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Jenny wants her gift to make a better world

Thursday 20 August, 2020

Jenny has remained warm and vibrant through the hardship of supporting two loved ones on their cancer journeys. She is now leaving a gift in her Will to honour their lives and memories.

Jenny married Errol in 1970, then just a few months later, Errol found a lump in his neck. After many tests, his doctor told Jenny he had cancer.

“He said, ‘It’s not going to end well, but he might live for a long while’,” Jenny recalled.

Errol began radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment, which Jenny said were “very raw” in those days. Errol received them throughout their 20 years of marriage.

“You get to live with it,” Jenny said. “You live in this hospital world. Your life revolves around what’s happening there.”

They spent two decades together, with Jenny working in accounting and sales and progressing to Sales Manager role. Errol bravely continued going to work even on his worst days. Sadly, he died just a week after turning 50.

Jenny in the early days of her marriage to husband Errol, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in the 1970s.

“He didn’t have any cancer left in his body when he died,” Jenny said. “He’d had that much chemotherapy it just killed his body off. Had Errol been diagnosed today, he’d probably still be here.”

Years later, shortly after Jenny had retired, life gave her a lucky break when she met her partner, Dick.

A Hobsons Bay councillor and school principal, Jenny said Dick was a “beloved local icon” who had lost his wife to ovarian cancer and had been through bowel cancer.

In 2005, two years after they met, Jenny encouraged him to have his prostate checked. A follow-up biopsy showed he had both cancer in his prostate and kidney.

Thankfully, specialist medical care developed by advanced cancer research allowed Jenny and Dick to enjoy several years together, until Dick passed away in 2016.

Jenny’s experiences with cancer were never easy, and during Dick’s treatment, she reached out to Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 information and support line for help.

“It's a challenging thing, because your heart goes out to them, and all you want to do is make them better and do everything you can for them,” she said.

“I called the nurses a couple of times. They’re giving the right advice and go above and beyond; they’re terrific.”

The advances in treatment that research has made and the wonderful support she received have inspired Jenny to leave a gift to Cancer Council in her Will.

Jenny thinks everyone should consider doing the same.

“We want a cancer free world, and we can do this just by leaving something in your Will,” she said. “It's an easy thing to do, and it's going to make a different world.”

If you would like more information on how you can leave a gift to Cancer Council Victoria in your will, contact Karen Wall on 03 9514 6512 or karen.wall@cancervic.org.au.