Everyday Eliza Anderson’s son Gabe would Facetime with his grandma Lil Melching in Columbus, Ohio, so they could share stories together.
“Seeing Gabe was the joy of her life and we would talk to her every day and she would read stories to him over Facetime,” Ms Anderson said. “But I started to notice that her energy levels were really low and her speech had started to slur.”
Ms Melching went to the hospital and a scan revealed that she had an aggressive brain tumour.
“Time was of the essence,” Ms Anderson said. “My husband Tim [Melching] needed to get over there as soon as possible to care for her and to say goodbye.”
Getting to the other side of the world in the middle of the pandemic involved significant challenges.
After their first request for a travel exemption was denied they enlisted the support of their local MP and upon review of the decision, an exemption was granted.
Mr Melching left Melbourne to care for his mum in May, and she sadly passed away in late August. He was grateful for the chance to say goodbye, and is looking forward to reuniting with his wife and young son.
The week they found out that Ms Melching was ill both Ms Anderson and her husband chose to get vaccinated.
“We decided when Tim was first eligible that he would get the vaccine because of having family overseas,” Ms Anderson said.
Mr Melching had had an autoimmune disorder a few years previously which posed a risk, but they decided getting vaccinated was the right decision for them.
“You just weigh it up and we thought, the risk is minimal compared to what would happen if you got COVID,” said Ms Anderson. “I lost my great aunt to COVID last year, so it’s not a far away concept for us.”
That weekend, Ms Anderson was lucky enough to get vaccinated too and is now fully vaccinated.
“It felt like a superpower to be honest, and an enormous weight off my mind!” she said.
Get a jab, give a jab
NAB recently announced a partnership with UNICEF. It is up to employees if they choose to vaccinate, but every time a NAB employee chooses to get a vaccination and notify their employer about it, NAB pays it forward by fully vaccinating a person in need in our closest neighbouring countries including Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
Ms Anderson registered her vaccinations with NAB to take part in this program.
“Outside of having family overseas, travel is my absolute passion and it makes me frustrated that we have a debate here in Australia about which vaccine to get, when for millions of people around the world it’s not a choice,” she said.
“For us to help facilitate vaccines to the poorest countries in the world that rely on tourism, it’s such a privilege,” Ms Anderson said.