about us

We are on a mission to get kids back to the things they miss

Two young boys playing and laughing with water in the backyard

Why we started

Our research showed us that no matter the reason a kid was in hospital, there’s one thing they all suffered from - homesickness.

“Around 90% of hospitalised children aged 8 to 18 suffer from homesickness with 50% suffering moderate to severe levels.”

Homesickness in children is associated with social and behaviour problems, symptoms of depression and anxiety, coping difficulties, and feelings of helplessness which can affect patient outcomes.

“Every year children and young people account for up to one million admissions to hospitals across Australia.”

That means that in addition to the impact of their injury or sickness, hundreds of thousands of kids in Australian hospitals experience moderate to severe homesickness every year.

Two young girls smiling

what is Hospitals united for sick kids?

Founded in July 2019 by Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation, Hospitals United for Sick Kids is a joint fundraising initiative that brings together children’s hospitals, foundations and paediatric services from across Australia.  

Hospitals United for Sick Kids funds projects and initiatives so kids can be kids first, and patients second. Because we believe kids belong at home, not in hospital.  

Together with our unique alliance of children’s hospitals and foundations, we work with trusted corporate partners to sell products and services that fund our mission to help kids be kids first, and patients second.

United, we create meaningful local impact

“In our first three years, initiatives funded by Hospitals United For Sick Kids made a significant impact on the lives of more than 400,000 sick kids in hospital across Australia.”

How we fund our work

Working with corporate and hospital alliance partners, we’ve created a shared value model of fundraising that benefits sick kids in hospital and our partners.

Together, we create commercial opportunities with products that link Australian households to the things kids miss most when they’re in hospital.

A percentage of product sales goes directly to helping fund the vital equipment, services and research needed to provide care at, or closer to home for children and their families.  

Young boy playing with magnifying glass and plush toy

Hospitals United For Sick Kids
Board and Team

Connie Carnabuci

Connie has over 35 years’ experience as an advisor to the technology, media and telecommunications sectors.  

She began her career in Australia as a law graduate with Mallesons Stephen Jaques in their IP/IT litigation team and was admitted to the partnership in the firm’s corporate practice in 1997.  

In 2002 she joined the international firm, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, based in Hong Kong as the head of their regional TMT practice in Asia and global co-head of the Technology practice.

Connie was the General Counsel of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation from 2017 to 2021.  

Connie is a Non-Executive Director of ASX listed OFX, she Chairs the Media and Communications Law Committee of the Business Law Section of the Law Council of Australia, is a member of the Business Advisory Council of the UNSW Business School and is a Director on the Sydney Children's Hospitals Foundation Board.

She is a graduate of UNSW (Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing), with merit / LLB, (1986) and a graduate of AICD.

Connie has been on the CHL Board as a Director since October 2022.

David Nott

David is a Non-executive Director of the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation and has been appointed to this subsidiary’s Board as a one of the main Board’s representatives.

David was a Non-Executive Director of the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network for a full ten-year term until 31 March 2022, including periods as Deputy Chair and Acting Chair.  He served on several Board Committees over that period of time, including the SCHN Audit and Risk Committee.   He was formerly the Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee of Southern NSW Local Health District and formerly a Director of Luminesce Alliance Limited and Chair of its Audit and Risk Committee.  

He served for almost 30 years as a partner with KPMG, a global professional services firm providing leadership in Australia and internationally.  At KPMG, David had a number of senior client and management roles. In the ten years prior to his retirement from the firm (in 2009), he was the National Managing Partner of Transaction Services in Australia and served as that group's ASPAC Regional Leader and as a member of the Global Steering Committee.  

He is currently a member of the coaching panel of Foresight Global Coaching Partnership and in that role, he coaches senior executives in all aspects of leadership.  

He holds an Economics Degree from Sydney University, is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and a member of the Governance Institute.

Kate Ferguson

Kate is the General Manager, Engagement at the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation where is oversees brand, marketing and communications, data and growth, digital fundraising, community engagement and donor experience. In 2023, she was recognised as one of Fundraising & Philanthropy’s 2023 Movers and Shakers and selected as a national finalist for the Fundraising Institute of Australia’s Fundraising Champion of the Year (to be announced in February 2024). Kate began her career in the education sector before moving to Edelman, a global marketing and communications agency, where she worked for eighteen years.  She advised global companies in the U.S., Asia-Pacific and Australia on the design of purpose-led brand, marketing and fundraising campaigns, and stakeholder engagement programs. She led the development of GE Australia's owned media channel and digital content marketing program (recognised as Best Brand Digital Platform at the APAC Sabre Awards in 2014). While living in New York, she managed the Lower Manhattan Public Information Campaign (Digital Campaign of the Year, PR Week/PRSA) in the aftermath of 9/11.

