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Cancer Stories - Sonia's Story

Thursday 19 September, 2019

Have you ever wondered what legacy you’ll leave behind? Many of us have – it’s normal to consider how you’ll make a lasting impact on the world.

Sonia is a retired English immigrant who lives in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs and volunteers in the Cancer Council offices. She chooses to support cancer research in her bid to make a fundamental shift for generations to come.

“As you get older you think more about your passions in life and the things that have interested you the most,” Sonia said.

Sonia’s desire to advance the prevention and treatment of cancer inspired her to leave Cancer Council a gift in her Will.

“You just want to leave a bit of what you’ve accumulated over the years to those who mean the most to you, and then to the causes or interests that mean the most to you.”

Sonia said that leaving a gift to cancer research in her Will was the "natural thing to do".

Sonia and her husband know the story of cancer too well. Between them they’ve lost three of their four parents to the disease – including Sonia’s mother.

Although she was living in Australia when her mother passed away, Sonia was able to spend some quality time with her prior to her diagnosis.

“I think it was about 2 years after my visit to England that she developed cancer, then she was gone quite quickly – about 6 months after her diagnosis.

“My mother was the hub of our family, so her loss was quite distressing. Living in Australia, I was removed from being able to care for her and my father, so that was difficult.”

The loss of all three parents only strengthened Sonia’s resolve to aid the cause as much as she could.

Sonia worked as a cancer research assistant at an institute in England after completing grammar school and retained a fascination with the field. She has seen just how much better the outlook has become.

“It‘s a disease that years ago you didn’t stand a lot of chance of surviving,” Sonia said.

“Survival rates are now tremendous, and a lot of that is thanks to donations – people donating around the world to organisations that provide money for research.”

Making a real difference

A gift to Cancer Council in your Will becomes a legacy for generations to come.

Sonia knows that not only will her gift help to provide support and information to those affected by cancer, it will also help fund extensive research programs, including the landmark Australian Breakthrough Cancer (ABC) Study.

This is setting the benchmark for long-term, large-scale studies, recruiting more than 50,000 people to gather information about who cancer affects and why, creating a vital resource for future research.

The ABC Study will help usher in a world in which a cancer diagnosis no longer carries the fear it does today. By investigating the roles of nature and nurture in cancer development, it seeks to predict the disease to greatly improve prevention. This means that the world of our children and grandchildren will not only see fewer lives lost to cancer, but also spare so many from the long and gruelling treatment process.

“I’m hopeful that as the years go by, more and more people will survive, and cancer will be less of a threat than it is now,” Sonia said

Sonia has already seen many signs of hope that this world could become a reality. Through her years supporting Cancer Council she has seen outcomes improve all the time, including a steady increase in survivorship since 1982. This is largely thanks to research funded by inspiring and compassionate donors like yourself, with no amount too little to make a big impact.

“As a family, we have always donated to cancer research,” Sonia said, “and I am appreciating that the survival rate is improving all the time.”

It’s such hopes for a world in which far fewer people are affected by cancer that led Sonia to including Cancer Council in her Will. Having already seen treatments improving in effectiveness, she is a strong believer in the vision.

“For my husband and I, it’s the natural thing to do,” Sonia said. “To make sure that our family and friends are thought about in our Will, and then the things that we care most about.”

A bequest of any amount can make an immeasurable impact, and though it takes kindness and compassion to leave one, Sonia says it isn’t difficult to do.

“It’s very easy if you go along to a solicitor. They’ve got all the right wording and they organise it all for you,” she said, adding that after a lifetime of interest in the cause, it was a simple choice.

If you would like to find out more about the impact you can have on future generations by leaving a gift in your Will, please contact Rob at bequests@cancervic.org.au or on 1300 65 65 85.

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