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28th October 2021

Operation Care Bear bringing smiles to kids in hospital

Coming to the hospital can be scary for our little ones, but thanks to 5th Aviation, there were smiles on the children’s faces today (27 October 2021).

The 5th Aviation’s Operation Care Bear was back in action today after a COVID-related hiatus and the experience was taken to new heights in hopes of inspiring kids to follow their dream of flying.  

A Leonardo AW139 leased from Helicorp and operated by the Australian Army, landed at JCU oval where patients and children of patients at Townsville University Hospital and Kirwan Health Campus were able to explore the new equipment.

Captain Timothy Oke said it was a great opportunity to show the helicopter to the community.

“It’s a pleasure to see the smiles on the kids’ faces and one girl made a little squeal when she put on the helmet this morning, and that was enough for all of us to say it was worth the visit.

“We look forward to doing this again,’ said Captain Oke.

Staff from the Kirwan Health Campus were able to bring some young adults to visit the display and it truly made their day.

Brighter Lives CEO, Tanya Busoli said it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for some of these children.

“These families aren’t having the best of times with their loved ones being in hospital and letting these kids come and hop into a helicopter and experience being in one is something they have never done before,” Tanya Busoli said.

“There are two little girls who are originally from Charters Towers and their mum is going through cancer treatment, so for them to have an experience like this provides some distraction and brings some joy for a couple of hours.”

Brighter Lives Townsville Hospital Foundation is the official charity of the Townsville Hospital and Health Service and is 100% local. To donate visit

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