7 AugMaggie the magical musician & marvellous trustee

Maggie is a member of our Board of Trustees and has been involved with Butterfly Children’s Hospice since 2010, when she spent several months volunteering in Changsha. She has over 16 years of experience in paediatric healthcare and is the Clinical Leader of Allied Health Oncology Services and Clinical Leader of Music Therapy Department at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital (LCCH), Queensland, Australia. Maggie leads a team of allied health professionals to provide holistic multi-disciplinary care to children with cancer and their families in addressing psychosocial, developmental and physical needs.

Maggie is passionate in collaborating with organizations, communities, families, staff and volunteers to maximising children’s quality of life regardless of their health conditions and needs.

Whilst completing her Master of Business Administration (MBA) in 2014, Maggie was recognised for her community efforts through the University of Queensland MBA Service to Community Award. Maggie has published in a number of journals to demonstrate the benefits of music therapy and regularly presents for national and international conferences on the topic of music therapy for children and creative use of therapy in paediatric healthcare.

The following information has been taken directly from a magazine article in The University of Queensland about why she chose to get involved with Butterfly Children’s Hospice. You can read the full story here.

“I believe every child, regardless of illness and family circumstances, deserves to die with dignity and love,” said Maggie, who grew up in Hong Kong. “But, sadly, there is no paediatric palliative care service for children and their families in China. When doctors say to parents that they can’t do anything more for their dying child, parents would often have to take their child home and watch them suffer, or abandon them to a local orphanage.”

“Compare this to what we have in Australia, which is a very supportive palliative care service. In Queensland, we have a dedicated statewide service that works across the public and private systems. It provides symptoms-management care, equipment to support home care, counselling and bereavement services, and a range of allied health services that include music therapy.”

Maggie travels to China regularly and returned to Changsha in February this year, where she met with all Butterfly Children’s Hospices board trustees from around the world to discuss a strategic plan for the next three years. She believes that for China to develop paediatric palliative care services, attitudes need to change.

“It’s a huge challenge and one that will involve developing resources, educating and training local health professionals, and most importantly, changing cultural perspectives of palliative care,” she said.

“In China, having someone die in your house brings bad luck and shame on the family. Most people can’t afford to pay for their children to go into hospital and even if they could, the doctors don’t know how to best manage a child’s death.

“Many parents abandon critically ill children despite the fact that they could be put in jail if they get caught, so they tend to leave them in places they can’t easily be found. The children don’t stand much of a chance.”

We are so thankful to have such wonderful, dynamic and enthusiastic people, like Maggie on our Board of Trustees. For more information about becoming a trustee, contact info@butterflyhospice.org or click this link.

You can read Maggie’s full story here. [Photographs & text provided by Michael Jones, editor of The University of Queensland’s (Australia) alumni magazine, Contact.]

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