Kate has been recognised with several industry awards including Mumbrella's Corporate Social Responsibility Campaign of the Year (2019) for her work building the KFC Youth Foundation. She recently completed a Global Fellowship with the International Women’s Forum studying leadership at INSEAD and Harvard Business School.

Nicky Bowie

Nicky Bowie has over 24 years’ experience in large commercial roles within the FMCG industry, working for organisations including Kellogg’s and Unilever across Australia and the UK.

Nicky is a graduate of the University of Leeds (Law LLB Hons), and in addition to her experience within FMCG, has diversified into the entrepreneurial world of hospitality start-ups, as well as having held the role of Head of Corporate Partnerships at Sydney Children's Hospitals Foundations and Head of Category and Shopper Insights at The Kellogg Company.

A resourceful, passionate and experienced commercial leader with a desire 'to make a difference’, Nicky was appointed to the role of General Manager, Curing Homesickness in May 2022.  Nicky will lead a team that’s focused on forming strong and effective partnerships that will deliver mutually beneficial results, whilst ensuring that quality outcomes are achieved that help get kids home from hospital sooner.

Andrew Georges

With over 25 years of diverse experience in General Management, Finance, HR, and IT, Andrew Georges is aseasoned executive with a remarkable track record. He has held pivotal roles in leading multinational corporations across consumer electronics, healthcare and capital equipment sectors, fostering a robust business acumen along the way. 

Andrew's journey spans across theAsia Pacific region, where he honed his skills in leadership and strategic management. During his tenure at Tennant Company, a prominent US multinational, he played a pivotal role in developing and mentoring finance, human resources, and customer support teams across various territories. 

Joining Nikon ANZ, Andrew assumed a leadership position overseeing Finance, Corporate Governance, and risk management, contributing significantly to the company's strategic direction and operational excellence. Andrew's commitment to excellence extends beyond his corporate roles. He has been instrumental in developing leadership programs for senior managers and leadership teams, showcasing his dedication to nurturing talent and fostering growth. 

In March 2024, Andrew further expanded his leadership portfolio by joining the board of Hospitals United ForSick Kids (HUSK), marking his first Directorship appointment. This role perfectly complements his extensive Company Secretarial experience. 

Andrew holds a Bachelor ofCommerce (Accounting) and is a Fellow of CPA Australia. His commitment to professional development is evident through his completion of the AustralianInstitute of Company Directors program, reflecting his dedication to continuous learning and growth. With a wealth of experience, a strategic mindset, anda passion for excellence, Andrew Georges continues to make significant contributions to the corporate landscape, driving success and innovation wherever he goes. 

Catherine Bowe

Catherine Bowe brings over two decades of marketing expertise to her role as a board member. Currently theSenior Director of Marketing for Salesforce in the APAC region, she spearheads initiatives tailored to the diverse cultural intricacies of Asia-Pacific. Catherine's distinguished career includes a tenure as the APAC Client Council& Industry Relations Lead at Meta, where she was pivotal in driving key regional strategies and sustainability efforts. 
Anesteemed recipient of the 2021 Women Leading Tech Award, Catherine is dedicated to promoting diversity and sustainability. She is actively engaged in advancing these causes through her membership in the AANA Sustainability Council and the Unstereotype Alliance by UN Women. Her professional journey is marked by continuouslearning, including pursuing a Master of Creative Intelligence and StrategicInnovation at UTS, enhancing her capacity to address the complex challenges ofour interconnected world. 
Catherine's leadership is characterised by her commitment to operational excellence and strategic vision, significantly impacting the marketing industry and fostering robust, strategic connections across various sectors. 

Carrie Barker

Carrie is a Non-Executive, Entrepreneur, CEO and Commercial Director with over thirty five years of global experience spanning the Communication and Media industries.    

