Josie the crane named after local cancer fundraiser

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Hospitals, Melbourne

Josie the crane named after local cancer fundraiser

04 February 2020

A crane working on stage 2 of the Northern Hospital’s expansion has been named after a tireless cancer fundraiser.

Over the last 20 years, Epping resident, Josie Minniti OAM, has helped raise over $700,000 for the Northern Hospital’s oncology unit. The unit, in Epping, cares for people who are receiving chemotherapy and other treatments for cancer.

Mrs Minniti said, ‘We have a lot of cancer in the family. When you have 12 people in one year pass away from that terrible disease – you know you have to do something.’

The money raised by Mrs Minniti has been used to purchase equipment to aid patients’ comfort. Mrs Minniti said, ‘If we can make people comfortable while they are undergoing [treatment for] this terrible disease, then we have achieved a lot.’

To celebrate her efforts, the former kindergarten teacher has been recognised – with a crane named after her. “Josie” the building crane is currently busy helping to deliver stage 2 of the Northern Hospital’s expansion. It is a 'great honour’, said Mrs Minniti. ‘But that crane isn’t just for Josie. It’s for the community as well.’

Stage 2 of the Northern Hospital’s expansion

The north of Melbourne is growing – fast. To meet demand, the Northern Hospital is undergoing a major rebuilding and refurbishment project.

The Victorian Government has committed $162.7 million to expand and enhance facilities, ensuring the people of Melbourne’s north receive the quality healthcare they need.

When complete, the $162.7 million expansion to the Northern Hospital will deliver four new floors on the inpatient tower, 96 inpatient beds and three new operating theatres. It will also provide new recovery spaces and a new central sterilising supply department.

Learn more about the Northern Hospital expansion via our dedicated project page.

Video transcript

IMAGES: The exterior of the Northern Hospital is shown. Two women walk down a hospital corridor and into a room where a woman is receiving chemotherapy. She is wearing a cold cap on her head to cool her scalp.

Josie Minniti: We have a lot of family history with cancer. I've got uncles, aunties, nephews, nieces. My husband also has it, and my brother-in-law just passed away with cancer. When you have twelve people in one year pass away from that terrible disease you know you have to do something. And that's what started the motion going.

IMAGES: Josie sits down at a hairdresser’s. A man shows Josie her hair in a mirror. A caption appears stating that Josie and her husband Rino have raised over $700,000 for Northern Hospital. Cut to Melissa Gwynne sitting at a table in a meeting room.

Melissa Gwynne, Oncology Nurse Unit Manager: Josie Minniti is the most caring, passionate person I know in regards to her fundraising. Just really passionate about what she does.

IMAGES: Josie and Melissa walk down a hospital corridor together.

Josie: If we can make a person comfortable while they are undergoing this horrible disease, then we've achieved a lot.

IMAGES: Josie and Melissa chat to the woman receiving chemotherapy.

Melissa: And I think she just really wants for the northern community to be treated in their own area. To be comfortable and treated safely.

IMAGES: A plaque reads ‘Kindly donated by Josie Minniti and Family and Friends, July 2016.’

Melissa: So the day oncology unit mainly caters for cancer patients who require chemotherapy treatment. On average per day we treat probably around 30 to 35 patients. What drives Josie is her connection with cancer.

IMAGES: Josie and Melissa and the woman receiving chemotherapy are laughing and chatting together.

Josie: My brother-in-law was one of the patients here. His dying breath was about the amazing work that this hospital has done for him.

IMAGES: A caption reads ‘The funds are used to buy equipment to make patients more comfortable during treatment’. Josie and Melissa are shown cutting the packaging off a new piece of equipment.

Josie: I think the scalp cooling machine just gives women dignity. I know a lot of my friends have lost their hair.

IMAGES: A plaque reads ‘Kindly donated by Josie Minniti and Family and Friends, July 2017’. Josie and Melissa are shown speaking to the woman in the chemotherapy chair.

Josie: Who would have thought that you'd get to keep your hair with a piece of machinery?

IMAGES: The woman in the chemotherapy chair is seen explaining something to Josie and Melissa.

Melissa: I've attended multiple fundraisers Josie's put on. Her dinner dance that she does annually is great. Lots of dancing, lots of food.

IMAGES: We see still photographs of Josie at fundraising events.

Josie: It's not about me or my husband it's about what we can do for the community.

IMAGES: Outside, two construction workers in high visibility vests and hard hats carry a large, blue sign that says ‘JOSIE’ as Josie herself looks on.

Josie: It probably hasn't sunk in because I didn't know that they named cranes.

IMAGES: A caption reads ‘To recognise Josie’s contribution, a crane at the Northern Hospital expansion site has been named in her honour’. We see the sign being lifted up onto the crane. A timelapse video shows the construction workers affixing the sign to the crane.

Josie: That crane won't be just for Josie. It's about the community as well. It's for all the people that support me.

It is a great honour.

IMAGES: We see the crane and sign from afar, with the Northern Hospital building site in the background. A caption reads ‘Josie the crane will help deliver the $162.7 million expansion to ensure Melbourne’s north receive the quality healthcare they deserve. Set to be completed in mid-2021’. The screen transitions to blue. We see the Victorian Health and Human Services Building Authority logo, the web address and the Victoria State Government logo.

End of transcript.