Associate Professor Leanne (Lulu) Zalapa has forged an extraordinary career. Leaving school before year 10, Lulu found herself working in a punch-card operator’s room, but harboured ambitions of becoming a nurse ever since first setting foot in a hospital to visit a friend.
“I went to visit a friend at Sutherland Hospital when I was 14 and the smell just got me, I loved it!”
Her nursing dream came true and eventually led to an academic role at UTS and a life of fundraising. Lulu founded the Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation in 2004 and led the philanthropic outfit until retiring this month. The foundation has provided the hospital with $25 million in funds for infrastructure, research, equipment, professional development and patient care.
Lulu also helped start the Dry July Foundation and the Louisa Hope Fund for Nurses. The latter was launched in 2015 with Lindt Café siege survivor Louisa Hope, who suffered a bullet wound to the foot during the ordeal and spent the next three months in the Prince of Wales Hospital. As an expression of gratitude to the nursing profession, the fund for nurses provides help and seed money for any research or education that they deem worthy.
Lulu joined Nursing Review to look back on her career in healthcare and to discuss what nursing and philanthropy mean to her.
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