Taylors Beach grandmother Wendy Stein believes every person has a mission in life - her's is saving lives of the women and children in remote regions of Australia's nearest neighbour, Papua New Guinea.
Starting in 2005 with a trip to the nation's highlands and villages, the Salamander Rotary Club member has undertaken a series of campaigns and projects which last year won her the Australia-wide 'Outstanding Rotarian of the Year 2018-19' in recognition of her many years of work in PNG.
Her initial visit triggered the start of a national campaign to deliver family planning programs in an area which continues today to have one of the highest rates of maternal deaths in the world.
Then in 2015 with the support of her late husband Brian, Ms Stein purchased a 13-metre cruiser valued at about $200,000, renamed it the Kula Spirit and through the generosity of the Port Stephens community used the vessel as a floating medical clinic to treat people for illnesses, to dispense medication and to help with births.
Ms Stein has stated that she could not do her valuable life-saving work without the support of many sponsors including Rotary, family, friends and the wider Port Stephens community.
"Unfortunately, the coronavirus has had a huge impact on not only the sick and needy in PNG by grounding the Kula Spirit but also fundraising efforts here in Australia," Ms Stein said.
"So we put our thinking caps on and came up with the idea of a book detailing the work we have done in PNG and raising funds through the book sales."
It was an ingenious concept and the first run of 'Rona Stole our Relief' - a joint collaboration between Ms Stein and author Chandra Clements, was sold out withing weeks.
A second print run is being published and is available for purchase at $12.95 a copy through Ms Stein.
A new charity was formed, Spacim Pikinini-PNG ('Space Your Children') and has the support of One Legacy, consultancy firm which is sponsoring the book as a charity fundraiser to assist the work of volunteers as they continue to provide free medical services in PNG.
"'Rona has also put a strain on the already stretched health services," Ms Stein said. "The conditions some of these people live in are horrendous and without the free medical service I'm afraid more lives will be lost. They receive no welfare, no stimulus and many women are too weak or frightened to seek the medical attention they need."
Ms Stein says her support comes from far and wide and includes people like Dick Smith and Nelson Bay pensioner Ruth McLeay.
"About 10 years ago Ruth read an article in the Examiner on the work I do in PNG and since then has been collecting and dropping bags of medical supplies, education material and clothing for me to take on my trips overseas. Many of the items she purchases herself from local new and used stores," she said.
To order a copy of 'Rona Stole our Relief', contact Ms Stein on 0418 319 997.