John Cottam's Story

“Growing up in council houses in Stockport, Liverpool and Manchester in the United Kingdom, I could not have imagined the life that I have enjoyed so far; a happy satisfying career as a Mechanical engineer, travels throughout many parts of the world and now comfortably in retirement. My parents, William and Edna, did their best in awful times to raise me to have a broad view of life. I think, I’ve done alright to make them proud. But it wasn’t always easy for me. As a child, I was very shy and often not alert in class. I can’t tell you whether that had anything to do with a disorder or what, but had there been more awareness in terms of paediatric sleep disorder, I think, my parents would have done their best to address some of the difficulties I had during my childhood. So naturally, children’s welfare has always weighed heavily on my heart as a cause to support. But the connection between children’s welfare and paediatric sleep disorder presented itself through the most unexpected event; a friend of mine about twenty years ago fell asleep at the wheel. Luckily, it was a minor accident but that’s when I first heard about sleep apnoea, which I later discovered I also had, due to ageing. 

The more I discover the importance of a good night’s sleep, the more I want to ensure that the next generation of children benefit from early diagnosis and the best treatment we can give. Research is crucial in generating new knowledge so that we may better understand issues related with sleep disorder among our growing children.  

It would be every parent’s wish to provide the best they can for their child, just as my parents did. But it can only be achieved when we provide the supportive environment in which to raise our children, all of us in the wider community. I have always believed, we are at our best when we’re helping others. And that’s why I have decided to support a post-doctoral position for three years, and in memory of my loving parents, William and Edna. 

John Cottam, in memory of William and Edna”


If you’d like to share with us your own story for supporting the Woolcock, please call our Development Manager Joshua Kim on 02 9114 0414 or email donations@woolcock.org.au.