Susan Alberti, AC
Susan Alberti Medical Research Foundation (SAMRF), Founder & Chairman
The epitome of compassion served in cash and kind, Susan Alberti Medical Research Foundation (SAMRF) creator is Australia’s beacon of benevolence. Deborah Joy Peter digs deep to unmask the silhouette behind the story.
慈悲又实际的象征，身为Susan Alberti 医学研究基金会
Although bred into humble beginnings, Bairnsdale welcomed a heroine 68 years ago when Dr. Susan Alberti was born in May of 1947 to a serenading policeman and homemaking draftswoman. The Victoria native was raised in scarcity, yet what she lacked in riches growing up, she has since made up for in humanity. During an era where females were typically deprived of a tertiary education, she made no excuses over securing success.
SELF WITH SACRIFICE
Today one of the country’s greatest altruistic forces, the Western Bulldogs Football Club vice president and highly-acclaimed philanthropist is known for the tens of millions she has helped raise in support of medical research surrounding juvenile diabetes through the ‘Walk for the Cure’ annual fundraiser she founded in 1994. Originating in Melbourne and Sydney, the movement has since expanded to other regions nationwide.
Meanwhile, a far-reaching entrepreneur who established the Dansu Group with her late husband about four decades prior, her no-nonsense administrative style and penchant for business made her one of the first women state-wide to foray into construction back in the day. The determined duo dedicated an entire marriage to cultivating an industrial and commercial development venture from the ground up.
“We didn’t have a lot. We just had enough to put on the table. I didn’t have anything extra like most kids had. I always had a part-time job. I was working around school, before school, weekends, and holidays.”
East meets west
Presently stationed at a physical office which once served as the family nest, she seeks solace in the memories that envelope her atmosphere as she labours on with love. The age-old tale begins with her meeting blue-eyed Italian stud, Angelo Alberti, at a Hawthorn Town Hall dance in 1963. The teenage trailsman had arrived in the land down under three years earlier with zero dollars in his pocket and no English tucked under his belt.
Still cupid struck and four years into their courtship, the pair sealed their union in matrimony, only to return to the grind shortly after, where 16-hour workdays followed. From a piggery to pool installations to manufacturing to building, the tenacious twosome was unstoppable in their quest to solidify their household with the promise of good returns and prosperous order. Yet, circumstance found a way to flip marital bliss on its toes.
Sticks on stones
Horror hit when a rod went through the builder’s left eye while boxing up some concrete, forcing him into a series of 12 surgeries to save the organ, which he ended up losing anyhow sometime later. The tragic turn of events led to a career change; the silver lining-Dansu Group came into existence. Then in 1969, came Danielle, the couple’s bundle of joy and only offspring. “She was an absolute delight; my best friend,” the reminiscent mother notes.
Life was content, at least until the kid was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at 12. Major hurdles surfaced but the trio coped. Alberti juggled between the many hats she wore-wife, mother, businesswoman, and employer to 250 workers. Yet, fate remained harsh. Her husband passed following a 1996 hit-and-run. Half a decade later, her ailing daughter died in her arms while the two were on a medical emergency led plane ride from Los Angeles to Australia.
Sweat and tears
As the blanket-clad 32-year-old rested in peace beside her guardian, Alberti looked at her child and swore that her personal fight for a cure would never end. Instead of a kidney, the cause has since become the living embodiment of the bereaving woman’s unwavering passion for her loved one. The loss has solidified her over 30-year involvement with notable medical research institutes like St Vincent’s, Baker IDI, and Walter + Eliza Hall.
Additionally, former Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and current Victoria University Foundation chair has dedicated plenty of her personal time and resources to aiding the community with scholarships for migrant children. “My heart’s in the west of Melbourne. With a high incidence of diabetes and lack of education, resources, and infrastructure, there are many struggling families out there,” she tells Essenze.
TURNING THE PAGE
A diabetic patient herself-a frightening fact which she discovered during her recent cancer treatment-the football and gardening fiend has weathered many storms across a lifetime. The more she lost, the more she gave. Despite the winding road that has been her epic journey, today she is happily married to fellow philanthropist, engineer, and husband of 10 years, Colin North. “It doesn’t matter what, just do something,” Alberti urges.
32岁的她在身边守护并凝视女儿的脸孔：发誓个人的医疗治愈抗争永远不会结束。她的坚定与热情意志也体现在对她所爱的人，逾30年参与贡献著名的医学研究机构像St Vincent’s, Baker IDI与Walter + Eliza Hall等。