Personal connection sparks a lifetime of giving

Personal connection sparks a lifetime of giving

Illuminate newsletter index page, Autumn 2021
March 2021

Margaret Johnson has been donating to WEHI since 1986.

For Margaret Johnson, it was a personal connection and an empathy for people living in low-income countries that led her to donate to WEHI.

Mrs Johnson was diagnosed with malaria as a 23-year-old high school teacher after returning from a church trip to Vanuatu, where she had been helping build dormitories for a local school.

From that moment on, she felt a strong connection to the plight of people in low-income countries and the impacts of diseases on their communities.

“Being diagnosed with malaria gave me a first-hand experience of the condition and an appreciation of the impact it has on people’s lives,” she said.

“I also read an article in a UNESCO magazine and learned about the prevalence of malaria and how it could prevent people from sowing their crops for the next season because they didn’t have the energy for planting. Those two things prompted me to donate to WEHI’s malaria research.”

Mrs Johnson began donating to WEHI in 1986 after her first husband died. She has been a dedicated supporter ever since.

She said her connection with WEHI had impressed upon her the importance of funding basic science endeavours that could lead to vital discoveries and the development of new treatments.

“Through my faith, I have learnt how interconnected our lives are and that we should be sharing our resources with those who don’t have as much as we do.

“I’m just one cog in the wheel contributing to the research WEHI does, but I’m pleased to be able to donate to something that will help make a difference to people’s lives.”

Mrs Johnson said she hoped the work of WEHI researchers would one day bring an end to malaria.

“Medical research vastly improves community health. It creates a society where people won’t be disadvantaged by these types of illnesses. Many diseases are now preventable because of breakthroughs in medical research,” she said.

“I’d be very excited if we were able to eliminate malaria because it is an endemic issue in many parts of the world. I’d like to see conditions improved for people worldwide.”

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