Help us support urgent and critical dental care for the vulnerable today.
Our Hope, Healing and Humanity Fund at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney ensures that everyone who walks through the doors of St Vincent’s Hospital, will be treated with the same care and compassion. Regardless of wealth, nationality or religion. Our recent Christmas Appeal focused on supporting critical dental care for the vulnerable – you can still support this important service today.
Find out how your support helps our community with Andrew’s story.
Andrew grew up in a country town and moved to Sydney in 1997 shortly after his mother died and he became estranged from his father.
He was only 18 when he moved to Sydney, and didn’t know much about the world. He ran out of money and slept in Hyde Park. He came to Kings Cross for a free meal and that’s where he discovered heroin, which numbed Andrew to his grief over his mother.
He was diagnosed with HIV at the end of 1997 and by the mid-2000’s he had developed cerebral tuberculosis meningitis and had had a minor stroke. Andrew was 28 years old, in palliative care at Sacred Heart, and felt his whole world was falling apart. However, St Vincent’s helped him put his life back together.
Andrew recovered thanks to Professor Bruce Brew AM (Senior Neurologist and Director of Neurosciences at St Vincent’s Hospital) as well as the St Vincent’s Hospital palliative care team. He believes they saved his life and helped to change it as they also helped Andrew re-connect with his estranged father. St Vincent’s was there when Andrew needed them the most.
Although Andrew had recovered, his teeth became progressively worse. He remained as an outpatient, and would send Andrew over to Dr Peter Foltyn (St Vincent’s Hospital Dental Department) to address his teeth problems which gave him pain all the time. Andrew had no money to fix his teeth.
After a while, Dr Foltyn advised Andrew remove all of his teeth. It was overwhelming for Andrew but again, the St Vincent’s staff were there to reassure him up up to the day of the surgery that it was going to be ok.
Andrew now feels a lot more confident talking in public, where he has a job going to schools to talk to students about homelessness and being HIV positive. He has reconciled with his father, and has somewhere to live and regularly attend church. He recently went out for lunch where he enjoyed a steak for the first time in years, as he previously only had mince or soft foods.
Andrew’s new teeth have given him a new found confidence, and he is no longer in pain, and no longer self medicating. He is grateful to Dr Foltyn and all the staff at St Vincent’s:
“I could only have my teeth fixed due to the support of the St Vincent’s Healing Hope and Humanity Fund, which enabled St Vincent’s to operate on me and to provide ongoing care. If you can give to the fund, please do. It means that people who have had serious medical illnesses and then require urgent and critical dental treatment can be treated. As I am sure you are too, I am really looking forward to enjoying Christmas lunch with loved ones“.
Our Hope, Healing and Humanity Fund at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney ensures that everyone who walks through the doors of St Vincent’s Hospital, will be treated with the same care and compassion. Regardless of wealth, nationality or religion.
With your help, Dr Peter Foltyn, St Vincent’s Hospital Dental Department, can continue the Hospital dental service’s for marginalised patients like Andrew, many of whom are experiencing homelessness or have mental health issues.
Dr Foltyn says:
“I have been so thrilled to see Andrew’s life turn around thanks to the support of St Vincent’s Healing Hope and Humanity Fund, which enables us to care for patients who have nowhere else to turn in their time of need. There is no direct government funding for this essential Dental Service, and it relies solely on generous donors like you.”
You can still make a donation to our Christmas Tax Appeal today and help transform the lives of people like Andrew.
Thank you for helping us support those who need it the most.Donate now