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7th April 2022 Latest News

Dawn's Reflection

Old couple smiling at the front of their house, in front of their rollerdoor

One of our valued supporters Dawn Day has shared her powerful story on why she gives to MESHA. Read her reflection below.

“I was recently asked why I am a supporter of MESHA and if I would like to share my story.

The story is that my late husband Max served in the Army in World War II. With others, he helped clean up after the Cowra Outbreak, served in New Guinea, was there when Lt General Adachi of Japan signed the surrender and later served with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan.

When he returned to civilian life, he resumed his old job, we got married and raised a family of three boys in country South Australia. Later in life he developed heart problems which limited his capacity to work. Luckily, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) had supported us in buying our house, so we didn’t have large monthly payments to deal with.

In 2011 Max had a mitral valve replacement and had to travel to Adelaide for treatment. In 2013, he was having difficulties with his breathing. Another trip to Adelaide and a ‘gluggy’ mess was found in his left lung. With an operation being too risky, we enlisted the help of a lung specialist, dietitian and physiotherapist. The more ‘glug’ gathered in the lung, the harder the heart worked to try and compensate.

Once again with DVA’s support, a medical team, our three sons ready to do as much as they could to make
their father’s life as comfortable as possible; we returned home, and the battle began.

In 2014, an attempt was made to clear Max’s lung, but to no avail. He spent three weeks in the Royal Adelaide Hospital. What followed was more trips to Adelaide, one for skin cancer surgery in 2015 and another in 2019 to have a pacemaker implanted.

On his return to Mount Gambier, the battle raged on as everybody did their best in Max’s defence. Right through it all, a couple from the local RSL visited us, endeavouring to keep our spirits high.

For seven years Max fought for his life. His condition deteriorated, he got Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) and had to go on a pureed diet. His fluid intake was limited and was on 24/7 oxygen. He was so brave, but in the end he just couldn’t fight any longer. He was completely exhausted. A massive stroke took away his ability to speak clearly and one day in late July 2020, I sat beside his bed. We held each other tightly and
for hours we sat there, with me saying ‘I love you’ and him nodding.

By morning he was gone.

So, you asked why I have become a supporter of MESHA? I remember the feelings of helplessness and isolation Max and I felt when we first heard the diagnosis, and how those feelings changed when others gathered around us for that final desperate battle.

I hope and pray that no one, who willingly risks their life and health for us all, will ever have to suffer alone or be neglected.

We see MESHA as a way to help prevent this from happening through their support of our service personnel and their families.”

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