I sincerely hope that you are coping well with the restrictions forced upon us
by Covid-19 and are now beginning to enjoy the opportunities
to socialise with friends and family as the lockdowns are gradually eased.

Like most of you, I am sure, I have been thrilled to see the way Rotarians have adapted to meeting virtually through social media channels and web-based programs such as Zoom and Google Hangouts, often with a greater attendance than would be at a regular club meeting.  It has proved to be a great opportunity for the ROMAC team to promote our organisation, as Clubs have often been struggling to find guest speakers prepared to address their members via a virtual meeting.  I sincerely thank those of you who have invited me, and the ROMAC Regional Chairs, as your guest speakers during the past weeks. For many Clubs, this is their first presentation on ROMAC for many years and the 10-minute video presentation we have shown during the address has been well accepted and has been an ideal way to succinctly tell the ROMAC story.  If your Club has not had a speaker on ROMAC for some time and would like to have a presentation, please contact me on chair@romac.org.au to organise this.

As is the case with most not-for-profit organisations, Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our operation and has meant we have been unable to bring patients into Australia and New Zealand for treatment.  We currently have a number of patients who have been accepted by the Board but have been forced to wait because of the lockdown.  The challenge, of course, will be finding hospital beds for them once the restrictions are lifted as there will be a backlog of surgery on local patients that will have precedence.

It has also meant that patients who have been treated are unable to return home.  Although he's still not well enough to return home to the Solomon Islands, it is hoped that Vincent, who is being treated at the Centennial Hospital for Women and Children in Canberra, will be able to travel in July.  Our other patient, Germaine, was successfully operated on at Sydney's Westmead Hospital in early March, but by the time she was discharged the travel embargo was in place, so she is currently living in Wollongong with her mother who is studying nursing at Wollongong University.  Once the restrictions are lifted, Germaine will return to the Solomons with her father.

Of course, the other big impact that Covid-19 has had on ROMAC is financial.  Because Clubs are not able to conduct their traditional regular fundraising events they are limited in how much money they are able to donate to organisations like ROMAC.  As expected, our income is down as a result. I ask that you continue to support us if you can, even if it's not to the extent that you would normally donate.  I also ask that you promote ROMAC to your Club members and friends and encourage them to support us with a personal donation.  Individuals (even those not in Rotary) can become a ROMAC Friend with a donation of just $100 annually.  ROMAC receives no Government funding and relies entirely on the generosity of Rotarians and Clubs to continue to operate, so all contributions are gratefully received.  All donations over $2 are tax-deductible.

I recommend you visit our website www.romac.org for more information about our important work, and to make a donation, or click on the donate now button below.

Thank you for your continued commitment to ROMAC.

Keep well and stay safe.

PDG Harold Sharp

Patient Stories - Past and Present


Vincent's First Birthday

Regular readers of our ROMAC E-News will be familiar with Vincent's story.  He's a Solomon Islands patient who arrived in Australia last July as a two-month old requiring urgent surgery to correct a blockage between his oesophagus and his stomach which necessitated him being feed via a catheter into the stomach. Ten months later, after follow-up surgery, numerous hospital visits for day procedures, and constant monitoring by the doctors at the Centennial Hospital for Women and Children in Canberra, he is progressing slowly, is now able to take food orally and is putting on weight.  However, he is still not well enough to return home.

On 3rd May Vincent celebrated his first birthday at a colourful party organised by Sandra Goldstraw and her District 9710 ROMAC team.

Between medical appointments and hospital visits Vincent and his mother Cosinta have been home hosted by Sandra and her husband Brian with assistance from other members of the District team.



Having a famous uncle in Fuifui MoiMoi (who played Rugby League for Parramatta) was an incentive for young Tongan patient, Sioeli, to get well following surgery to repair an infected bone protruding from his lower leg.  Eight year old Sioeli was successfully operated on at John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle in September 2017 thanks to ROMAC.

