Supporter stories

Meet some of those special people who have chosen to include a gift in their will.

Ben and Joan Slater – Continuing the tradition

Ben and Joan Slater

Joan and Ben Slater have a long history with St Vincent’s Hospital, which began when Joan’s parents were both patients. Joan’s father, Adie, had open heart surgery in 1977, when the risks were high. He recovered well and became a great advocate for the hospital where he was heavily involved with the Heart Beat group. He was a regular visitor to the wards chatting with patients after their surgery.

Joan and Ben continued her father’s work with the group, having seen firsthand the improvements which can be implemented with extra funds. “When we were thinking about the future it seemed natural to honour mum and dad with a gift to the hospital which had played a large part in their lives, to the end,” Joan said. The family appreciated the excellent medical attention but felt there was always “something extra” in the care for Joan’s parents.

A gift in their Will is both a special thank you for the wonderful care delivered with warmth and humour, and an opportunity to continue improvements of equipment making the lives of patients and staff easier.

As Ben and Joan don’t have any children, their gift will be given to the Cardiothoracic department. “Knowing that the money shall help improve care for patients like dad with new equipment or research is very comforting”.

Glen Arbuckle – Lasting impact on a young life

Glen Arbuckle

Glen first came to St Vincent’s hospital with Rheumatoid Arthritis when he was just five years old. Glen’s care continued even after the paediatric ward closed.

Over the years he has come to know many staff members; doctors, nurses and cleaners who have become like family for Glen, sharing jokes and comradery.

“My care has gone beyond courtesy, I really value the kindness, dignity and respect that I’m always given.”

Being in hospital has provided Glen the opportunity to see the needs of both patients and staff for equipment and to be continually improved and replaced.

Glen has given to appeals over the years but he realised the biggest impact he would have is via a gift in his Will. This will not affect his lifestyle now, and shall provide benefits for many in future.

At first, considering his Will and options at a young age made Glen felt uncomfortable. After discussing his decision with his family, Glen felt confident that he had made the right choice.

Cheryl Power – A constant quality of care

Cheryl Power

Cheryl’s first introduction to St Vincent’s Hospital was through her profession. She is a senior lecturer and teaching specialist of the Microbiology and Immunology Department at the University of Melbourne as a microbiologist.

St Vincent’s hosted scientific evenings at the Australian Society of Microbiology. Cheryl says “St Vincent’s had wonderful lab which they retained when many hospitals lost theirs. The case studies discussed were always interesting.”

These meetings gave Cheryl valuable insights into the hospital ethos and high standards. Cheryl has attended St Vincent’s hospital for her own medical care and with her family for many years. During that time, she has always felt that the care was excellent. When considering options for her Will she gave it careful thought.

One of Cheryl’s motivations for including St Vincent’s in her Will is being grateful for her exceptional care. The second motivating factor was a close alignment of her personal values and those practised by St Vincent’s; caring for everyone with the greatest respect.

“I am very grateful for the wonderful care I have received. In a fast changing world I really want the quality of care to remain a constant,” Cheryl said. Cheryl also hopes the quality of care will continue for herself, her family, grandchildren and others.

 “Many people expect to be able to buy medical care, which they can, but it frequently misses that vital element of personal care. I really value the holistic focus given to each patient. St Vincent’s is a remarkable hospital.”

Cheryl says the Hospital aligns with her values, providing everyone justice and compassion with integrity while delivering excellent care. Cheryl understands that priorities change; she trusts the board to spend the money wisely for the most urgent need. Cheryl has chosen to provide for a percentage gift in her Will, which is the easiest way to achieve her goals – caring for her children and supporting St Vincent’s into the future with a gift that maintains its value over time.

Denise A’Hearn – A wonderful way to say thank you

Denise A'Hearn

Denise’s life changed dramatically in 2000, when she visited her local doctor with blurred vision and a strong pain that felt like ‘a sharp knife’ in the base of her skull. Denise was diagnosed with a slow bleeding aneurysm and was transferred immediately to St Vincent’s.

The primary school teacher spent 11 days in hospital, with six months of double vision and a long time attending outpatient clinics. With determination Denise has recovered and created a new life. “While I was pleased with my recovery, I didn’t feel it would be possible to return to the class room,” Denise explains. “As a parting gesture to the children I taught I wanted to highlight the importance of saying thank you.”

Denise sold her precious collection of children’s books cheaply and donated the funds to St Vincent’s. Later she learned of including gifts in a Will; a wonderful way to say thank you.

She is pleased to be able to give back for the fantastic care she received through her stay and subsequent recovery.

“The staff always had time to care and listen even when they were really busy, I never felt rushed.”

Denise admits she is lucky to be alive. She is also appreciative of her family and friends who gave her support in the early phase. Now she is returning the care to her family, including her brother, who received a liver transplant, and her mother, who is now in her mid-80s and needs extra support.