Giving back

For Denise Ahern, primary school teaching was a rewarding career. She loved the children she taught, and the migration waves during the 70s, 80s and & 90s added that extra element of interest with many children arriving from the Middle East, Southern Europe and South America. The children played together and taught each other about their cultural heritage, which was a wonderful experience for everyone.

However Denise’s life changed dramatically in 2000, when she visited her local doctor with blurred vision and a strong pain that felt like ‘a sharp knife’ in the base of her skull. Denise was diagnosed with a slow bleeding aneurysm and was transferred immediately to St Vincent’s.

After eleven days in hospital, six months of blurred vision and a long time attending outpatient clinics, with determination Denise has recovered and created a new life for herself.  Her love of family history has uncovered many gems of information and revealed connections to the Eureka stockade, Ned Kelly and a fallen solider in France.

Denise Ahern

‘While I was pleased with my recovery, I didn’t feel it would be possible to return to the class room,’ Denise explains. ‘As a parting gesture to the children I taught I wanted to highlight the importance of saying thank you.’

Denise sold her precious collection of children’s books cheaply and donated the funds to St Vincent’s. Later she learned of including Gifts in Will, a wonderful way to say thank you for the fantastic care she received through her stay and subsequent recovery.

‘The staff always had time to care and listen even when they were really busy, I never felt rushed.’

Denise admits she is lucky to be alive. She is also appreciative of her family and friends who gave her support in the early phase. Now she is returning the care to her family, including her brother, who received a liver transplant, and her mother, who is now in her late 80s and needs extra support.

Denise’s kindness will live on, and reach many more people in the community as she has included a gift in her Will. St Vincent’s is very grateful to all those people who include us in their Will. The impact can be extremely beneficial and far reaching for many families in their time of need.

If you are thinking about giving, perhaps including St Vincent’s in your Will is something you would like to discuss? Please contact Sue Worland on 9231 3363, or

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