Dr Pat Stevens was a well-known, well-liked general practitioner (GP) in Taree.
In 2007, at age 60, he died suddenly.
To honour him and what he stood for, his wife Mary and brother Les worked with Dr David Keegan to set up the Dr Pat Stevens Memorial Scholarship. The fund was run through the University of Newcastle to support the studies in the Bachelor of Medicine of a financially or socially disadvantaged student of the Great Lakes, Gloucester and Greater Taree areas.
According to David, co-ordinator of the fund, recent changes in the rules around scholarships meant it no longer qualified, so Mary started looking for where to donate the remaining amount.
David, who had known Pat quite well having worked on Pat’s 2001 federal campaign for the seat of Lyne, assisted Mary with a few suggestions about where she could distribute the money.
Manning Valley Push for Palliative (MVP4P) was one of the options and given it was an area that Pat was interested in, it was agreed to donate $15,000 to the organisation, with the remaining funds going to help one final rural health student.
MVP4P chair Judy Hollingworth said it’s the largest single donation the group has received and will go toward a range of specialist equipment to provide care in the home.
“This donation means the community is aware of the need for palliative care,” she said. “This supports people who want to stay out of hospital or nursing homes but can’t get government funding in time.”
“It’s about giving people a choice about where they finish their lives.”
The funds will go toward purchasing home care aids that will be made available on loan via Taree Community Health Centre and the Palliative Care Outreach Team.
Receiving the funds in Pat’s honour means a lot to Judy.
“So many people knew him,” she explained.
“He was very popular,” David added.
MVP4P is holding a fundraising car boot bazaar on Sunday, May 20 at Bohnock Riverside.