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6th February 2024

Meet Charters Towers Brighter Lives volunteer, Bob Murch

The Brighter Lives volunteers in yellow are known to many in Townsville University Hospital, but did you know that the volunteers extend beyond Townsville?

Bob Murch has been volunteering for Brighter Lives for just over a year. Alongside his trusty PTSD companion dog, Gearbox, he helps brighten the days of those spending time in the Charters Towers health services.

“I volunteer for Brighter Lives because it feels good to be giving back to a worthy cause. About four years ago, I was diagnosed with PTSD after serving in the Army and my psychiatrist suggested volunteering for Brighter Lives. I spend most of my time volunteering at Eventide Residential Aged Care. I really enjoy the interaction with the residents and getting to know them,” Bob said, adding, “I also visit once a week the Charters Towers Hospital to try and cheer people up.”

Bob spends time chatting to people, doing crosswords and taking the residents for walks outside in the fresh air. While he is a great conversationalist, he has found that people are really excited to meet his dog, Gearbox.

“I always take Gearbox with me. I find he is the ice breaker and helps people relax. A lot of residents and patients are from out of town and don’t always have family of friends close by. Gearbox always goes with me when I am visiting residents or patients. I find people always remember Gearbox, but not always me.”

Bob is a cancer survivor and has been cancer free for five years. After spending time in hospital himself, he knows how important it is to give back.

“I think visiting people, sometimes who are at their lowest point, alongside Gearbox really takes their mind off other things. I have found that most people have or have had pets and can really relate to him. He is great with children, and they love patting and holding him. I have also noticed that it is not always the patients that love seeing Gearbox. He can uplift the staff also and make their day a little brighter too.”

Outside of volunteering, Bob loves sport and spends every Saturday morning doing the Park Run at Charters Towers airport. When not running, he helps with volunteer timekeeping, is on the committee of the Charters Towers RSL and is a member of Legacy. Another passion of Bob’s is as a member of the Charters Towers Compassionate Communities, helping people with wills, enduring powers of attorney and showing people where help can be found.

The Brighter Lives volunteers help in different ways all throughout Townsville Hospital and Health Service, helping to brighten the days of both patients and staff. Without them giving the incredible gift of their time, the hospital would not be as bright, and we are so grateful to have the team in yellow.

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