I'm Annabelle Wilson, Cure Brain Cancer Foundation's Head of Advocacy. Having recently lost my wonderful husband, Josh, to brain cancer while pregnant with our daughter, I know first-hand the devastating impact brain cancer can have on a family.
That's why the story of Dave Proust (Prousty to his mates) has touched me so deeply. I'm sure it will touch you too.
I’ve been many things in my almost-60 years. A plumber. A firefighter. A footballer. A bush poet. Above all, a proud husband, father and grandad.
One thing I never imagined being is a poster boy for brain cancer.
But now I’m here – now I’m on this rollercoaster of living with terminal brain cancer – I’m literally in the fight of my life. And a big part of that fight is spreading the word about Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. Because they are the only organisation in Australia setting the pace to speed up access to the kind of clinical trials that could give people like me the chance of some precious extra years of life.
When I was diagnosed with brain cancer, I was given two years to live. That was a year ago. Time is running out for me, unless I get lucky enough to join a clinical trial that can find the right mix of drugs or treatment that will prolong my life.
And I’ve got a heck of a lot to live for. My beautiful wife of 40 years, Therese: she’s my rock. Always has been. Then there’s my two amazing daughters and four sons. We’re incredibly close, and 59 is just too darned early to leave them.
But it’s my 10 grandkids I’m fighting hardest for. The oldest is 13: and my youngest grandchild, he’s only three. I just want to live long enough for him to remember me.
Brain cancer is a shocking thing, and it’s flown under the radar for way too long. I didn’t know until I was diagnosed, but for years, brain cancer research has received far less funding than pretty much any other type of cancer. How is that OK? Now we desperately need to play catch-up.
This brutal cancer is killing way too many Australians. It breaks my heart to know that brain cancer kills more children than any other disease and more adults under 40 than any other cancer.
Think about it: babies and children diagnosed with a terminal disease. Mums and dads told ‘sorry: there’s nothing we can do’. And young parents diagnosed with brain cancer: can you imagine the heartbreak of knowing you won’t live long enough to see your babies grow up, get married, have kids of their own?
It’s not good enough. We must do better.
I’m having a hard time thinking about not living long enough to see my grandchildren grow up. The thought of being a young parent facing what I’m facing now, or a mum or dad watching their little one go through this? I have no words.
It’s not right that there are clinical trials available elsewhere that could help prolong life for children and adults with brain cancer. So please, dig deep and give what you can today to help us bring world-class clinical trials to Australia. Your donation, large or small, will give hope to thousands of Australian families like mine.
Dave Proust (Prousty)
Cure Brain Cancer Foundation Ambassador
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