hands

5 Sep 2022

In a year where Queenslanders have faced flood, pandemic and cost-of-living pressures, this year’s University of the Sunshine Coast Giving Day (September 7) has a simple theme – ‘Make life better’.

The annual fund-raising event will focus on three causes: establishing a new turtle rehabilitation centre on the Fraser Coast, helping sufferers of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and assisting those experiencing financial difficulties.

UniSC marine biologist Dr Kathy Townsend said Giving Day was a reminder that – no matter the challenges faced – we retained the power to make a difference within our immediate sphere.

“As extreme as 2022 has been for many of us humans, the current amount of sea grass to sustain Fraser Coast turtles is just one per cent of pre-flood levels,” Dr Townsend said.

“We are really starting to see the impact. We had 200 turtles stranded in six months in 2022 and usually we would only see 15 sea turtles over the same period.

“The situation is only predicted to get worse because these are the months turtles should have been fattening up and the fear is we are going to see a lot more strandings and deaths later this year.

“For every turtle that needs rehabilitation on the Fraser Coast, it currently requires a journey of three-and-a-half hours by car to the nearest facility.

“The probability of turtles surviving is currently much less than if they could be treated immediately.”

In addition to helping fund a facility for local marine life, donors have the opportunity to help the UniSC Thompson Institute find better treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Thompson Institute researcher Cyrana Gallay said those frontline responders who had been our heroes in recent times had heightened chances of developing PTSD. Across Australia, an estimated 1.4 million people are living with PTSD.

“I’ve dedicated my work to alleviating the suffering of people with mental health disorders, and I believe neuroscientific research is the key,” Ms Gallay said.

“To better help people with PTSD, we need to understand more about the brain chemistry that underpins the condition.

“I’m passionate about finding treatments for PTSD that are low-cost, effective and with minimal side effects – we need to make treatment easy for people who have already gone through enough.”

As in past years, Giving Day will also see donations directed to those among the current and future university cohort struggling to keep their heads above water financially.

“Raising a child, working and studying is always a challenge,” past bursary recipient and UniSC Psychology Honours student Emma Brown said.

“Being the sole income earner for my household, I’m constantly balancing the financial pressure to bring in as much money as I can while achieving the best outcomes I can in my degree.

“I always wanted more from my uni experience than doing the bare minimum and just passing through.”

To make a decision which area you will donate to this Giving Day, view a summary of each cause. Donations to Giving Day will be matched by several generous organisations, doubling their impact.

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