Ann Simmons, Dr. Victor Chang wife, was a remarkable woman known for her support and dedication to her husband’s groundbreaking career in cardiac surgery.
She also had family in Australia, including her journalist cousin Peter Simmons, who knew Victor Chang.
Ann learned Mandarin and embraced her husband’s Chinese heritage. She traveled to China multiple times with Victor, meeting his family.
“I loved China,” she declared. It felt like home.
Ann Simmons was an amazing woman who wholeheartedly supported her husband. She shared his vision of advancing medical innovation and philanthropy to save lives.
She also raised their children with kindness and nurturing. Many people find inspiration in her grace and determination.
Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the birth anniversary of Dr. Victor Chang, a Chinese Australian surgeon.
He was known as a trailblazer in the field of cardiac and transplant surgery.
Dr. Chang was born on November 21, 1936.
His passion for medicine stemmed from personal circumstances, as his interest developed at a young age when his mother battled breast cancer.
- Also read: Victor Chang Cause Of Death: What Happened To Him?
Chang interned at St. Vincent’s Hospital.
He worked under heart surgeon Mark Shanahan. Shanahan sent him to London to train under Aubrey York Mason.
Chang trained in cardiothoracic surgery at the Royal Brompton Hospital. He became a Royal College of Surgeons Fellow in 1966.
In London, he married Ann Simmons. After two years, Chang became head resident at the Mayo Clinic.
In 1972, he returned to St Vincent’s Hospital as a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon.
Chang became a Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Fellow in 1973 and an American College Fellow in 1975.
At St. Vincent’s Hospital, Chang worked alongside Harry Windsor, Australia’s first heart transplant surgeon.
In the 1980s, Chang campaigned to fund St. Vincent’s heart transplant program.
This was made possible by anti-rejection medicines.
On April 8, 1984, Chang led a team that performed Australia’s youngest heart transplant on 14-year-old Fiona Coote.
Between 1984 and 1990, Chang’s unit performed 197 heart and 14 heart–lung transplants.
The team achieved 90% transplant survival after one year. Chang also led a team of scientists, engineers, and marketers.
They aimed to build an artificial heart and cheap heart valves.
Their goal was to address organ donor shortages. In 1980, Chang met Frank Tamru, a marketing and sales professional, at Shiley Laboratories in Singapore.
Together, they created Pacific Biomedical Enterprises Ltd. in Singapore.
They developed mechanical and tissue heart valves, known as St. Vincent’s Heart Valves.
These valves were produced in Guangzhou and Sydney.
They were extensively used in Asia.
In 1966, Chang tied the knot with Ann Simmons.
During a party, Ann started feeling unwell and sought medical attention at St. Anthony’s Hospital in North Cheam, London, where Chang worked as an on-call emergency physician.
Together, they had three children: Marcus, Matthew, and Vanessa.
Their love story unfolded swiftly, leading them to wed in no time.
Ann provided support to Victor throughout his career, and the couple relocated to the United States to undergo training at the Mayo Clinic.
Subsequently, they ventured to Australia, where Victor joined the cardiothoracic team at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney.
Ann was hailed by Victor’s colleagues as a remarkable woman, devoted to both her husband and his professional pursuits.
She actively participated in charitable endeavors, including the Victor Chang Foundation, which Victor established in 1986 to raise funds for cardiovascular disease research and education.
Even after Victor’s untimely passing, Ann remained a steadfast supporter of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, established in 1994 in honor of her late husband, as well as the foundation.
Vanessa, Matthew, and Marcus are the three children of Victor and Ann.
Ann and Victor, growing up in a cosmopolitan environment, experienced diverse cultures due to Ann being English and Victor being Chinese.
As they pursued their respective careers, Vanessa became a doctor, Matthew a lawyer, and Marcus an engineer.
They inherited their parents’ passion for helping others, fostering a strong connection with their father.
The untimely loss of their beloved father left them devastated, struggling to come to terms with their grief.
Vanessa, at the age of 19, exclaimed, “It felt like our entire world shattered.”
Matthew, at 17, declared, “He was my ultimate hero.”
Marcus, aged fifteen, reflected, “He imparted his wisdom, shaping everything I know.”
The children cherished their father’s dedication and achievements, leaving an indelible mark on their lives.