A cuddle bed has been presented to Warwick Hospital’s palliative care unit in honour of the late Flight Lieutenant Belinda McGowan, who died of cancer in 2021.
CAPTION: Senior ADF Officer at RAAF Base Amberley Group Captain Iain Carty and Bruce McGowan stand in front of the two cuddle beds presented to the palliative care unit of Warwick Hospital. Story by Flying Officer Greg Hinks. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Stewart Gould.
Senior ADF Officer at RAAF Base Amberley Group Captain Iain Carty, along with the Flight Lieutenant McGowan’s family, handed over the bed in a moving and emotional ceremony.
The training systems officer was remembered as kind, generous and professional.
As part of Flight Lieutenant McGowan’s legacy and final wishes, the McGowan family raised money for a cuddle bed to be presented to the Warwick Hospital.
The bed was designed so that family members can lie with a terminally ill patient during end-of-life care.
Flight Lieutenant McGowan’s husband, Bruce McGowan, saw the need for the bed during her time in palliative care and said families would benefit from this donation.
“The cuddle bed allows families to cuddle and be close to their loved ones when they are in palliative and end-of-life care. To hold a loved one close as they transition out of this life is a very special and privileged gift, and to do it in comfort is a bonus.
“I’m so proud of Belinda’s legacy. Belinda continues to influence outcomes for others through providing these cuddle beds, so effectively she is still in service and supporting fellow patients and families at a very vulnerable stage of their lives,” Mr McGowan said.
Group Captain Carty represented the Air Force as Flight Lieutenant McGowan’s former Officer Commanding at Ground Academy and reiterated that Defence was committed to ensuring all ADF members, and their families, are provided with the best possible support services.
“Belinda would be very proud of seeing what has transpired from her and Bruce’s shared dream of a cuddle bed, and having her Air Force mates and family here for the presentation,” Group Captain Carty said.
“From an Air Force perspective, family is key. We will be supportive and very happy to promote and champion the donation of this cuddle bed here in Warwick and as these beds are delivered out to the region.
“This is not just for Defence, this is for community.”
The McGowan family have pledged to donate a new cuddle bed to a palliative care unit in the Darling Downs each financial year in memory of Flight Lieutenant Belinda McGowan.