Palliative Care Queensland

Last Wish creates lasting memories for “aviation tragics”

Last Wish creates lasting memories for “aviation tragics”

When Trevor was a child, he had dreamt of flying… of soaring above the clouds in one of the planes he so adored.

He wanted to be a pilot but his asthma cruelled that ambition, so he plotted another path to a career in aviation… from the ground.

The tenacious young man joined Trans-Australian Airlines (TAA) as soon as he was old enough – he had to be 20 – and spent the next 35 years in the company of his beloved flying machines eventually retiring as a duty manager with Qantas.

So, it is no surprise, according to his wife Kären, that Trevor’s last wish was to “marvel once again at the majesty of flight and inhale the intoxicating aromas of Jet A-1”.

On December 18, Trevor, 69, became the second guest of Ambulance Wish Queensland. He and Kären took one last trip together from the palliative care unit at St Vincent’s Private Hospital in Brisbane to one of their favourite plane spotting “date sites”.

Ambulance Wish Queensland is a charity run by Palliative Care Queensland to help people with terminal conditions, who require medical and mobility assistance, to fulfil a last wish.

Volunteers, including paramedics, nurses and doctors, transport the Wish Recipient in an adapted ambulance fuelled by donations from the community and corporate sponsorship.

Kären, 57, will tell you this is Trevor’s story, but the truth is this love story belongs to both of them.

The couple was introduced by mutual friends in December 2006 and soon discovered a shared passion for aviation, travel, the stock market and red wine.

Kären had also worked in the airline industry for many years with Noosa Air (which became Sunstate) and although she and Trevor had never met, their paths may have crossed many times.

But it was a case of the right place and right time for them after they had both lost their first spouses to cancer. Kären’s husband John died in February 2003 and Trevor’s wife of 29 years, Jillian, died in March 2002.

“It was really nice because we had both reached the stage where we were happy with our own company, so we were ready,’’ Kären says.

Grateful for a second chance at love, they held a surprise wedding 13 months after they met, surrounded by family and friends at their Montville home.

They are now hoping Trevor will remain well enough to celebrate their anniversary on January 13, to mark “12 years of wedded bliss”. They will be toasting the event with “some bubbles” and a rum and coke in the light-filled rooms of the palliative care unit at St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane.

Trevor has been a patient at the hospital at Kangaroo Point since November 7 after the back pain that developed after a month touring Switzerland earlier this year, turned out to be metastatic cancer.

The tumours on his spine have now paralysed the keen walker, forcing the couple to leave their idyllic unit across from Noosa River at Tewantin for the “excellent holistic care” offered by the palliative care team at St Vincent’s Private Hospital.

The diagnosis was a blow, coming almost 10 years after Trevor was treated for prostate cancer. He had spent their second wedding anniversary in 2010 undergoing surgery.

But in the past decade, the pair has packed in a lifetime of adventures after downsizing from the Montville property to the Tewantin unit so they could travel the world together.

They have also spent many happy hours at the popular plane spotting “platform” at Acacia Street just a few minutes north of the Brisbane Domestic Airport, occasionally with the company of their adored grandchildren.

Trevor’s son Myles, 41, and his wife Zoe have three boys: Hamish, 7, Thomas, 6 and Edward, 2 while daughter Alexandra, 37, and her husband Mark have “pigeon pair” Ethan, 5 and Lily, 2.

On December 18, just a week before Christmas, Trevor and Kären were able to watch the planes soar into the sky as part of his Last Wish with Ambulance Wish Queensland.

With the assistance of Ambulance Wish Queensland volunteers including QAS paramedics Sue Neale and Darren Lawrence, and palliative care nurse practitioner Annabelle from St Vincent’s, Trevor and Kären spent nearly an hour at the plane spotting site with Trevor’s daughter Alexandra and a surprise visit from some of his old colleagues.

Then after a Bundy and rum and a glass of champagne, the couple paid one last visit to their townhouse at Clayfield so Trevor could gaze on the incredible red beauty of a poinciana tree he planted five years ago, which is flowering for the first time this summer.

It was a bittersweet homecoming topped off by a short detour to the top of nearby Bartley’s Hill in Ascot where the magnificent view of the Brisbane River and CBD had everyone catching their breath.

Trevor had made a regular pilgrimage to this lookout on his morning walk so it was a privilege to be able to take him there.

Spending the day with Trevor and Kären, to witness their love and devotion to each other was a priceless experience but not as valuable as the advice this charming, witty and handsome man shared with us.

“Grab life with both hands and give it a good shake!”




About Ambulance Wish Queensland

Ambulance Wish Queensland is a charity program of Palliative Care Queensland.

It is inspired by the now famous Hervey Bay paramedics who took a dying woman to the beach and is modelled on a successful program pioneered in the Netherlands. It the first charity of its kind in Australia.

It was launched in July 2019 by State Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles, with the first Wish Recipient 92-year-old Betty Dowsett.

The joyful photograph of her eating ice-cream in the winter sunshine was shared around the world generating media exposure with a potential reach of more than 157 million people. The first Wish Ambulance was named “Betty” in her honour.

More than 100 people have applied to be part of the Ambulance Wish Queensland Volunteer Village after the State Government gifted the decommissioned ambulance to the program along with $50,000 in seed funding. But more funding is URGENTLY needed.

With just one vehicle, the program is currently limited to fulfilling wishes for people who reside within 100km of the Brisbane CBD and the volume of wishes granted is dependent on support from corporate partners, sponsors and community donors.

Please help if you can: or phone 07 3842 3222.

For more information visit


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