Carrie started her career in London in media, having a long executive career with FTSE 100 company Emap. Spanning roles from CEO of a publishing division to running the high profile multimedia group sales operation. She was an Exec Director of both the Consumer andInternational board. Here she oversaw sales, creative, marketing, editorial, distribution, production and had full P&L responsibility. Carrie moved toAustralia as CEO of Emap Australia, working with the main board to recommend and oversee the sale of the company to ACP Magazines for a record price. She subsequently moved to NetworkSeven to oversee the commercial operation of Pacific Magazines.    

After 30 years in corporate life, she joined two partners at start up experiential and branding agency the projects*, growing the business commercially by attracting many top tier clients such as Scentre Group, Gumtree, Audi, and Reebok. After 3 successful years the projects* grew internationally launching in London and LA.        

At board level, Carrie drives growth by leveraging a proven track record in transforming businesses by focussing on strong product and brand development, maximising commercial revenue, cost management, team building and cultural change.   

Carrie is a NonExecDirector of Machine Hall PTY LTD, overseeing a world class new cultural andevent precinct in the heart of Sydney, partnering with construction companyBuilt. She is also an Exec Director of Precinct Live - the management company running Machine Hall and commercialising the space.   

She has an Hons degree in Industrial Economics - specialising in business, marketing and finance and graduated the AICD’s Company DirectorsCourse with a high merit. 

Tammy Grillo
Corporate Partnerships Manager

Tammy is an FMCG professional with a desire to make a positive impact on people.  With over 20 years FMCG experience, Tammy has worked across many functions including Customer and Category Management.  

Tammy joined the CHL team in June 2022 and is energised by the opportunity to help get kids home from hospital sooner. She is specifically responsible for supporting the delivery of the strategic commercial growth vision of Curing Homesickness through the development of existing and new shared value corporate partnerships.

Kim Roberts
National Coordinator

Kim Roberts has 10 years Executive Assistant experience and over 18 years working in administration.  After finishing TAFE, an opportunity to work as a receptionist at Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation (Transport NSW) came up, which would eventually lead into the Executive Assistant’s world.  While working for Playgroup NSW, Kim developed a passion for the not-for-profit sector so when the opportunity to work for Curing Homesickness came up, she jumped at the chance.  Kim took on the National Coordinator role at Curing Homesickness in February 2022.  Her main responsibilities include stakeholder management, wide range of administration duties and supporting the Curing Homesickness team.

Shilpi Singh-Khanna
Marketing and Communications Lead

Shilpi is a brand and marketing specialist with over 15 years of experience in content marketing, strategy, branded content and marketing solutions, client engagement and strategic partnerships. She has worked with some of the largest media conglomerates in India, like CNBC, Network18 and the ZEE network. Shilpi spent almost 10 years with CNBC, leading their marketing division while also expanding their offering of business news channels.

Taking a break from media and entertainment, Shilpi moved with her family to England in 2015 and enjoyed traveling through Europe while venturing into the fast-paced world of start-ups. She relocated to Australia and joined the team at Curing Homesickness in 2023.

Shilpi is passionate about creating compelling brand narratives that connect businesses of all sizes with their customers while driving mentoring and inclusivity.

Danielle Johnson
Digital Marketing Specialist

Danielle is a passionate Digital Marketing Specialist with 15 years’ experience in marketing and partnerships across the Retail, Pharmaceutical and Not-for-profit sectors. Danielle began working with the Curing Homesickness team during the annual Coles Card Campaign as our Digital Marketing Specialist and has remained working on our social strategy and campaigns.

How you can help

Support our mission by purchasing our products, becoming a corporate partner, or sharing us on social.

“Homesickness, or the distress of being away from home is a serious issue for children in hospital.”

Michael Crouch, Chair in Child and Youth Mental Health – a joint position at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre.

our alliance partners

Our network brings together hospitals, foundations and paediatric services from all over Australia.

Our Alliance Partners are:

  • Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation
  • Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation (SA/NT)
  • Canberra Hospital Foundation
  • Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation
  • The Common Good (QLD)
  • Monash Children’s Hospital
  • Royal Hobart Hospital
  • John Hunter Children’s Hospital (NSW)

Together with our partners, we’ve funded over 77 projects, positions and pieces of equipment. The list includes innovative research, therapy positions, play therapy programs, redevelopment of a home equipment centre, Children’s emergency department and much more. Read more on our impact page.