Palliative Care Queensland

Ambulance Wish Queensland Delivers Wish for Community Champion

Ambulance Wish Queensland Delivers Wish for Community Champion

Ambulance Wish Queensland made a last wish come true today, creating forever memories for Joan, a daredevil, community champion and tireless volunteer, who wanted to take a trip on the iconic, Wheel of Brisbane. 

Born in Ipswich, Joan Burlew did nothing by half. A confessed daredevil, Joan is always ready to put others’ needs first, never allowing age or a challenge to stop her supporting the community and the people that she loves. 

Joan became a teletypist for the RAAF, based at Amberley, where she met her husband, Joe, a serviceman in the American Army Air Corps based in AustraliaOne evening Joan and her friend asked to be escorted back to their barracks, creating a chance encounter with Joe and a friend of his who met the ladies, acting as their escort.  

For Joe, it was love at first sight, instantly saying to his friend I am going to marry her and pointing to Joan. Three weeks later, they were engaged, but redeployment saw Joe sent back home to America. Not to be deterred, Joan grabbed a priest and arranged for a trans-Pacific wedding, via phone from Ipswich Post Office, before making her way to the States by boat, to legally complete their marriage 

Always involved in charity and volunteering programmes, Joan strove to help wherever help was needed and epitomises the community spirit of Queenslanders and was recognised as a true champion with the award of an OAM for volunteering.  

From raising over $13,000 for her local church through producing and participating in annual concerts such as South Pacific and 42nd Streetto being an active member of the SES, Joan could be seen treading the boards or manning the phones to support disaster relief well into her seventh decade. And when not volunteering, Joan would let loose her daredevil spirit taking to the skies for a spot of parasailing.  

Therefore, it was only natural that for her Ambulance Wish, Joan would be soaring to great heights on the Wheel of Brisbane. Located at South Bank Parklands, the wheel stands at 60m tall and provided Joan with the opportunity to take in the Brisbane skyline’s breathtaking views and look out across the region to which she has given so much and supported so many. 

Ambulance Wish Queensland would like to thank our wish team and volunteers for Joans wish, Jason, Sharon, Matt, Kristy, Anissa and Jermaine for their amazing help on the day and our supporters and partners Queensland Ambulance Service, Queensland Health, St Vincents Private Hospital Brisbane and Richard Dixon, Director of The Wheel of Brisbane, without whom Joans last wish would not have been possible. 


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