When contacted by PDG Bob Richards, ROMAC's Chair of Alumni and Patient Evaluation earlier this month Sioeli's mother, Elizabeth, advised that he was doing very well and was training hard, hoping to be selected to play Rugby League for his school this year, with the view to perhaps representing his country in the sport sometime in the future, emulating his famous uncle.


Six year old Kim from Vietnam was a ROMAC patient in 2001.  Her gross facial disfigurement gave surgeons many concerns that she could not be helped.  However, the surgical procedures performed by Cranio-Facial Surgeon, Tony Holmes, to reduce the brain, rebuild her forehead and move her eye sockets closer together, and then reconstruct her nose were very successful. 
Now aged 25, thanks to ROMAC, Kim is an attractive, confident young woman with a very outgoing personality.

New Team Members

Eastern Regional Chair

Helen joined the ROMAC team as the new Chair for Eastern Region in April, replacing PDG Bob Richards, who has now taken on the role of Director of Alumni and Patient Evaluation.

Helen is a Physiotherapist and has had the opportunity to work in both public and private enterprise.

Helen joined the Rotary Club of Nelson Bay in 1998 and held various positions within the Club; President, Directorships and Secretary as well as taking on District Roles as Assistant Governor, Chair of the Group Study Exchange and Rotary Leadership Institute. She is a supporter of the Rotary Foundation and a member of the Paul Harris Society.

In 2017/2018 she was District Governor for District 9670 which provided an excellent opportunity to see and appreciate how much Rotary does in the community. During her training years she was the District representative for ROMAC amongst her class and very much appreciates the work that ROMAC does.

Helen has been involved in community work for many years and enjoys the opportunity to repay what it has given her. For her work in the community Helen was presented with a Freeman of Port Stephens Award in 2012.

Helen is married to Mike and they have one son, Leigh who is married with two delightful daughters!


Southern Region Chair

Ian, or D’Arcy as he is more widely known, has been a Rotarian since 1994 – 17 years with the Rotary Club of Adelaide and 9 years with the Rotary Club of East Davao in the Southern Philippines. He has served in a variety of positions at the club level, included President, and undertaken a number of leadership roles at the District and National level.

He is very familiar with most of the countries in the Oceania region having designed, managed and evaluated a variety of official development assistance projects over the last 35 years in 23 different countries across the Asia-Pacific region. Of particular significance is his work in Samoa, Kiribati, Fiji, Solomon Islands, PNG, Vanuatu, East Timor, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

D’Arcy’s late wife, Carol, was also an active Rotarian, and he has three children and four grandchildren.

D'Arcy was appointed Chair of Southern Region in April, replacing Brett Dalton.  



Rotarians & Friends in Action


Jasmine Kiernan, wife of the 2019-20 Governor for District 9910, Ian Kiernan, has been a passionate supporter of ROMAC for many years.  Embracing the opportunity to interact with ROMAC children, Jasmine has adopted ROMAC as her Partner's Project during Ian's term in office.  Being very artistic Jasmine created some ceramic tiles based on the recent Rotary International themes which she raffled during the official visits to Clubs within District 9910 she attended with Ian.  Over $5,000 was raised during these visits.  A ceramic of the 2019/20 theme ROTARY CONNECTS THE WORLD was raffled at the Zone 8 Conference in Christchurch last September.

Jasmine has continued to raise funds for ROMAC during the 2nd half of the 2019/20 Rotary year by creating an interesting or useful mosaic artwork which has been sold by silent auction each month.

Continuing the fundraising during May, on offer by silent auction is a metal based shallow bowl/dish which Jasmine has mosaiced in a Koru design.

To bid for the Koru design, email Jasmine at: jasminedawn1960@gmail.com.   Please include your name and bid in the email.

Auction closes Saturday 30th May and the winner will be notified by email.

Bidding starts at $80.00 with all proceeds to ROMAC.


How you can help ROMAC

Become a ROMAC Friend
For just $100 annually, you can become a ROMAC Friend and help us to change the lives of more children from the Oceania Region.   Download our brochure here.