Supporter profile: Eric’s lasting impact

Date published

02 Aug 2022

Wonderful supporters, like Eric, who make the kind-hearted decision to leave a gift in their Will to the Royal Flying Doctor Service (South Eastern Section) help ensure that we will be there for outback communities in need for generations to come.

Eric loves the outback. So much so that after completing his teaching qualifications in Armidale, he spent all his career living and working in country towns including Mittagong, Dubbo, Goolgowi and Bathurst.

Even today at 81-years-old, he enjoys getting out on long driving trips to explore the Far West of NSW and visit communities like Tibooburra. “I just love the red sand hills and the outback people.”

Eric’s first interaction with the Flying Doctor came back in the early 1970s when he was living in the small town of Hillston near Griffith. His young daughter had fallen from a stool while taking clothes off the line and broke her arm badly. After several days in Griffith Hospital her condition worsened, and the Flying Doctor was called to pick her up to be taken to Sydney for emergency surgery.

Then 12 years ago, Eric found himself in need of our lifesaving service when he woke up with the tingling sensation of pins and needles all over his body. He took himself to the local hospital, where the heart specialist said he was in a critical condition and had to get down to Sydney quickly. Within minutes Eric was on his way to the airport, where a Flying Doctor plane came to take him to Prince of Wales Hospital for quadruple by-pass surgery.

Eric says he couldn’t be more grateful to the Royal Flying Doctor Service (South Eastern Section) who were there to help him that day.

“Without the Flying Doctor team, I wouldn’t be here. They’ve given me 12 wonderful years of extra life so far. They’re very dedicated people. What they do is a calling, not just a job.”

Outside of his personal experiences, Eric has also seen first-hand the impact the Flying Doctor has had on rural, regional and remote communities. He used to visit Willandra Station, now known as Willandra National Park, when he lived in Hillston and remembers a family there whose supplies only came in once a year. He estimates that the cemetery out there is about 50% full of women who died in childbirth in the days before the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Eric chose to leave a gift in his Will to the Flying Doctor to “say thanks”, but also to make sure others living in outback Australia have equal access to the vital care, support and peace of mind he has been given

“People who live out there face great hardships. Without the Flying Doctor providing that mantle of safety, any would simply not survive. Keeping an aircraft running is very expensive, and the Royal Flying Doctor Service needs all the help it can get with that.”