The Perth Lions Club’s donation of $4000 to Cystic Fibrosis Tasmania at its October trivia night was more than just a gesture of generosity and goodwill for many of the club’s members.
For club secretary Ralph McGee and his son, Curtis Mcgee, it was a deeply personal tribute to their lost son and brother respectively.
Aaron McGee died in 2010 at the age of 29, after a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis.
“I remember going to the hospital to see [Aaron] a lot,” Curtis said.
The insidious disease slowly shuts down all of the bodily organs, except for the brain. The lungs are the organ most affected by the genetic disorder.
“Aaron was always short of breath,” Curtis said.
“Walking from the front door, down the short driveway, to the letter box would completely put him out of breath.”
Tasmania has the highest rate of cystic fibrosis carriers in the world after Ireland, with one in 20 people carrying the gene.
Despite this, Cystic Fibrosis Tasmania operates without government funding or support.
The organisation assists sufferers by offering physiotherapy equipment, counselling, financial assistance and free nebulisers, however it has to rely on donations such as the one from the Perth Lions Club.
The club raised $3300 from October’s trivia event, however it announced afterward that it would increase the donation toward Cystic Fibrosis Tasmania to $4000.
The difference was contributed directly from the club’s coffers.
“I really loved it when the club put the sum up to $4000 – that was really awesome,” Curtis said.
“I’m involved with Cystic Fibrosis Tasmania as well, so I get to see where that money goes, who it goes towards and who it actually helps.
“Because [the organisation] is not government-funded, it needs fundraisers and funds from people like us.”
Perth Lions Club president Brian Mathieson said the event was a very “personal” affair.
“There was very much a personal and emotional event, and we had a lot of information being displayed about cystic fibrosis,” Mr Mathieson said.