Memory lives on in Mossman

11/07/2017

ROGER Gibbons met the love of his life relatively late in life and lost her after three short years.
But her memory will live on forever in a little hospital in Far North Queensland due to the care, compassion and empathy she received from the staff there. Dallas, Texas citizen Marie LeCroy was undergoing cancer treatment through doctors in Dallas, America and the Wesley Hospital in Brisbane but the care she received at Mossman Hospital, north of Cairns had a huge impact.
So much so, that after she died, Mr Gibbons set up a fundraising tribute in her honour, which is finalised this week with the opening of the Mossman Hospital OPG machine.
“We were in Port Douglas for a few days on holidays when Marie became ill and we came to the Mossman Hospital for treatment,” Mr Gibbons said. She had had a special stent installed in her brain to enable methotrexate to be delivered and keep cancer at bay for as long as possible.
But it was while they were in Port Douglas that fluid started leaking from the stent and so the help of Mossman Hospital was sought. “We rang Marie’s doctors in Dallas because of the time difference and they were able to help the Mossman Hospital staff do what they needed to do,” Mr Gibbons said. “Those staff were so caring and compassionate and had so much empathy for what we were going through,” he said.
Sadly Marie died in Brisbane aged 55 just a few weeks later, but Mr Gibbons wanted to give something back to the Mossman community that had so much impact on them both. Fundraising was launched through the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation website in March 2016 and by July enough had been raised for the OPG machine – a special facial and dental xray device, at Mossman Hospital. “Really without the 53 individual donors, this would not have happened – no matter how much they donated, their gift was extremely generous. Marie’s hairdresser made a donation, her family made donations and even people from local businesses in Port Douglas contributed as well,” Mr Gibbons said.
“Marie’s memory will live there forever and the patients there will benefit forever and because this machine will generate revenue for the hospital, it will help that hospital improve over time as well,” Mr Gibbons said.
“I was incredibly lucky to meet the love of my life at a relatively late stage of life but we had three beautiful years together,” he said.
Mossman Hospital Multi-Purpose Health Service Director of Nursing Peter LeGriffon said when Mr Gibbons approached him for a fundraising idea, he thought he had maybe a couple of thousand dollars in mind. “Roger said to me he was thinking more along the lines of $50,000 and I nearly fell off my chair. The great thing about this OPG machine is that it will save people having to go down to Cairns for this test and it will create a revenue stream for the hospital so we can continue to grow and improve our services,” Mr LeGriffon said.
Foundation CEO Tony Franz said he was grateful Mr Gibbons had chosen the Hospital Foundation to assist with the fundraising resulting in this wonderful state-of-the-art piece of equipment being provided to improve the quality of health care in Far North Queensland.    

Photo 1: Roger Gibbons with some of the staff who cared for his wife Marie in Mossman Hospital - Dr Darryl d'Souza, Kath Anich and Susan Meldrum.

Photo 2: Roger and Marie in happier times.

Photo 3: Roger and Dr d'Souza.

Photo 4: The new OPG machine at Mossman Hospital.

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