Hiskelina (Lyn) Thorpe

Surgical theatre nurse

2010 NSW Senior Australian of the Year

After accompanying Dr Bill Walker to Africa in 1993 to carry out plastic and reconstructive surgery, Lyn Thorpe was inspired to use her surgical theatre nursing skills to help others. Since then she has operated side-by-side with surgeons in many countries around the world repairing cleft lips and palates, horrific burns, and birth deformities. Many children are ostracized because of their deformities and her patients’ post-surgery joy is incredibly rewarding for Lyn. In 2008, Lyn went to Cambodia and was part of a team that performed 100 cataract extractions using Fred Hollows lenses that resulted in immediate sight.

Lyn and her husband have also travelled to Papua New Guinea to build classrooms, teach carpentry skills to the youth, and supervise vaccinations. One of Lyn’s projects was to raise $50,000 to bring a young burns victim from Papua New Guinea to Australia for treatment, nursing her in her own home after each operation. Lyn’s caring nature shines through in all that she does.