GIVING BACK: Robina Lions Club president John Clark presents Robina Red Cross president and Lions Club board member Toula Singer OAM with a cheque.
GIVING BACK: Robina Lions Club president John Clark presents Robina Red Cross president and Lions Club board member Toula Singer OAM with a cheque.

Robina Lions aims big in 30th year as Red Cross marks 25th

ROBINA Red Cross and Robina Lions Club both have a lot to celebrate this month, having served the community for 25 and 30 years respectively.

Although she is quick to deflect personal praise, Toula Singer OAM is one of the people at the centre of those years, and the only person currently a member of both clubs.

Toula was the Lions Club's inaugural charter president, and still serves on the board, as well as being president of the Red Cross, of which she has been a member for 20 years.

"Community service is what you do because you are grateful to live in this wonderful place and it's your way of giving back," she said.

Robina Lions was the first community service club in the burgeoning suburb and was chartered on February 18, 1989, reportedly raising over $1 million in its first 25 years.

But it is now fundraising for its biggest project yet, A Big Red Kidney Bus, providing mobile dialysis for southern Queensland.

At a cost of $245,000, it's a huge challenge, but Toula said the potential benefits to the community were even greater.

There are currently only two Big Red Kidney Buses in Australia, in NSW and Victoria, fitted out as mobile dialysis units.

The Queensland bus would be fully equipped with three dialysis machines, and health practitioners that travel to various popular tourist destinations, stopping for about six weeks at a time at local caravan parks.

It allows dialysis patients and their families to get away from the hospital environment, receive their necessary treatment, but also enjoy stress-free travel, something many have been unable to do for years since diagnosis.

All visitors have to do is check the bus's schedule to work out when they can book to holiday in their desired location.

"It's a wonderful idea for us as a tourist area and it can only benefit our businesses," Toula said.

Having started fundraising a few months ago, Robina Lions has already raised $50,000, and has invited all the clubs in the division to help.

"We're really hoping we will get corporations and businesses behind us ... it's a chance for them to get involved in good things that are happening in the area," Toula said.

The Big Red Kidney Bus is just one of a slew of things Robina Lions has been involved in, from the international Sight First project in Third World counties, to eye hospitals, hearing dogs and national disaster relief in Australia and local projects.

"We are a lot more than sausage sizzles," Toula said with a laugh.

Robina Lions Club will celebrate its 30th anniversary with guest speakers and more at the Quality Inn, Markeri St on Saturday, February 16 at 6.30pm.

Robina Red Cross branch has also done a lot over the past 25 years since its inaugural meeting on November 23, 1993.

That includes donating over 1000 trauma teddies to hospitals and disaster victims, carrying out daily phone calls to the elderly, and raising funds for Red Cross's work both in Australia and overseas.

There's lots of reminiscing on the cards for the anniversary celebrations of this friendly and supportive group at lunch from 11.30am on Wednesday, February 27 at Palmer Colonial, 57 Paradise Springs Ave, Robina.

To help towards the Lions Club's Big Red Kidney Bus or to find out about the celebrations, phone Toula on 5575 9917.

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