The Giver

Dr. Max Shavitsky,vOAM

In 1964 a man walked into the office of The Victorian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (VSPCC) and was asked by a staff member

“What can I do for you?” to which he replied

“Actually, I am here to see what I can do for you?”

This man, a doctor, became the honorary medical officer for the VSPC, later the Children’s Protection Society (CPS) for over 20 years. He strongly advocated for the “angelic work” delivered “from the hearts of the CPS workers” (his words) and dedicated much of his life to protecting the welfare of children at risk.

This man was my father.

Dad grew up in the back of a furniture shop in Brunswick Street Fitzroy with his three siblings. He won a scholarship to study medicine at Melbourne University. He worked hard his entire life. He cleaned dishes and worked in a local hotel to pay his way through medical school. He volunteered at The Royal Children’s Hospital while studying and in the early years of his career.

In 2006 he was awarded an OAM (Order of Australia Medal) “for service to the community as an advocate for reform in the areas of child health and child protection”. He did not seek such an accolade. It was bestowed upon him.

So, while there is nothing more beautiful than reliving my father’s memory through this blog, there is a higher purpose for sharing his story. My dad was a Giver.

And what a great opportunity to share this scientifically backed evidence that “giving is good for you”.

According to recent article in Melbourne University’s Pursuit newsletter, “The gifts of giving are not just psychological — they’re also physiological. Giving gets under your skin in the best possible way. Researchers have found giving advice, money, food, support or aid to others is related to reduced blood pressure and enhanced sleep.

Giving has also been linked to lower rates of heart disease and it may even help you live longer. In a recent meta-analysis studying the effects of volunteering in over 49,000 senior citizens, volunteering was found to reduce mortality risk by 24 per cent, even after adjusting for variables such as physical health, age, and gender.”

I dedicate this post to my father, a Giver of love, hope, wisdom and so much more.

His many Small Acts continue to create Major Impacts.

“You should never deprive people of hope, it’s such an important part of life and healing” Dr. Max Shavitsky.

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