New Zealand: Bequests can change lives and the Rose Centre is proof
Last Updated: 6 August 2015

Cavell Leitch client, Mrs Shirley Rose, has left a lasting legacy after her generosity in gifting a bequest to CMRF to be used for stroke research. This bequest has contributed significantly to the development of the ground breaking research and rehabilitation facility, The Rose Centre, which has already improved the lives of hundreds of stroke patients and with continued support will be able to help thousands more.

The powerful effect of bequests can be significant and the new Rose Centre for Stroke Recovery and Research which officially opened in 2015 is a worthy example. Cavell Leitch client, Mrs Shirley Rose, left a $600,000 bequest to the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation (CMRF) upon her passing in 2013; CMRF then channelled the majority of the funds into the development of the Rose Centre as she expressly wished her gift to be used in stroke research.

Mrs Rose knew too well the adverse effects of stroke on quality of life. She spent the final years of her husband's life caring for him after he suffered a debilitating stroke. As a result, Mrs Rose worked with Cavell Leitch to ensure clear instructions were put in place to carry out her wishes.

Dr Maggie-Lee Huckabee leads the team at the Rose Centre and knows first hand how important donations and bequests such as Mrs Rose's are, "Without Mrs Rose's bequest the Rose Centre would not exist. The Rose Centre relies on donations to remain operational and to expand our programmes so ongoing support is needed to allow our team to continue our work. We have been given the opportunity to run a ground breaking programme of rehabilitation research that supports clinical services following a major stroke event. This has already transformed the lives of hundreds of people affected by strokes and has the potential to continue to help thousands more."

One of the people helped by the Rose Centre team is Eric Owsley. Eric was a 33 year old firefighter with Urban Search and Rescue (USAR), who contributed heroically to the Canterbury community as a first responder in the 2011 Earthquakes. Two years later, an undiagnosed and asymptomatic blood condition resulted in a series of strokes. As a result he continued to have significant swallowing, speech and physical motor impairments. As a previously active and fit member of society, the residual impairments following his illness left him unable to financially support a family, engage in a career, or interact effectively with friends and family.

Following his discharge from hospital, Eric received intensive rehabilitation at the Rose Centre. By directly translating clinical research from the lab to his rehabilitation in the clinic, Eric fully recovered his ability to eat and drink safely. He can now, once again, engage with family over the dinner table and go out with his mates for a beer, the things that many of us take for granted.

Maria Young, leader of Cavell Leitch's specialist Estates Team explained, "Shirley would be thrilled to know her forward thinking and planning has had such a profound effect on so many lives already, just like Eric's. Shirley understood the importance estate planning and properly constructing her Will to ensure her wishes were carried out. She engaged the services of Cavell Leitch due to her knowledge of our genuine expertise. We feel honoured to be a part of the development of such an important clinical research facility."

Without Shirley Rose's generous bequest Dr Huckabee and her team would not be able to run their ground breaking programme of recovery and research for stroke patients. To continue their incredible work they need further support; you may wish to consider arranging your own bequest to the Rose Centre or to another organisation you feel strongly about.

The members of the Cavell Leitch Estates Team are renowned for being specialists in estate planning matters as well as being personable and empathetic. They understand the importance of constructing a quality Will to ensure your wishes are recorded and carried out as intended. This ensures upon passing your loved ones are saved from additional stress at an already difficult time. Our Estates Team takes the time to work through the elements of estate planning to ensure all options for you and your loved ones are thought through and understood.

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