Melissa Chen started Mill's Kitchen following the loss of her brother-in-law to a brain tumor at the age of 31.

Melissa Chen and her mum

Melissa Chen started Mill’s Kitchen in 2012 after her brother-in-law aged 31 passed away from a brain tumour. She has since raised over $35,000 for cancer services at The Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Melissa says, “I teach Chinese cooking classes in people’s homes at a cost of $75 per head with 100% of donations going directly to the hospital. All it takes is for the host to invite 15-20 friends to come and learn how to cook easy and delicious Chinese food, catch up with friends and support an amazing cause.”

Her wonderful cooking events have a direct positive impact on our cancer services and the care we provide to our patients. Currently Melissa is raising funds and sourcing furniture in kind to fit out the waiting areas in the Intensive-Care Unit. Her ultimate target is to have raised $100,000 by 2020.

The majority of our patients are in Intensive Care because they are suffering major critical illness. Other general ward areas of the hospital have set visiting hours and relatives come and go at these times, usually safe in the knowledge that their family member is on the road to recovery; unfortunately this is not always the case in ICU.

The severity of our patients’ conditions (and often this can be the result of sudden, unexpected accidents and trauma), means that their loved ones spend a great deal of time in the family area, initially awaiting news and subsequently awaiting the outcome, and hopefully recovery of their loved ones. We all know what it is to feel helpless in situations over which we have no control and our surroundings in these times greatly influence our emotions and mood.

Staring at blank, white walls, amidst bland furnishings, shoulder to shoulder with other shocked strangers does little to engender hope and positivity. Unfortunately when new hospitals and departments are designed and built most of the budget is devoted to equipment and patient care – there is not a lot of financial support given to waiting areas. Surplus funds are scarce and so despite all good intentions, the waiting areas are put together as best as is possible with the limited funds available.

Melissa hopes to provide a space of comfort, warmth, contemplation, security and most of all hope. A place where families can feel enveloped by positivity. Family support and encouragement can make all the difference in a patient’s recovery.

If you’d like to help out and show support by donating to this incredible initiative.

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