Research into coronavirus treatments has been boosted by an unlikely benefactor – an 82-year-old great-grandfather who is selling his multi-million dollar beachside penthouse to fund national drug trials.
The four-bedroom, three-bathroom Maroochydore home – complete with a rooftop pool, sauna and media room – goes under the hammer on Friday to raise money for the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Coronavirus Action Fund.
Owner Keith Drake said when he saw RBWH researcher David Paterson interviewed about the trials on the news, he knew what “had to be done”.
“It all happened in a rush, it didn’t really take much deciding,” he told AAP this week.
“I’m 83 in a few weeks, I think this is by far the most serious thing I can remember living through.”
Even convincing his wife of 58 years, Glenda, was easy.
“She said, ‘you know, why not? It sounds like a good idea to me, it’s for a good cause. Let’s do it.'”
The auction date for the home, which was bought for $2.75 million in 2006, was set after a flurry of meetings with lawyers, the foundation and real estate agents.
It is hoped the apartment will bring in around $4 million this time, and real estate agent Mark Lawler has forfeited his commission on the sale to make sure each cent goes to the foundation.
“I reckon that if Shane Warne’s baggy green can generate more than a million for bushfire relief there will be people willing to put their hand up to support efforts to find treatments for COVID-19,” Mr Lawler said in a statement this week.
The money raised will go towards the expansion of national trials to test the effectiveness of two drugs in treating COVID-19, and to supporting other virus-related medical research.
RBWH Foundation CEO Simone Garske said the organisation was incredibly grateful for the Drakes’ generous sacrifice.
But Mr Drake says it was simply his time to do his bit, and thanks should be directed to frontline workers.
“There’s all these people, and Australians are incredibly well known for this, out there doing their stuff, some of it quite dangerous, to protect us and to keep Australia safe.”
“To me, it’s a monetary thing. I’m not up in the morning at five o’clock doing what they’re doing, and I take my hat off to them.”