Wife’s mem­ory lives on

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Hay­den Smith

AN in­spired Port Dou­glas man hopes the mem­ory of his beloved late wife can be used to ben­e­fit the wider shire com­mu­nity.

Re­tired busi­ness­man Roger Gib­bons will never for­get the day he met Marie Le­Croy, an Amer­i­can real es­tate agent with a “sunny per­son­al­ity”.

“I was stay­ing in Dal­las on Au­gust 15, 2012, and we both went out for din­ner with mu­tual friends,” he said.

“She was an in­cred­i­bly open per­son with a ter­rific laugh and a soft Texan ac­cent. I knew this was the per­son I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.”

But soon af­ter re­turn­ing to Aus­tralia Mr Gib­bons re­ceived un­ex­pected and sad­den­ing news – Marie, then in her early 50s, had been di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer.

De­spite the set­back the pair’s ro­mance con­tin­ued to flour­ish, and in late 2012 Marie made her first trip to Port Dou­glas.

“She fit­ted in here very well, there wouldn’t have been a sin­gle friend of mine who didn’t warm to Marie,” Mr Gib­bons said.

They mar­ried in Dal­las on Fe­bru­ary 21 last year, but Marie’s con­di­tion be­gan to de­te­ri­o­rate. On her fi­nal trip to Port Dou­glas, in Au­gust 2015, she be­came “ex­tremely ill” and was taken to Moss­man Hos­pi­tal. Marie was flown to Bris­bane for fur­ther treat­ment, but on Septem­ber 14 she died at The Wes­ley Hos­pi­tal aged just 55.

Now, less than six months later, Mr Gib­bons plans on hon­our­ing his late wife by rais­ing money for im­por­tant new tech­nol­ogy at Moss­man Hos­pi­tal. Through the Marie Le­Croy Moss­man Hos­pi­tal OPG Pro­ject, he hopes to raise at least $50,000 for an or­thopan­to­mo­gram ma­chine – ad­vanced X-Ray equip­ment used by den­tal prac­ti­tion­ers.

While ad­mit­ting a breast can­cer re­lated pro­ject was not pos­si­ble at a small hos­pi­tal like Moss­man, Mr Gib­bons said a new OPG ma­chine would pro­vide a valu­able ser­vice to pa­tients and an­other in­come stream for the hos­pi­tal.

“I know Marie would be pleased for some­thing pos­i­tive to come out of her death,” he said. “Not a day goes by when I don’t re­flect on the three amaz­ing years we spent to­gether.” Peter Le Grif­fon, di­rec­tor of nurs­ing at Moss­man Hos­pi­tal, said there was a strong de­mand for an OPG ma­chine in Dou­glas Shire.

“A lot of peo­ple have to go to Cairns for a fairly sim­ple pro­ce­dure, but this would save a huge amount of travel time,” he said.

Pic­ture: SUP­PLIED

Marie Le­Croy spend­ing some qual­ity time in the Far North.

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