Good Samaritan Fund Changes Lives
For Bolton Clarke At Home Support client Norma, the kindness of community has been life-changing over the past year.
Norma, who had polio as a child and has limited mobility, says daily visits from her Bolton Clarke nurses and support from her neighbours in East Brunswick have helped her stay independent in the home she has lived in all her life.
But the wider community of Bolton Clarke supporters has played an equally important role through the organisation’s Good Samaritan Fund, which has paid for special compression bandages required to help heal a leg wound and treat Norma’s lymphedema.
“We use a special pump on Norma’s legs every day because she has quite severe lymphedema,” nurse Simone Ringdahl explains.
“Norma also has to have special compression bandages on her leg to help her heal. They are a really expensive product and need to be changed regularly, so the financial impact for her to buy them would have been considerable.
“Fortunately, Norma’s bandages could be funded through the Good Samaritan Fund which has just been marvellous for her.
“The greatest thing is seeing the progress she has been able to make with the funding and to see the success of the treatment.”
“I couldn’t live without the nurses,” Norma says. “They are so skilful, and I am incredibly grateful for the treatment they give me.
“I had an ulcer on my leg, and I had to go to the doctor a couple of times a week. They finally said, ‘You should get the District Nurse’.
“My legs were in a terrible state when the nurses first came, but they cured it.”
For Norma, receiving specialised nursing support at home means she can stay in the house which has been her lifelong home.
“I grew up in this house with my two sisters and my brother,” she says. “I never drove a car because I was always able to do things around the area and catch the trams.”
She attended church and school locally.
“When we were children during the war years, we had to practice in case there was a bomb. We were told to hide under the table.
“I remember we were all packed up ready to evacuate to Mt Macedon – we had our little knapsacks and everything ready – but fortunately the war took a turn for the better so we stayed.”
In her 40s Norman went to Melbourne University, earning an Arts degree.
“I wanted to stay there – it was wasted on the young!” she says.
Later she was part of a committee that brought together a book recording the history of their local church, Our Lady Help of Christians, with Norma one of two editors on the landmark project.
On the effects of COVID-19, Norma says she coped with the isolation because spending time alone has always been part of her life.
“I had polio at four years old and I was in hospital for seven months, and that affected my whole life. I’d often be left out of things, so I grew up being on my own.
“It didn’t worry me very much – I haven’t been isolated because I’ve had the nurses coming in every day.
“I haven’t been able to see my family but my sister and I kept in touch on Facetime on my iPad."
Her neighbourhood was also a great support.
“I can’t get out unless someone can get me through the door, and that’s a bit of a struggle.
“I’ve depended on my neighbours over the year – I have a man next door who does the bins for me and a bit of shopping if necessary, and a lady over the road, and the new neighbours haven’t been able to meet me but made me a poster with pictures of them and their children so I’d know them.
“I’m so lucky around here – it’s extraordinary really.”
Bolton Clarke’s Good Samaritan Fund can be a lifeline for clients like Norma to cover the costs of essential supplies or equipment when injury or ill health strikes.