Janette Harris answers Westmead Hospital call for children's underwear and socks

Janette Harris with some of the underwear and socks already donated or purchased to go to Westmead Hospital. Picture: Jennette Lees

Janette Harris with some of the underwear and socks already donated or purchased to go to Westmead Hospital. Picture: Jennette Lees

Cootamundra’s Janette Harris is collecting children’s underwear and socks to donate to Westmead Hospital, where 25 years ago her twin granddaughters Katie and Brooke were sent after being born 24 weeks early. 

They spent 182 days in the hospital and today Brooke is about to get married and Katie lives a happy and fulfilled life. 

Mrs Harris credits the amazing work of the doctors two and a half decades ago with the lives of her grandchildren. 

They were born in Wagga but quickly airlifted via Careflight to Westmead. 

It was through the intervention of the late Alby Schultz, former politician, that the girls were kept in the same hospital. 

When the family was told there were no beds in Sydney and the girls would be separated, Mr Schultz stepped in to ensure they remained together and their loving family could be by both of their sides. 

Mrs Harris recalls the girls would fit into the palm of an adult hand. 

“It is just amazing what those doctors were able to do with these tiny babies,” Mrs Harris said. 

They performed heart surgery on the girls at three days old giving them a chance in life. 

​Once the girls were allowed home they would have to return to the hospital for regular check-ups. 

“No-one was just a number; they were so beautiful to everyone,” Mrs Harris said. 

“I have never forgotten what they did and I never will,” she continued. 

Over the years she has donated to both Westmead and Careflight and when she saw a recent post on Facebook about a need for children’s underwear and socks she was inspired to help.

“I felt like this was my opportunity to do something for them,” Mrs Harris said. 

Underwear and socks are needed by the hospital when they care for children who must stay longer than anticipated. 

Mrs Harris has put the word out to her circle of family and friends to donate to the cause and will accept donations until the end of March. 

Any size of child’s underwear and socks will be accepted, with Mrs Harris indicating the hospital can also make use of adult’s size underwear. 

People have also been donating cash which Mrs Harris used to purchase underwear and socks to add to her growing bundle. 

To donate please contact Mrs Harris or leave at her home at 5 Parker Street. 

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