Brent began taking part in Relay For Life as a 28-year-old, wanting to give back to his community. Ten years later, his passion led him to another step: leaving a gift in his Will.
Not long after Brent got involved in Relay For Life, a community-led event dedicated to fighting back against cancer, the phone calls started coming in regularly from his parents, telling him another family member had been diagnosed with cancer.
“I come from a very big family, and suddenly all within about a two-year period all these family members were having to go through that experience,” Brent, a friendly and enthusiastic IT professional from Melbourne, said.
“At that point it completely shifted from just giving to the community to, ‘OK, this is personal for me now,’”.
Already a committed Relayer and the chair of the Albert Park, now Melbourne, Relay For Life Committee, seeing so many relatives go through cancer inspired him to do all he could for a cancer free future – which he has now been doing for more than a decade.
“It became about what I can do to help those my age and younger,” he said.
“I’m not smart enough to work in the research labs, so the best thing I can do is to try and raise as much awareness and as much money as I can to help those who are in the labs.”
Already “in awe” of cancer researchers, Brent became a passionate advocate for all the work being done to reduce diagnoses and support people affected by cancer.
“I’m sure my colleagues think I’m getting a speaking fee from Cancer Council with the amount of times I try to drill it into people about cancer prevention and the support services, just raising general awareness,” he said.
Brent at the Melbourne Relay For Life
“I take my time with people to make sure they’re aware of what programs and supports are running; I think it really can make a difference. I find myself as one extra voice in a somewhat crowded society, but I think one extra voice can’t hurt.”
Brent, now 41, has grown so passionate for this cause that it recently inspired him to take his support one step further – by including a gift in his Will to Cancer Council Victoria.
“I was doing my Will for the first time and had to answer whether I wanted to leave something to charity,” he said. “I didn’t even know that was possible, but I said yes, tick!
“It was a no-brainer for me. It doesn’t cost me anything; it’s a donation that doesn’t impact my wallet."
"You’re not going to be around, so why not give some of whatever you’ve built up over your life and give it to those who really need it?
“Especially right now, with lots of people having to tighten their belt a bit, just ticking the box does a really amazing thing and it’s going to have a long-lasting impact.”
For now, Brent still gets phone calls about cancer diagnoses in his family, but he says they have slowed down. With his Relay For Life work continuing and the gift set in his Will, he’s knows he’s playing an important part in the progress against cancer – and will be even after he’s gone. “We don’t celebrate the successes as much as we should, but it’s always great to see the developments, big and small, that mean cancer doesn’t have to be a death sentence anymore,” he said.
“It’s rare that anyone goes through life without knowing someone with or experiencing cancer themselves. Why wouldn’t you want to help out?”
To learn how you can leave a gift in your Will, contact Gift in Will Manager Karen Wall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 03 9514 6512.
For more information visit cancervic.org.au/bequests.