Philip loyally supports ACRF through Workplace Giving

Philip has been supporting Australian Cancer Research Foundation through Workplace Giving for the last 12 years. We couldn’t be more thankful for his dedicated support. He shares his story on how he came to support ACRF below.

“My name is Philip, I’m 51 years young, married and living in Elermore Vale, Newcastle, NSW.  I have two stepsons, the youngest one lives in Melbourne and the oldest lives with us.

I work in Telstra, in Service Outage Management as a Customer Outage Specialist. I like to keep fit and healthy.  Reading and podcasts feature heavily in my day to day routine as well, often walking and listening to an eBook or a podcast as I go.

About 12 years ago, my favourite uncle, Ian (Mum’s younger brother) succumbed to a fast and aggressive acting cancer.  It was a Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the tongue, which started as a persistent little ulceration on the underside of his tongue. 

In the early onset, Uncle Ian endured what I believe is called a Hemi-glossectomy.  This is where the surgeons removed half his tongue, then grafting muscle from his forearm to rebuild it.  Sadly, it was not soon enough as it had metastasised already.  He didn’t last much longer, perhaps a couple of months before asphyxiating in the middle of the night, whilst he was an inpatient at an end of life/palliative care house. It was heartbreaking, to see him fight so hard and to fade away like this, his mind never faltered and he was cognisant to the very end, I think.  Uncle Ian was 63 years old.

He is survived by his wife, Loretta and their two children Kathryn (22-23 at the time) and Kenny (15) at the time.

I idolised my uncle, while I was growing up.  He had been in the RAAF as a Radio Technician and was incredibly smart. We used to spend hours discussing aeroplanes and technology, I would say he had a very dry sense of humour too.  It was fun to hang out with him, so even now I miss him dearly & our many conversations.   I too ended up joining the RAAF, when I was 17.  He was definitely a contributing influence there. I served with the RAAF for 7 years.

Uncle Ian’s death had a profound effect on me, as I felt impotent and wanted to do more somehow.  I knew that although nothing can bring him back (except for our memories and prayers), I needed to do something.

Initially, ACRF wasn’t on the Telstra workplace giving program.  I sought ACRF out on my own volition. I had to organise for a small portion of my pay to be deposited directly.  Things have changed in the last 12 years now, of course. There are so many options in workplace giving & it is so easy to set up too.

I’ve been giving for a little over 12 years now and to be honest, I don’t even notice anymore. This is thanks to the payroll deductions in place.  Although I consider my contributions to be relatively small, they all add up. The sum total over the years was relayed to me, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount and it gave me a great sense of achievement.  It gives meaning to a quote; “From small things, big things grow”.

I have a belief, that many small contributions can make a huge difference.  I can compare it to an experience in my recruit training for the RAAF in Edinburgh, SA in 1986:

Back then, my flight of about 20 odd recruits (equivalent in size to a couple of army squads) were on our way back from Murray Bridge, after completing fieldcraft and exercises in the bush.  There was a highway accident, where a very large trailer had tipped over and was immovable.  All us recruits poured out of our bus and approached the trailer on one side.  Without any fuss and minimal individual effort, we had successfully tipped the trailer back on its wheels.  I remember, only having two fingers of each hand having purchase on this trailer.  I also remember how easy it was, as a group to lift together.  

I favour this analogy, as it highlights accurately, how many small contributions can add up to something incredible.

There are many, higher-profile organisations that I could’ve chosen from.  I ended up looking to ACRF, as I was impressed by their quiet work ethic and dedication to so many research projects.  Seeking out the best scientists and doctors and providing them with grants really struck a chord with me.  Here’s an organisation, I felt could make a huge difference in all our lives. 

After all, we will have all known and loved someone with cancer.

Learn more about supporting ACRF through Workplace Giving here.