Bendigo’s postive and active ageing newsetter ‘Zoom’, features a story on ASPREE’s Lynn O’Neill and her incredible knitting skills this month.
Lynn moved from Melbourne to Central Victoria in late 2010, a move she hasn’t regretted. Read her story from Issue 3 Spring 2012 here:
There was a time when local nurse Lynn O’Neill’s dream was to work in a wool shop and knit all day long. For 20 years her passion for wool craft took a creative hiatus while she focused on her career. Today, inspired by a local knitting group, the Bendigo Woollen Mills and craft events, such as the recent ‘Women of Wool’ show, she considers herself to have the best of both worlds.
“When you live in central Victoria, crafts naturally play a big part of life for people of all ages,” says the avid knitter and ASPREE Senior Clinical Trial nurse.
Lynn is a familiar face to some of the 380 local participants enrolled in the ASPREE (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) study, a world-first trial to determine if aspirin can keep older people, aged 70 plus, healthier for longer.
The Monash University led study sees her travel up to 400km per week undertaking health checks in ASPREE participants who have been randomly assigned to take 100mg of aspirin daily or a placebo daily.
“The majority of people enrol in the study as a way to give back to the community and because it’s easy,” says the former intensive care and cardiac rehab nurse.
“Most participants don’t understand why more people are not involved.”
Lynn is based at the Bendigo Clinical Trial Centre, which is one of seven ASPREE regional posts in Victoria. She loves meeting older people in the study, who share their experience and life stories.
“I am inspired by what so many older people have done in their lives and what they are still doing.”
It is during study visits that Lynn often picks up tips and tricks of the craft and has been known to send her compliments home to the wife/daughter of ASPREE participants wearing especially good hand knitted jumpers or MARFS (male scarf)s.
Her recent mastery of 4ply circular knitted socks, hats and fingerless gloves, which she customises to individual finger lengths, are in demand from family and friends – something all crafters can relate to.
“My 20 year old nephews are always requesting hand knitted beanies,” she laughs.
“When they were 10, they wouldn’t have dreamed of wearing one.”
ASPREE is the largest GP-based study ever undertaken in Australia. It aims to enrol over 15,000 participants nationally, with 600 from central Victoria. Anyone aged 70 and over, who has not had a heart attack, or stroke should speak to their GP about being involved ASPREE or ring 1800 728 745 (toll free from a landline), or visit aspree.org for more information.