Vax queen turns flood crusader

By Megan Brodie 2 years ago | In Companies, Industry
  • 2 years ago
Biointelect's Jenny Herz's sister's property in northern NSW.

20 April 2022

A leading industry vaccination expert has turned to the internet in an attempt to raise funds for family members after their property was devastated by floodwaters that impacted the north coast of NSW earlier this year.

The founder and head of industry consultancy Biointelect, Jenny Herz is best known as a leading consultant and expert in vaccines, Biointelect recently named one of two consultancies selected by Medicines Australia to advise the industry on the upcoming review of Australia’s Health Technology Assessment (HTA) processes.

But when her sister’s property was inundated by floodwaters not once but twice recently and the struggling family received only $3,000 from the Government in assistance, Jenny felt the need to do more.

Sisters Jenny Herz and Hilary McPherson

She set up a Go Fund Me page that has already raised more than $7,000, although much more is needed with a goal of $30,000 set.

“They have lost everything – two homes, six cars, all their animals and their livelihoods,” Herz says of her sister Hilary McPherson, an Auslan Interpreter and advocate for the deaf community who lives and works from the property at Swan Bay outside of Lismore. Hilary’s office in Lismore was also lost.

Hilary lives on the property with her husband, daughter and son-in-law. The property is organically certified and the families also raised cattle. When the waters rose in early March, the family had to move into their sailboat tethered to the veranda. Later, they had to move it from rushing water and anchor it to the farm ute – the water was over the roof of the ute.

The family was prepared for and accustomed to flooding, but had seen nothing like this. Originally settled by the McPherson family in 1861, the property was on high ground and had not previously been in a situation where water had broken the river bank.

“They had to listen to the sound of their beloved cows drowning, including the calves – many of which they had hand-reared, and a new bull,” says Jenny.

“They called the SES but, being in a rural area, no one came. They were on their own. Even when the waters receded, any surviving stock was rounded up and sent to the sale yards. A few tagged cattle were reunited with their owners, but most have never been found.”

Jenny says of the 77 head of cattle on the property, the McPhersons were left with nine, one being found in canefields some 44 kilometres downstream in South Ballina.

Clean up at the McPherson’s property

The property is also a koala sanctuary but fortunately, all the koalas survived by climbing to the tops of the trees. Herz says the family was offered funding for emergency accommodation but with none to be had, had been housed in holiday cabins at Evans Head but were recently forced to vacate for the school holidays.

“I’ve given them my car but I didn’t know what else to do, so I set up a Go Fund Me page,” says Herz, who worked with a colleague of her sister, Eve Hedley, to establish the crowdfunding page.

“I know industry has given generously to the Red Cross but often this money can take a long time to trickle through, and the focus is very much on the Lismore township. People like my sister and her family in rural areas need help now.”

People wanting to contribute to the Go Fund Me page for the McPhersons can do so here. Jenny is the beneficiary of the page and is collecting funds on behalf of the family to ensure every cent donated helps them re-establish their lives.

©MedNews 2022

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