Tragically his 10-year-old grandson Samuel Thorne last November contracted the rare neurological disease transverse myelitis. Overnight, Samuel went from a healthy, active boy to a quadriplegic, confined to a wheelchair and unable to walk, eat or breathe for himself.
Though affected physically, Samuel retains his intellect and his sense of humour. Samuel is currently in the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, but parents Craig and Jane are determined to get him back to the family home in Meadowbrook.
But modifying the house to do so will cost around $350,000.
So, as a long-standing customer, Eric wrote to Heritage Bank CEO Peter Lock asking if there was a chance of a donation to support the “Campaign for Samuel”.
Little did he know that would unlock the power of Heritage’s “people first” culture.
Peter Lock asked staff if they would help out, and promised to match any donations dollar-for-dollar.
“At Heritage, we’re passionate about helping people, and that means taking an interest in all aspects of their life, not just their banking needs,” Peter said.
“When Eric approached us for help I knew it was a cause our staff would rally around, and they certainly did.
“Our staff and customers raised $5,000 through free dress days, morning teas, raffles and even the sale of paintings a customer donated.
“We’ve matched the donation so we were able to present Samuel and his family with a cheque for $10,000, to make getting him home from hospital a little bit closer.
“We’re delighted to be able to do our bit to help out a loyal customer and such a worthy cause.”
Arrangements are on track for Samuel to get home early next year, but further donations are still needed to make this happen. If you would like to make a donation, go to www.givenow.com.au/samuelthorne or visit the Campaign for Samuel Facebook page.