A legacy of Cancer Research in Joan’s Honour

After 47 years of marriage, Reg Kelsey’s wife Joan passed from breast cancer. Reg chose to honour Kelsey’s life through including a gift in his Will to the Australian Cancer Research Foundation. He encourages others to do the same to help avoid what Joan went through.

Reg was a 23-year-old ambitious young man and rode motorbikes. Joan was a 21-year-old from a good Adelaide family. He spotted her while riding past her house one-day.
“She was standing out front and our eyes locked. Each day thereafter, I smiled at her.

Several months of ‘drive-by-smiling’, Reg asked her out.

He was pleasantly surprised to learn Joan shared his love of motorbikes!

“Not only did she like motorbikes, but she was also an accomplished piano player, was smart and vivacious. I felt very lucky indeed!

As Reg worked his way up the ladder in the motor-industry, he was on the road a lot. Without a permanent address of his own, he boarded with Joan’s parents. On weekends they rode motorbikes.
After three years of courting, aged 23 & 27 years, Reg and Joan married.

“We were very well suited. You don’t have 47 years of marriage unless you’re well matched.”

Joan and Reg had a daughter, then Joan returned to the workforce.

“Joan was a fast learner and quickly gained work as a doctor’s receptionist. We became friends and socialised with the doctor and his wife. This made it easier when the doctor gave Joan the news she had breast cancer. Joan was just 38-years-old. Our daughter was 14.
“When Joan went for her operation, the doctor called me mid-surgery to confirm she needed a mastectomy. I just said, “do what you need to do, Doc.”

Despite the surgery, the cancer eventually returned.

“It spread to the kidneys and finally the spine. After 3 months in hospital, we discussed palliative care and I asked Joan what she wanted. She said she wanted to go home.”

“I fulfilled her wish but she only lasted 3weeks. She passed in our home aged 70yrs. The saddest part is that we didn’t get to enjoy retirement. Joan was just too sick.”

Reg remains thankful for the time they had.

“You can only play the hand you are dealt. I still feel pretty lucky she said yes! After he retired, Reg drew up his Will, and decided to include a gift to ACRF.

A bequest to research is the best way I can think of to help end cancer. “