That’s why Mater matters
From little things, big things grow. This is how Maria and Brett Clark AM have built a towering legacy of love in honour of their daughter, Olivia.
Spanning over two decades, the Clark family’s substantive life work of ‘giving back’ has kept Olivia’s memory alive, and gratitude in their hearts.
It has enabled incredible advances for Mater’s world-class neonatal services, extending to significant funding for Catherine’s House, a dedicated facility for mothers and families suffering perinatal mental health illness.
“Our life with Mater started when we started having children,” Maria said. “Our first baby, Chelsea, was born at 29 weeks. She spent three months in intensive care and when we took her home, I thought it was amazing we made it through that.
“Then we had Olivia, she was born at nearly 25 weeks, weighing only 499 grams. We lost Olivia in our intensive care journey here at Mater, at six days old.
“Our third child, Maddy, was our biggest child at 29 weeks, 1.1 kilos and spent three months in hospital. One of my friends said to me, once Maddy was home safe, let’s do something to remember Olivia.
“We decided to start having some functions to raise a little bit of money and we started an event called ‘Olivia’s Lunch’. I guess it was a healing process and it still is. There are days when we still feel like we’re back there when it happened.”
“Although we lost Olivia, we were so lucky to have Chelsea and Maddy, we wanted to give something back to Mater for giving us so much, our two girls, and to remember Olivia.
“When we first started it was still very raw. Olivia’s memory grows with us -it’s been incredible doing this because we think about her so much and in a positive way.”
While their family business has enjoyed incredible success, it is Olivia’s legacy that gives Brett and Maria their greatest satisfaction.
“That’s the exciting part,” Brett said. “It gets back to that legacy piece. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to give back, you should give back. A gift is special, no matter how big or small it is.”
Through a lifelong commitment to fundraising and community advocacy, philanthropists Maria and Brett Clark AM express gratitude and ‘give back’ to Mater.