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Donor profile: Michael Halprin

August 24, 2018

The first thing you will notice when you meet donor Michael Halprin, is his humble, no nonsense approach. This could be due to his more than 50 years of practice as a pharmacist or it could be from his ongoing involvement with an international society of Skeptics, who use evidence to debunk and evaluate many of the world’s longstanding mysteries.

If you talk to Michael for longer, you might also be pleasantly surprised to learn that this strict love of science doesn’t in any way diminish his warmth and empathy.

Michael eagerly awaits his next trip to New York, where he will indulge in his love of Opera by seeing four consecutive shows at the Met. He will also visit Lake Como for the first time very soon.

When told he is lucky to travel so broadly, he smiles. “I make my own luck,” he says. He isn’t wrong.

Michael has founded a Pharmacy scholarship for students at Monash University, from which he graduated in 1967. He has donated generously to Cabrini hospital and in the last year, he has become a substantial donor to the Eye and Ear. Michael continues to work as a community pharmacist, a job he has held for more than 50 years.

So what drew Michael to the Eye and Ear? A combination of simple but powerful facts, of course.

“I had money to spare and I wanted to give it to organisations that weren’t going to waste it,” he said. “I also don’t just believe what I am told, I need to see it”.

Michael began researching responsible organisations in Melbourne. He heard the Eye and Ear mentioned several times in this process.

His first donation in 2017 helped to fund an Anaesthetic Audit for Cataract Surgery. Then Michael received a lecture from Dr Peter Van Wijngaarden at a conference he attended for professional development. This helped to seal the deal. “He was an excellent speaker,” he said.

Michael then donated a substantial amount to Peter’s ground-breaking project of hyperspectral imaging of the retina to detect beta amyloid, a protein that is present in Alzheimer’s disease.

Finally, it was the simple fact of getting older that drew Michael to support a service he is aware he may need one day. “I’m getting older and I have a bit of tinnitus, so I may need to have a check one day soon.”

When discussing his donation to other health services he has used, he says cheekily, “I do it because I hope I never have to see them again”.

In the meantime, not much is going to slow Michael down. He will continue to see comedy shows in Las Vegas, attend regular Spin classes at the gym and work hard. As he says, he makes his own luck.

We are thankful he has shared some of that luck to keep our vital services running.