Hunter family within reach of $50,000 Dry July goal in memory of much loved wife and mum, Mel Duggan

Steve, Maddie and Mel Duggan.
Steve, Maddie and Mel Duggan.

STEVE Duggan says his late wife Mel left a mark on everyone she met, not least of all her family and friends.

"On the anniversary I said it's a sad day, but it's also a day to reflect on the years we spent together and appreciate the fact that I got to have those years with her," Mr Duggan said.

"We had 26 years together that were about love and we created a beautiful daughter and that's the thing I reflect on often. I was lucky enough to meet that person who was not just my wife, she was my best friend. That's the rainbow for me, so to speak."

Australia Community Media reported last year that Mrs Duggan had encouraged her husband to participate in Dry July to raise funds for Calvary Mater Newcastle Hospital, in the hope of helping others.

Mrs Duggan, who was fighting metastatic breast cancer, passed away on July 18, 2020, aged 44. Just two weeks later, Mr Duggan and his daughter Maddie had raised $40,000 for the hospital.

The father and daughter are part of a team for this year's Dry July, comprising another 11 family members and friends. Together they have raised more than $41,200 of their $50,000 goal, which will again go to the Calvary Mater.

"I think she'd be very happy," he said. "I think she'd be very humbled, she'd be smiling."

Helping others: Tony and Stephanie Mortel and Steve Duggan with the limited edition Melbo ugg. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Helping others: Tony and Stephanie Mortel and Steve Duggan with the limited edition Melbo ugg. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Mortels Sheepskin Factory - where Mrs Duggan was warehouse manager - has raised $16,500 for the campaign, through the sale of their limited edition Melbo ugg boots.

Factory owner and Mrs Duggan's best friend Stephanie Mortel said Mrs Duggan created the unique Melbo colour combination early last year for a pair for her daughter Maddie.

"I don't think there's anybody that does not know somebody who has either fought and survived, is currently going through, or has passed away from cancer," she said. "It's such a vile, insidious disease, it's awful."

Mrs Mortel said Mrs Duggan was down to earth, straight talking, supportive, nurturing and fought her illness to the very end.

"She was always good for advice and to bounce ideas off, was very creative and was an absolute pocket rocket, just a go-getter," she said.

"She would do anything for anyone and was totally selfless.

"She was such a lot of fun and had such a great sense of humour, as does Steve.

"They were just dynamic together."

Mr Duggan said the team's tally would be boosted in coming days by the proceeds of the Tenambit Sharks Football Club and Scott Pearce's charity competition, as well as Brett Klingberg's raffle of three signed Brisbane Roar, Western Sydney Wanderers and NSW Waratahs jerseys.

"You go through such a devastating event and such a huge loss in your life," he said.

"It's hard to use the words fortunate and blessed when you talk about an event like that, but I have been, because I've had so much support... it's been overwhelming."

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This story Hunter family within reach of $50,000 Dry July goal in memory of much loved wife and mum, Mel Duggan first appeared on The Maitland Mercury.