Stawell patient passes on gift of sight

STAWELL - Great Western resident George Humphrey may have passed away two years ago, but his legacy lives on thanks to an extraordinary act of generosity.

Mr Humphrey bequest $75,000 to the Stawell hospital after his death, aged 93 in 2012.

The money has allowed Stawell Regional Health to purchase a state of the art Lumera Eye microscope which will demonstrably increase the quality of treatment for patients suffering from eye conditions.

"Uncle George had already lost his left eye to Glaucoma and the doctor Michael Toohey had successfully removed a cataract in the right eye," niece Dianne Burton said.

"One of uncle George's great fears was to go blind, he didn't want to lose his sight."

Dr Toohey said Mr Humphreys was a humorous character and the two developed a strong friendship during the time as his patient.

Ms Burton said her uncle hadn't informed anyone of his intentions to leave the money to the hospital so they were faced with the decision of what to do with it.

"It did come as a surprise because uncle George was a private person, but then nothing would have surprised us because he was always so thoughtful and a real thinker," she said.

"As a family, we decided that because of his his love of sight and determination to ensure people maintained their ability to see that it would be good to use the the money to purchase this machine to make their lives better.

"We are just really wrapped that the money has gone towards this."

Mr Humphries was still working on the family farm at Great Western at age 90 and had lived their all his life, inheriting the property from his mother and father.

Thanks to negotiations between the hospital and Zeisspproduct specialist Jason Hurnall the original cost of the microscope, $93,000 was reduced to the sum of Mr Humphrey's donation.

Stawell Regional Health chief executive officer Rohan Fitzgerald welcomed the donation saying their is no greater gift than what Mr Humphreys has given.

"The Stawell hospital treats about 300 patients for cataract eye surgery every year, the Lumera Eye microscope contains red reflex technology that will give doctors an enhanced view of a patient's eyes," he said.

"It is a significant improvement and optimum piece of equipment for a facility of our size."

Mr Fitzgerald said the value of the new machine will not just be measured by the treatment of people in the Stawell community but further afield.

"The hospital is extremely grateful for the bequest. This is a significant contribution which will have impacts on many generations in to the future."

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