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Giving back

Stories — Posted 12/08/13

Joining Medibank as a doctor helped Simone Spry give back to both the organisation and The Smith Family, who assisted with her medical studies.

Simone Spry works in Medibank’s immigration business line where she sees clients for visa medical examinations, conducts carer visa examinations and is involved with the Employee Engagement team.

Joining Medibank 18 months ago as a doctor joined the dots on a connection with the organisation first formed when Simone started receiving assistance from The Smith Family during her six years of medical studies.

The Medibank Community Fund partners with The Smith Family to help disadvantaged children get the most out of their education so they can go on to make the best of their lives. By sponsoring students who have chosen to pursue health-related careers, Medibank invests in the future delivery of health services.

“The Smith Family do so much to encourage and support education for those who otherwise would struggle to meet their potential. I feel honoured to work for a company that supports such an organisation and values the importance of a strong educational basis,” says Simone.

Growing up in rural Western Australia, a strong desire to help people drew Simone to medicine along with the opportunities and challenges the field presents. With three younger brothers and tertiary studies requiring relocation to Perth, Simone’s family was unable to financially fund her university education. Being such a demanding course, part-time work was difficult to find time for and a Learning for Life scholarship from The Smith Family helped make Simone’s studies a reality.

“I was very grateful to receive a Learning for Life scholarship through The Smith Family. I received a set amount of money each year from a personal Sponsor. I knew his first name, and he knew my first name and about my course. He always sent me a card and gift voucher at Christmas and I really enjoyed writing to him and telling him what I had been up to, my goals and aspirations and what I had achieved each year.”

Since graduating, Simone has completed a Diploma of Child Health and a Certificate in Clinical Occupational Medicine. This year she has also commenced studying a Master of Public Health.

“I really enjoy the many opportunities that medicine gives you – from the clinical care in hospitals and clinics, to health management and public health.  I love that medicine is always changing and there is so much room for more study and knowledge.”

Being a daily source of health information for her patients and clients, we asked Simone what was the best health advice she had received in her life.

“Regular exercise! When I first started working, I let my regular exercise slip by the wayside. Last year I completed the Couch to 5km running program and feel so much better now that I exercise most days of the week. I sleep better, eat better and have so much more energy. I started getting up one hour earlier to exercise and have found that even though I am sleeping one hour less per day, I actually have more energy during the day due to improved cardiovascular fitness and better quality sleep.”

This year Simone has decided to give back to The Smith Family and is sponsoring a student through the same Learning for Life program that helped her. She believed it was time to return the favour and urges others to consider personal sponsorship.

“The assistance I received from The Smith Family helped me enormously to achieve my goals and I am so glad I can assist another student in the same way. I am also looking at getting involved in mentoring and would encourage others to contact The Smith Family about how they can assist.”

Extra   The Medibank Community Fund sponsors 68 secondary and tertiary students supported by The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program. For more about the program visit medibankcf.com.au.
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