Alex Baxter’s (pictured left) gentle nature and amazing spirit will be treasured at Epworth and the Day Oncology Unit at Epworth Eastern forever.
Allwyn Isaac, Epworth Eastern Nurse Unit Manager (pictured right), has worked in day oncology at Epworth Eastern for 15 years, caring for many patients with cancer. He won’t forget Alex Baxter, who spent long hours at the unit, receiving regular care for leukaemia.
Sadly, Alex passed away late last year.
Alex keenly supported the unit through the Epworth Medical Foundation and wanted a special way to express his gratitude and respect for his Epworth team.
Through an endowed gift in his Will, the Dr Alexander Baxter Nursing Scholarship will allow an Epworth nurse to undertake training or research to improve patient care – every single year, forever.
Alex was passionate about education.
His life took him on an interesting journey, born in Glasgow, Scotland, before crossing countries with his family and growing up in Canberra. He trained as an engineering surveyor and later followed a passion for allied health through qualifications in acupuncture and hypnosis, and a Doctor of Chiropractic in 1987.
Those living in the Box Hill area would be familiar with his chiropractic practice, based locally for 35 years. Alex was very focused on patient care and how it could be improved by growing the relationships between himself, GPs and specialists.
Alex’s time in day oncology inspired his giving.
“He was a very generous, open-minded person,” Allwyn describes Alex.
“Initially we didn’t have too many chats, and then as the day went along and he observed everything, he would ask about what is happening in the unit.”
Day oncology treatments can take six to eight hours to administer, and so naturally, patients get to know the team well.
“What they’re going through is not easy. Mentally and emotionally it’s very hard for them,” Allwyn says.
“So it’s a very bubbly unit here with patients. Always friendly, chit chatting and laughing to keep the environment up. That makes a big difference for the patients.”
After observing in his measured way, Alex wanted to directly help the team who was helping him.
“He was a medical person and looked around to see if we were lacking anything. He would say, ‘tell me how I can help the unit to develop.’
“He willingly came forward to support us, actually,” Allwyn says.
Supporting nurses, now and in the future
Alex’s first gift was the generous purchase of three advanced workstations for the Day Oncology Unit, to help administer chemotherapy and ensure the right treatments are given.
His priority was investing in equipment that was guaranteed to make a tangible impact into the future. Allwyn remembers the day Alex got to see the units in action.
“He was so thrilled that it was going to be used for a long time,” Allwyn says.
Alex’s forward-thinking nature is also evident in his choice to establish an endowed scholarship, via a gift in his Will to Epworth.
The first of many Dr Alexander Baxter Nursing Scholarships will be awarded in 2023. Every single year in his honour, an Epworth nurse will have the opportunity to pursue better ways to treat and care for patients.
As an Epworth nurse himself, Allwyn hopes to apply for the scholarship in the future.
“So many people have benefitted from scholarships. It’s a wonderful thing what patients and supporters do for us.”
To learn more about the impact of philanthropy at Epworth, visit News and Stories.