John James Foundation helps student realise his childhood dream

Shannon Sage after the Stethoscope Ceremony Shannon Sage, John James Foundation Scholarship, Indigenous, medicine, medical student, MChD, Doctor of Medicine and Surgery, ANU
15 March 2022

Mr Shannon Sage credits his general practitioner (GP) as his inspiration to pursue a career in medicine.

“I can remember at the age of five idolising my GP. His calm manner always put me at ease.”

“When I shared with him at a very young age that I wanted to become a doctor he actively nurtured my interest.”

“If I was having a procedure or prescribed a medication he’d provide details about why and how these things worked,” Shannon explained.

Along with the encouragement of his GP, his friends have also played a major role in supporting the young Gureng Gureng man, from Ipswich in Queensland, to follow his dream of becoming a doctor.

“There were times where I had to put study before socialising and my friends have always understood. They have encouraged me, no matter how hard it seemed at times, to keep focussed on my goal.”

Now, thanks to the generosity of the John James Foundation Scholarship, Shannon’s dream of becoming a doctor is one step closer to becoming reality.

“My GP was one of the first people that I told when I received my offer to Medical School. He was delighted to hear the news and proud that I was going to follow in his footsteps.”

As a first year student in the Doctor of Medicine and Surgery program, Shannon has had to pack-up his life in Ipswich and leave his community to start his medical studies at The Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra.

“My nerves have calmed now and I’m getting into a routine. The other students in my program are very friendly and a lot are in the same boat as me. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one adjusting to life away from home and in a new city.”

Even though it’s only his first year, Shannon already has an idea of where his medical interests lie.

“I have always been fascinated with mental health and the way the brain works, so psychiatry is definitely on my radar.”

“I am also drawn to surgery because I’ve always enjoyed being hands-on. My dad and I spent hours building and rebuilding things in his workshop when I was growing up, so I think surgery would be a great fit for me.”

“I do hope to bring my knowledge of culture into my practice as a doctor to provide the best care for the traditional owners by respecting cultural beliefs,” Shannon noted.

At the recent ANU Medical School Stethoscope Ceremony, which celebrates and recognises the entry of students into the medical profession, Shannon said, “Receiving the stethoscope was an exciting and significant milestone. It definitely represents a new chapter in my journey to becoming a doctor.”

Dr Stewart Sutherland, Senior Lecturer in Indigenous Health at the ANU Medical School said, “Scholarships like the one offered by the John James Foundation support Indigenous students so they can focus on studying. It can be the difference between an Indigenous student completing post-graduate education or not, as often family funds have been exhausted during their undergraduate studies.”