Jane Ramsey’s stay at Flinders was short, but her legacy will be long-lasting

Thanks to the generosity of the Ramsey family and support from Flinders Foundation, a new PhD scholarship has been established in the Multiple Myeloma Translational Research Laboratory at Flinders University.

The Jane Watson Ramsey PhD Scholarship in Multiple Myeloma Research will further the groundbreaking research into the incurable blood cancer taking place at Flinders.

Jane was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2019 and referred to Flinders where she could be cared for by clinician and researcher, Associate Professor Craig Wallington-Gates – Head of Myeloma and Amyloidosis Services at Flinders Medical Centre and the Multiple Myeloma Translational Research Laboratory at Flinders University.

Unfortunately, by that stage Jane was too unwell to participate in treatments or trials that could prolong her life, but she developed a strong bond with A/Prof Wallington-Gates.

When Jane’s husband, Bill, left the hospital at night to look after the couple’s beloved toy poodles (pictured below) at home, A/Prof Wallington-Gates would sit with Jane.

“Listening to Dr Craig speak and being around him, you could easily say, ‘that’s a good friend of mine’. I’ve said that to him, ‘you’re a friend for life’. I have never thought that about a doctor before.

“Dr Craig would talk to Jane. They would laugh, cry together and share stories. Jane just liked him.”

A retired Junior Primary School Teacher, Jane was interested in learning more about the research into multiple myeloma and was inspired to support A/Prof Wallington-Gates and his team.

“It was early in the piece when Jane was in palliative care at Flinders. I think she knew she didn’t have much time left,” Bill says.

“I was sitting with her one evening and we were talking and holding hands. Jane said, ‘I want you to do something for me. When I die, I want you to sell the block of land and give the proceeds to multiple myeloma research at Flinders’.”

Sadly, Jane passed away on 2 November 2019 – 22 years to the day since Jane and Bill were married at her parents’ house in Hahndorf. Bill fulfilled Jane’s wish, organising the sale of Jane’s piece of land and working with Flinders Foundation to find the best way to honour her memory.

A/Prof Wallington-Gates says Jane and Bill’s incredible kindness has the potential to change the lives of people affected by multiple myeloma.

“I treasure my memories of Jane and continue to be overwhelmed by her and her family’s generosity and passion for medical research,“ A/Prof Wallington-Gates says.

“Caring for Jane was incredibly special, and she always trusted in my judgement and ability to do what was best for her. I am eternally indebted to Jane and her family, and this PhD scholarship will be one of her enduring legacies, through which I hope a cure for multiple myeloma will be found.”

Bill has remained in touch with A/Prof Wallington-Gates and enjoys receiving updates about his research. Born in the United States, Bill has been overwhelmed by the generosity of family and friends all over the world, who have also supported multiple myeloma research. Bill continues to give to the cause, making donations in amounts that are significant to both he and Jane, like her birthdate.

“I just hope we help somebody to find a cure for multiple myeloma. Jane wanted that money to go towards something, and I know that it is. It’s going to help somebody – I’m absolutely convinced of that,” Bill said.

“It might take years to fully realise, but it will allow somebody to do the research so a cure can be found. This was Jane’s wish, and I’m more than pleased to help her fulfil it.”


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