Genie Fiebig feels she’s been fortunate in her life, but in her 85 years she’s seen her fair share of challenges.
Genie grew up in Poland and was a child when war swept through Europe. Her family was scattered during the occupation, with many relatives ending up in Germany. “We got letters from family to say that they were tracing family members through the Red Cross,” she says. “After the war we sent parcels when we got the addresses [of relatives and others in need].” Of more than 1,000 parcels sent by Genie’s family through Red Cross, she remembers that only three got lost in transit.
After the war Genie’s family boarded a ship to Australia. “That was not easy because it was just the tail end of the recession and there was no work for the locals, and of course we didn’t speak a word of English…we were bloody aliens!” she says with a laugh. Genie persevered through school and into a career in early childhood teaching. It wasn’t until much later that she needed Red Cross again.
When Genie had her hips replaced, she remembers one scary moment in the hospital: “I woke up and I heard them say ‘quick, we need more blood!’”. Blood collected by Red Cross from generous strangers got her through the surgery. After that experience, Genie began regularly donating to us. Recently she also decided to leave us a gift in her Will. “I feel that I’ve been very, very fortunate and it’s one way of giving back,” she says.
One of the things that Genie considers herself lucky for is her daily welfare phone call from a Red Cross volunteer, which allows her to continue living confidently in her own home. When asked how the calls make her feel, there’s not a moment’s hesitation: “safe!”
“They are the most pleasant people! It’s wonderful,” Genie says of her volunteer callers. “They’re usually right on time and I look forward to it.”
By giving a regular monthly donation to Red Cross, you can help us to keep providing peace of mind for older people like Genie who live alone. In her own words: “I’ve stuck with [Red Cross] because I think they do a good job and they’re very needed.” Call us on 1800 811 700 or visit our website.