Overton Family Story

27 May 2019

You don’t expect to talk about your own death… But then Lyn and Ken’s story is a little different!

Life was good for the couple. They’d been married twenty-nine years, had four children and two grandchildren (now 15 grandchildren). Lyn was fit and active. “Neither of us had ever been ill, we were just sailing along,” agrees Ken.

The only hiccup was Lyn’s broken leg from a nasty fall. You don’t think a broken leg will soon potentially kill you.

When the unexpected – the very worst thing happens – you need to know you’ll get the care you need. This is where our Foundation comes in…

 Together with our community, the Foundation invests in excellence in medical research, facilities and education to advance the health and wellbeing of the people of North and North-West Tasmania.

You never know when you may need the breakthrough we’ve made possible!

It’s research like ours that gave Lyn world-class medical care and then saved Ken’s life just a few years later!

Ken tells the story: “We were walking into church and Lyn collapsed in my arms,” he adds, “Years ago I saw a man die at Uluru and when I looked at Lyn… I just knew that Lyn was dying and I laid her on the floor for what I thought was her last breath.”

What they didn’t know then was that a 23cm blood clot had travelled from Lyn’s broken leg, through her heart, obstructing her breathing and causing cardiac arrest.

A doctor, along with paramedics, worked on her for over thirty minutes, and they said that she was medically dead. “The Doctor said they could have issued a death certificate, but thankfully for us they kept going with CPR. says Ken gratefully.

Lyn suffered two more cardiac arrests on the way to hospital, and a third when she arrived. Her only chance of survival was life-saving surgery to remove a section of her skull and relieve the pressure building in her brain.

Four months later she walked out of hospital with nothing more than an elbow crutch and a paralysed right hand! Doctors call her a walking miracle!

We know better. Here at the Clifford Craig Foundation we fund medical research that delivers better treatments and even cures for people right here in our community. And, sometimes, we contribute to making miracles happen!

Medical research is a priority focus as we know that knowledge gained through research means better patient care and improved medical treatments. Furthermore, the research funding opportunities that we provide help to support the recruitment and retention of medical professionals to work here in North and North-West Tasmania.

To Ken’s surprise, he needed us just a few years after watching Lyn defy death.

Ken suffered an attack of severe hemorrhagic necrotic pancreatitis – which very few people survive. He fought multiple organ failure, and spent a total of eight months in the Launceston General Hospital, nearly four months in the ICU.

“During those eight months I was never given any hope of Ken’s survival,” Lyn says, “All they would say is, ‘When it’s all over, it’s all over one way or the other.”

However, just like his wife, Ken astonished doctors by making an almost full recovery! Although it was a long road back to health (it took him five months to learn how to talk and eleven months to be able to keep food down – losing 30 kg and fourteen months before he could walk unaided again), he is so thankful for the medical interventions that saved his life.

Ken says, “Now we live life in the awareness that every day is a gift, and we encourage others not to give up. To have hope. And to do all they can with the strength they have.”

Ken adds, “People need to know that when you are in a life-threatening situation, that the team at Launceston General Hospital don’t give up on you. I could have been transferred to a mainland hospital, but I was already receiving the best possible care according to a Professor in Melbourne.”

Please help us keep giving life – and hope – to others in our community!

Just four weeks ago, Lyn and Ken’s four-year-old granddaughter, Renee was rushed to emergency at Launceston General Hospital once again and put on life-saving equipment. Thankfully she was able to return home a few days later. Renee has been hospitalised sixteen times in four years, five of which resulted in Renee going on life-saving equipment. On behalf of this family, thank you for your support of research that can save lives!

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