When local footy player Bradley Hayes was badly hurt during a Rugby League match, the staff at Soul Pattinson Chemist in Crookwell, NSW, knew it was time to rally around him.
For the last year, Soul Pattinson Crookwell has run a few barbecues to raise funds for local causes, such as the town’s nursing home and its district hospital.
“We’ve held a fundraising barbecue every four months or so, and we decide on local and current events that happen in town,” explained pharmacist in charge Linda Lee.
“The 16-year-old boy, Brad, who was injured and his family are regular customers of ours. He was playing a football match, and unfortunately dislocated his spine, near his neck.
“He’s had surgery done, but he’s wheelchair-bound for now and he’s still in therapy; we don’t know how far along he’s going to come. He can’t walk and can barely move one arm.
“We decided to do a fund-raiser to aid his recovery, because obviously a lot of the equipment he needs is really expensive.
“The whole town has gotten behind us – it’s been fantastic.”
In only three hours at the barbecue, the pharmacy raised over $800.
“We’re a small community, and so it’s up to us to give back to the community,” says Lee, who is originally from Brisbane and moved to Crookwell a year ago.
“I’ve always had an interest in rural health,” says Lee. “I can actually do my job better, as a pharmacist, in a rural area compared to the city because a lot of people in the city don’t really care what a pharmacist has to say.
“In a rural town they respect the opinion of the pharmacist as well as the doctor, and come to you with a lot more problems, so you can actually counsel them properly.
“I’ve worked for four or five years in the city and ended up feeling like I was just in a glorified retail position, whereas here I feel like a pharmacist.”
She says she is impressed with the way the Crookwell community has rallied around Hayes, with several fund-raisers including a raffle set up to help him and his family.
“This is personal here, and so everybody gets behind it – even if it’s just a couple of dollars, they get involved and they do what they can.”
The Crookwell Community Trust has set up a trust fund for Hayes at the Crookwell Bendigo Bank.
Image: Linda Lee, Harry Hayes (Brad’s brother), Matt Hayes (his father) and Annemaree Offley (Soul Pattinson Retail Manager). Image courtesy Linda Lee.