The Gut Foundation first called the Christchurch Liver and Digestive Diseases trust was formed in November 1993. It was the brainchild of the late Mr. Thomas P George. Tom as he was widely known had undergone a successful liver transplant, which at the time was only performed in Australia. Tom was a legend amongst Canterbury sports people, having served as a very hard working administrator for club rugby and cricket for many years. When he required a liver transplant the people of Canterbury got behind Tom to raise the large amount of money required to get him through this operation in Sydney. It was no surprise that Walter Hadlee NZ Cricketer and Stan (Tiny) Hill All Black Captain were among the people that led the fundraising efforts and became two of the inaugural trustees. With Tiny Hill still attending the occasional Board meeting up until his death in 2019.
After Tom’s successful transplant he returned to Christchurch determined to help those who had helped save his life. He believed that that given the right financial supports our medical professionals could provide New Zealanders with the life saving operations that he himself had had to travel to Sydney to get. That by supporting their endeavours the people of New Zealand would continue to be well served in the future. Since that time operations that were previously unavailable in New Zealand have become available but not before another person had to be helped in the same way.
The aim of the Trust was and remains “to promote research and education into Gut diseases”. In recognition of the fact that research and education into Gut diseases helps all New Zealanders in 2012 the Trust was renamed the Bowel and Liver trust. So much has been learnt in the last 6 years about Gut disease and it’s importance to overall health and well being that the Trust has now renamed as The Gut Foundation to emphasise the role this part of the body plays in our health.
Since its inception the Trust has raised over one and a half million dollars for combating Gut diseases including funding large research programs cutting edge equipment and grass roots patient support groups. With the ongoing support of the community, The Gut Foundation, can continue to educate for good Gut health, purchase equipment and help researchers here work toward solving these Gut diseases.
Contact our GM Margaret Fitzgerald on 021 0241 3305 if you are interested in helping to bring better gut health services to your area.