May 13, 2016

The transition to volunteer work seemed a natural progression – Frank Stevenson

National Volunteer Week is an annual celebration to acknowledge the generous contribution of our volunteers. Lung Foundation Australia takes this opportunity to thank the hundreds of volunteers who generously donate their time, skills and support to making lung health a priority in Australia.

This week we have put together a few profiles of our hardworking volunteers so that you can get to know them too. Here’s Frank:

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

I was born in Lismore in 1944 to parents who were dairy farmers. At age two we moved to Samford, just outside Brisbane, where I started primary school. We subsequently moved to suburban Boondall where I finished primary school and completed two years at Sandgate State High School. I played cricket and AFL at club level and dabbled in athletic and swimming at school. My current hobbies include reading, gardening, collecting Australian stamps and some woodworking.

I started work for what is now QSuper in 1961 and stayed there until 1994. While there I met Denise and we married in 1967. I have two sons and three grandchildren. I left the public service in 1994, about the same time Denise retired because of back problems. Shortly after Denise was diagnosed with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and as her condition progressed I became her fulltime carer. One of Denise’s sisters died from this disease some years earlier so Denise knew what the future held for her. She was listed for a lung transplant in 2011.Unfortunately, due to post-transplant complications Denise passed away in October that same year. I now live in a granny flat with one of our sons and his family.

Why did you become a volunteer at Lung Foundation Australia?

Denise’s Thoracic Specialist was associated with the Lung Foundation Australia and suggested we join a support group. The transition to volunteer work seemed a natural progression.

What is the most rewarding part of volunteering?

As with most people, it is the satisfaction of doing something for others who are not in a position to do so. I suppose I have volunteered for many years when the boys were playing sport; coaching, managing, canteen work – the usual stuff.

Apart from doing something for others, the association with other people is very important. Sometimes the company of others is better than your own. You get conversation and different points of view on many subjects.

Would you encourage others to volunteer?

Those in politics say that without volunteers many of the things which we take for granted would not happen, for example junior sporting groups, charity organisations, school canteens and a myriad of others.

Would I urge other to volunteer? Definitely. It is far better than sitting around vegetating.