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A new lease on life

The Mulligan family

RSL Art Union Mulligan family

For former soldier Dane Mulligan and his family, the last few years have challenged them beyond their imagination. But after years of battling the health system, they turned back to the RSL for support, and are now happier than ever.

Dane served in the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR), before being medically discharged. He got involved with the Chinchilla RSL, which referred him onto Mike Boyd, RSL Veteran Services Advocate. Dan explains, “He [Mike] got me on the pension, which I didn’t even know about.”  With an income secured for his wife, Carol, and their six children, it would be another seven years before Dane called on the RSL again.

For years Carol was suffering from chronic pain, leaving her not only unable to manage the household, but unable to support Dane, who was suffering with post-traumatic stress. Carol explains, “Dane, for the last six years, has been raising the kids, looking after the house, plus building the house too. It was a lot. That’s why Dane did ask for help… we don’t like to ask for help.”

With the public health system unable to further assist Carol, they found a surgeon who could help through the private system, but the cost was well beyond their means. After being denied a loan by every bank he applied with, Dane reached out on social media for support, and was directed back to the RSL.

“I thought of Mike Boyd and got in touch. Straight away, within half an hour, Julie Aus, RSL Veteran Services Officer, had called us back and said she was working on help for us,” said Dane. “As soon as the RSL came back to us with a solution, it was fantastic; it was all go after that. Carol was in within a week and operated on.”

“Julie was fantastic. I didn’t know how it (the medical system) all worked, but the RSL helped with everything, right down to helping us get into Brisbane from Chinchilla” said Dane.

Dane and Carol are already feeling the benefit of the support. Just months later and with the pain significantly subsided, Carol has found a new lease on life, and credits the support that they have received from RSL, despite it being her who needed the financial assistance. “Because I myself am not a soldier or anything… I’m just the wife, I didn’t do the service. But it has given us our life back,” said Carol.

A day to remember

Dane and Carol and five of their children ventured into Brisbane in July as guests of RSL, along with nine other veteran families, whose children received a gifted bicycle, built by RSL as part of a corporate team building activity.

“We really didn’t expect this; we almost weren’t going to come, but we thought it was lovely for the kids. They only get gifts at Christmas and birthdays,” said Dane.

“But they will remember doing this; travelling here, staying in the city, this whole day, and it will always be: ‘remember when the RSL did this... so they will always remember this experience.”