Jennie Thomas is helping both students and researchers achieve their dreams one donation - and one hug - at a time.

Making dreams come true

It's not every day that someone comes along willing to remove the barriers that would otherwise restrict you from achieving your dreams…

Scholarship recipient Frances Kay Lambkin was speechless when Jennie Thomas asked her, "What is your dream?"

Today, Frances is living her dream, with her creation of the world-first computer-based therapy for sufferers of depression, drug and alcohol abuse. Jennie's generous one-off $60,000 donation to Frances' research in the field of psychology was promoted by the depression that ailed her late husband, Philip Emlyn (known to friends and family as Em).

"For me, it was important to invest in research as a way of investing in a better world for those who come after us," Jennie said.

By granting Frances' dream, Jennie aimed to raise awareness in the community of mental health issues, in particular, depression by assisting a researcher who was working towards an understanding of mental health illnesses and whose goal was to develop and trial effective strategies for alleviating the suffering caused by them.

Jennie Thomas has so far helped 57 students achieve their dreams. She offers scholarships in other areas - environment, enabling, music and art - through the University of Newcastle Foundation.

Medical Research scholarships are funded under the umbrella of HMRI, although all the recipients are University of Newcastle students. Frances' amazing story, while unique and inspiring, is only one example of how far one student's research has affected not only the Newcastle community, but also the world, through the generosity of one lady, Jennie Thomas.

Best of all though - every scholarship is accompanied by one of Jennie Thomas' world famous hugs!

Jennie Thomas with some of the students who have benefited from her scholarships