Australia 21 mourns the loss of one of its foundation directors, Michael Ward, who died in a hospice in Sydney in the early hours of New Year’s Day after a six year battle with cancer.
Our feelings are best expressed in a message our Chairman, Bob Douglas sent yesterday to Directors past and present, to our research leaders and all the Australia 21 family:
Dear Australia 21 "Family"
I am saddened to pass on the enclosed report of the death of Michael Ward at 3:20 AM this morning. Michael was one of the six founding directors of Australia 21 in 2001. He has fought an amazingly determined fight against tonsil cancer for the past six years.
Michael's contribution to Australia 21's development was immense. Always a provocative and at the same time, a constructive thinker, he brought to the discussions on the board a freshness and amazingly diverse experience from a career in public health, the Republican movement, IT administration and CEO of an Eco-consulting firm.
Michael's determined battle with cancer was the subject of a series of newsletters which he shared with his many friends, first entitled "the tumour times" and subsequently, "sacred times".
In recognition of his stunning personal resilience, Australia 21 joined forces with The Menzies Institute at The University of Sydney during 2009 to hold the Michael Ward symposium on Health and Resilience.
We express our deep sympathy to Michael's two children, Irene and Max and to his close family who have provided heartwarming support during his nightmare illness.
We have lost a dear friend and colleague.
In spite of his great ordeal, Michael made the most of the hand that fate had dealt him. He received visits from family and friends right up to the end, saw out the fireworks on New Year’s Eve, wished the staff who were looking after him so well a happy new year, and a few hours later passed away peacefully in his room.
We shall continue to miss him, his ever cheerful countenance, and his wise counsel.