Peter's Story

Friday, 13 September 2019 - 12:47pm

We’d like to share the story of Peter, a fellow who never sought thanks, but who made such an impact on the team of the Foundation and the work that we’re here to support. 

Peter’s story might be familiar to many – in some ways it’s a typical Tassie story, but Peter  is one of several who quietly stood out, who decided to make a difference.

It’s hard to imagine what life might’ve been like growing up as the youngest of 13 children in Gretna during 1925.  Perhaps in some ways it’s even harder to imagine that Peter leaves a legacy that will make an impact almost a century past that point. But after attending a local school, Peter moved to Hobart High and from there he began his first job as a copy boy, working with The Mercury, before moving on to spend some time employed by the Department of Health where he made several lifelong friends. Maybe it was in those days that Peter first became interested in general health, or maybe it was during his time working in administration with the Hydro, when Peter was first diagnosed with osteoarthritis and then Meniere’s Disease in the 1950s.

Either way, this saw the commencement of a long association with the RHH as Peter worked with clinicians to help manage a challenging condition.  There were often visits to A&E when symptoms became more difficult, but while these experiences may have made some feel less than positive, Peter saw things differently. Instead, he chose to become an active participant in not only his own treatment, but also contributing further into the condition of Meniere’s Disease, regularly corresponding with researchers at a national level and becoming involved in work designed to improve the wellbeing of others who experienced symptoms, including ongoing tinnitus and vertigo.

Given Peter’s clear decision to live a full life despite those challenges, in some ways it wasn’t surprising to find out more from Peter’s friends Rod and Penny when meeting with them recently. They spoke of his determination and also of his love of walking, especially spending time hiking in our Tasmanian bushland (so admirable given osteoarthritis and the symptoms of Meniere’s!). While Peter never had his own family, he enjoyed sharing his passions with others – Rod describes him as a great raconteur, a marvellous conversationalist with a sound sense of humour, while Penny notes that he was a true gentleman, a friend to anyone who enjoyed building a close, but wide network around him.

The RHHRF came to know Peter when he gave an unexpected, but rather significant first gift in 2012.  We gave him a call to say thank you and that was when we began to know Peter a little more. Every now and again over the following years, Peter would again make gifts both large and small, completely unexpectedly each time. We came to know more about Peter, including what motivated his gifts and how important he felt the work of the RHHRF continues to be in adding to the field of cutting edge medical research.

What we didn’t know was that Peter had nominated the Foundation as a significant beneficiary in his Will. When we learned of his passing, our team was saddened, we had lost a great friend. We were sad that we hadn’t known about the enduring gift that Peter wanted to make to our work through a bequest, because we would have loved to say thank you for that too. But in coming to know his friends Rod and Penny, we have also come to learn that this was Peter’s way. He was a generous man who was eager to make a difference and sought no thanks in return. Peter’s gifts during life and then through a bequest, will make a difference to local researchers and our broader community in times to come – we hope he knows how much we appreciate this.

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