Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR), have brightened the lives of sick young patients with a donation to the children’s ward at Townsville University Hospital.

Raised through 3 RAR’s soldiers’ club this year, the donation of $10,000 and hundreds of toys will support services provided by the Brighter Lives Foundation at the hospital.

3 RAR Section Commander Corporal Mitchell Goodwin said seeing the smiles on the children’s faces during their visit on August 20 made the fundraising worth the effort.

“Townsville has been so welcoming to us so it’s been really good to raise the money and then come in here, get a laugh and a smile from the kids and see how happy they are,” CPL Goodwin said.

“We try to get out into the community every opportunity we possibly can and this is a big one for us, and it’s nice to be able to give back and know we’re doing something good for the community.”

The toys will be put to use immediately, providing distraction therapy for children at the hospital.

Brighter Lives Chief Executive Officer Tanya Busoli said the therapy was an important part of helping children through hard treatments.

“The toys will be given to the kids if they are here on their birthday or over Christmas, and also if they’re going through a traumatic procedure,” Ms Busoli said.

“Every kid loves to get a toy, but it’s more than that when they’re getting a treatment that may be a bit painful.

“If they can be distracted with a new toy or something shiny while they are getting a painful treatment - yes they know the treatment is happening, but their focus is on the toy so it helps them to get through those procedures. It’s very important.”

Ms Busoli the soldiers’ visit was special  for their young patients. 

“When the soldiers came in today it was absolutely adorable,” she said.

“The kids were so excited. They don’t want to be here in hospital, they want to be out playing.

“To have some new faces visiting, and the fact that they are soldiers, is pretty cool.”