Volunteers who donate their time to visit lonely patients makes all the difference to patients like Ursula Tanti.

And you too can help improve the lives of vulnerable patients at Western Health, by donating to the Greatest Need Project.

WHEN it came to keeping her marriage vows of ’in sickness and in health’, Ursula Tanti went above and beyond.

At 5.15am every day, she would jump on the first of three buses to visit her husband Guyta in hospital.

For eight months she made the journey to Footscray and Sunshine health services, arriving in time to give Guyta breakfast and staying by his side until mid-afternoon.

“I would start to get tired and people would say ‘you are exhausted, have a rest’,” she remembers.

“But I couldn’t do that. We had no children, it was only him and me.

“At home, it was lonely by myself.”

Now she’s the one in hospital but sadly she doesn’t have a daily companion – Guyta passed away two years ago.

Ursula was admitted to Williamstown Hospital after falling at home in the middle of the night and fracturing her right ankle.

She says she couldn’t sleep so got up to watch Skippy on TV, but took a tumble in the loungeroom.

The 79-year-old didn’t want to phone her brother so late for help, and it didn’t occur to her to ring an ambulance, so she hobbled back to bed.

After waiting three days over the weekend to get into her regular GP, she turned up to his office on the Monday with a black-and-blue ankle the size of a balloon.

“At first, I was in a lot of pain, it was very bad,” she says.

“But when I went to the doctor the pain was OK. They called the ambulance and then I started to walk away. The ambulance people came up and said to me ‘Where are you going?’. I said, ‘I’m a woman – I’m going shopping’.”

For now, she isn’t going anywhere soon. She’s been prescribed non-weight bearing rehabilitation for five weeks after pins were inserted into her ankle.

But Ursula is showing no sign of slowing down – in the hospital corridors at least.

“I’m hungry, I’m off to the café,” she says, zooming off in her wheelchair.

The Greatest Need Project is an online story-sharing website with two major goals – to help patients facing significant hardship and disadvantage, and to facilitate research, at Western Health.

As a patient, Ursula Tanti is sharing her story in bid to help those at Western Health who need it most.

By making a donation on Ursula’s behalf – and sharing her story on social media – you are making a difference too. Thank you.


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