Time and distance were against David Chaplin when the toddler was diagnosed with a rare heart condition.
It was 1961 and the 20-month-old had been given four weeks to live but a surgeon 14,000 kilometres away offered hope.
The final hurdle was the prohibitive cost of the travel and surgery but The Examiner called for donations and the community’s response was overwhelming.
In less than 14 hours, more than twice the £2000 needed (more than $100,000 in today’s currency) had been donated.
Sadly the travel was too much for David, who succumbed to the condition upon landing in Los Angeles – 2000 kilometres and two days short of a potential cure.
The community was left with a large sum of money and it was decided the David Chaplin Memorial Trust would be formed to fund the travel cost of families with children who needed to seek care interstate.
Jan Chaplin was only six months old when her brother died and her mother Shirley and father Alan rarely discussed David.
“We always had a photo of David though in the livingroom.”
David’s legacy lives on in the trust, which donates tens of thousands of dollars each year.
“It’s good that something good comes out of it … it’s been passed forward to so many others and I know so many people, people who come up to me and say a family member had been helped.
“It’s a very good legacy and memorial … everytime you see a happy story, it’s something to celebrate.”
Recipient Suzy Knox said the trust had changed their lives after their daughter Lizzy was introduced to it via social workers at the LGH.
“On that day our life became a little easier,” Suzy said. “ Now, with the help of your donations, when we go to Melbourne the struggle is less.
“Our beautiful Lizzy is a true fighter and even with the heartbreaking news that she is slowing losing this crappy battle, to know that you are willing to make our lives a lot easier, it makes the journey a lot less worrying.
“Thank you seems a small word for the help you have given us but from our hearts thank you.”