Saving Little Lives - Professor Peter Dargaville

Tuesday, 4 May 2021 - 2:03pm

You may have seen Professor Peter Dargaville’s name numerous times throughout our publications or even through broader media coverage, not only Australia wide, but world-wide. For good reason!

Over the years, the RHHF has funded many research studies that Peter and his team have been involved in. In fact when we first launched the Kokoda Trek for Medical Research it was Peter who appeared in the news with local twin boys Lachlan and Xavier who have come a long way since they were born at 25 weeks’ gestation (that’s 15 weeks premature) in 2014.

Thanks to Peter and his team, we know that there are many little lives that have been saved across our community. But while Peter has become so adept at stepping in and saving life-threatening situations, the advance a global pandemic proved to be insurmountable and foiled Peter’s own plans to trek the Kokoda Trail with the Foundation as a fundraiser in April 2020. While this has been postponed for now due to Covid restrictions, Peter’s life-saving work doesn’t stop and he is determined to still trek with the Foundation when current restrictions are removed, building on the success he has already achieved.

We wanted to share some words from Peter’s Kokoda Trek fundraising page.

Over the past decade, I have helped to establish in Tasmania a large research group focusing on newborn lung disease and the treatment of it. With the support of the Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation (RHHRF) I have had the opportunity to contribute to advances in Neonatal care, some of which have been implemented worldwide. And as a hands-on newborn specialist still very much involved in looking after babies, I have had the joy of seeing those improvements start to make a difference to the lives of many of our smallest Tasmanians.

The UTAS-RHH research group that I lead has grown to include 8 PhD students, one Masters student and 5 Honours students, all working on newborn projects, supervised, and supported by senior academics at UTAS, including me. Unsurprisingly, we’ve outgrown our resources, and there are many great projects for which we don’t have adequate funding. So, I wonder whether you can help me to make a difference, by sponsoring me as I trek the hills of Kokoda. I have resolved to do the Kokoda trek with a party of like-minded people coordinated by the RHHRF. Along the way I’ll be reflecting that the difficult path I’m on is probably a whole lot easier than that experienced by many of the critically ill babies we look after, and their parents, during their stay in Neonatal Intensive Care.

Since 2010 the RHHRF has given over $180,000 to neonatal research projects. I’d like to think we can secure even more funding in the next five years for projects that directly benefit newborns. You can donate to Peter or other trekkers here:

Donate to Peter or our Kokoda Trekkers HERE: