NSW Senior Australian Of The Year for 2017, Dr John F Knight AM of Eastwood’s Vimiera Village fame, has been struck with bowel cancer and underwent major surgery at the Sydney Adventist Hospital last Friday February 10.

Dr Knight is also widely known in the media world as “Dr James Wright the Merry Media Medic” since 1968, when use of a doctor’s correct name was prohibited by law.

SPECIAL REPORT by John F Booth AM,
Managing Editor, The Weekly Times and longtime friend of Dr John F Knight AM.

Dr John had just returned from a three day visit to Canberra where finalists from the seven states were greeted by the Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove at Yarralumla, and congratulated on their achievements.

They were also entertained at “The Lodge’ by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy. They too gave the Finalists a very cordial welcome.  The finalists found there is much more in life than politics.

Back in Sydney, they attended an Australia Day function with the new Premier Gladys Berejiklian making her second public appearance since Mike Baird had just stood down.

That evening they were guests of the NSW Governor, General David Hurley and Mrs Linda Hurley and watched the Australia Day Concert from the Opera House, just outside the giant shells.

Dr Knight was interviewed by his one-time regular “Midday Show” host Kerrie-Anne Kennerley, which was part of the nationally televised concert attended by an estimated 70,000 persons.

In Dr Knight’s case, his contribution to Society is offering a home to four hundred elderly widows with no roof over their heads, at a peppercorn rental.

In many cases, it was for unexpected reasons often outside their immediate control. This occurs both in Sydney and perhaps more pleasantly on  Queensland’s lovely Gold Coast.

Many units there have beautiful views overlooking the rolling breakers of Surfers Paradise.  Many believe, indeed, that they are in Paradise.

This is done via his Charity and PBI (established in1971), and named Medi Aid Foundation.  It receives no government funding, and does not actively seek donations.

Dr John explains: “I learned how to wheel and deal in real estate when I was a young doctor aged 27.

“My rooms in North Road at Fiveways Eastwood adjoined a helpful real estate agents office.

“He quickly told me ‘no money being a GP’. And subsequently taught me real estate from the grass roots up. How lucky!”  Dr Knight says.

“That is how our organisation is almost totally funded. We do not rely on others, just go it alone, with considerable success.  We buy another unit on the Gold Coast about each fortnight.”

Dr Knight is pragmatic about his cancer.  In 2012 he was struck with a very aggressive cancer in the throat.  This was treated as a public patient at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Although the treatment itself, radiotherapy and a new chemotherapy drug called Cetuximab, was drastic (destroying all sense of taste and smell, and no saliva since), and no skin from mid torso to scalp, he overcame it.

Ironically, a few days following his bowel cancer diagnosis, the throat cancer was given the “5 year all clearance ” by oncologist Dr Kirwan Foo at RPAH.

Dr John F Knight AM is congratulated at Parliament House Canberra by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with Petrina Zaphir and son David Knight.

ABC presenter Adam Spence entertains at Australia Day Luncheon at National Art Gallery and PICTURED BELOW congratulations from Ben Roberts Smith VC chairman of the Australia Day Council.