For Martin, cancer came into his life at just 12 years of age, and it has had a profound impact on him ever since
His mother sadly passed away from breast cancer and living in a regional Victorian community in the 1960s, Martin’s family had almost no access to support.
“My father could only talk to the local country doctor who didn’t know a lot about cancer in the early 1960s, so you were on your own basically,” explained Martin.
Making matters worse for Martin, his father never sat down with his three sons to explain, in a way they might understand as 10, 12, 14 year olds, what was happening with their mum. This has impacted Martin ever since. Family friends ended up telling the boys that their mother was not expected to live much longer.
Now at 65 years of age, it still troubles Martin that he couldn’t visit his mother before she sadly passed away all those years ago.
“From what I understand, back in the day, the medical opinion was that it was too upsetting for children to see cancer patients in hospital. We weren’t allowed to see mum on the numerous occasions she was in our local country hospital for treatment over a two-year timeframe. On another occasion, my two brothers and I were sitting in the car for an hour while dad was visiting our mum at the Peter McCallum Cancer Centre – as we were not allowed in to see her,” said Martin.
“I’ve had to work at moving on from mum’s cancer diagnosis and treatment, and that’s why I’m so passionate about supporting the Cancer Council and all the amazing work it does. All the leaps and bounds that happen, that only happens from research, which can only happen from regular donors,” said Martin. He believes many in our community still think the vital work the Cancer Council does is Government funded, which is not always the case.