My recent 40th birthday celebration with 100 nearest and dearest friends and family was held in memory of my loved friend Anna. On the night, we raised just over $7,000 for ACRF by participating in the Birthday Donations In lieu of Gifts program.
Never comfortable being the centre of attention, I had no intention of having a birthday party. Turning 40 is something of a milestone birthday but all I had in mind was dinner out with my mother, husband and our three young children. Then Anna lost her battle with bladder cancer, suddenly and unexpectedly, which of course had a profound effect on her family, my family, and our mutual friends. So I decided to throw a party to both celebrate life and fundraise in Anna’s memory. I wanted to make a difference, however big or small, to cancer research and awareness. Anna would have loved the big party idea because she had been thinking of ways to help raise bladder cancer awareness when she was going through treatment. Anna didn’t have her chance at raising funds for cancer research but I could do it for her.
The list of my friends and family who have either been affected by cancer or lost their battle to cancer goes on and on. Closest to home was my dad who died of bladder cancer when he was only 56 years old. Losing dad was, without a doubt, the worst day for my mum, my younger brother and me. All of us still miss Dad so much and not a day goes by without thinking of him. He was a wonderful father and husband and an inspiration to us. I am so sorry that he can’t be here with us today.
It is hugely important to me to support the work of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation because my mother has had a few run-ins with breast cancer over the years. If it wasn’t for the research, I doubt that Mum would still be with us today; she has now beaten the cancer twice. Mum is an amazing and strong woman and I’m very proud of her. Both my mother and father are the type of parents any kid would dream of, and I have been so fortunate to have them in my life.
I genuinely hope that raising money can help save the lives of others affected by cancer, and ensure that other young families will live a full life together. I was comfortable asking for donations rather than gifts for my birthday, and it certainly helped that ACRF is a genuine foundation with a long history of funding ground-breaking cancer research. It was also easier for me to push people to “dig deep” knowing that all of the money donated is tax deductible. I would encourage anyone thinking about fundraising to just go ahead and get started. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive, and every dollar counts!
It was a great feeling on my birthday to receive such wonderfully generous support from friends and family. Knowing that we can somehow make a difference to ensuring that cancer research continues is the best gift.
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