Marj’s gift of hope towards a cancer free future

9 September 2019 | Cancer Council NSW

Money. Family. Relationships. Career, Cancer… Why are we here? And what do you want to be remembered for?

There are so many things we don’t discuss in everyday conversation. But, at 79, Marjorie Pettigrew doesn’t get shy anymore. She’s had cancer twice herself, nursed two children through their own cancers and lost two siblings to cancer. She’s passionate about helping other people affected by cancer. And she recently made the generous decision to leave a Gift in her Will to Cancer Council NSW.

We talked to Marj recently as part of Include a Charity Week to thank her for her incredibly generosity, and to learn more about why she’s made this decision.


Why did you want to give back to Cancer Council NSW?

It all starts from my own experiences with cancer – I know all too well what cancer is.

I’ve had breast cancer twice myself – first over 20 years ago and then again 4 years ago. My brother died of liver cancer at just 52. He wasn’t vigilant with his health and he didn’t know he had cancer until it was too late. I miss him every day. And then my sister also died of cancer at 67. Unfortunately, she wasn’t as lucky as me. Two of my children have also had bowel cancer and thankfully they’re both now in remission and I hope their cancers don’t dare to come back.

Throughout it all, Cancer Council has been there whenever I needed them. I would call their 13 11 20 Information and Support line, and there was always someone there to listen, offer support or put you onto the right person. So, this is where my passion comes from – my passion for supporting other people affected by cancer and for raising funds to find a cure. Besides my family and my husband Ron, Cancer Council was always there for me and now I am trying to be there for them.


How did you first get involved?

Over 20 years ago, I started volunteering for Daffodil Day in my local community at Richmond Mall. I am still volunteering today and will continue to do so for as long as possible.

I’ve also done Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, raising over $30,000 since 1999, which is amazing to think about. But it isn’t just me, it’s everyone around me. Volunteering gives me a lot of joy because I’ve met so many wonderful people in the community.


What made you decide to then leave a Gift in your Will?

After volunteering for quite some time, I wanted to do more to support people affected by cancer. It’s something I care very strongly about. So, I took the step of leaving a Gift in my Will for Cancer Council NSW.

I know that Cancer Council NSW will put the funds to good use – whether it’s funding research, or helping people when they need advice or support, or just raising awareness about cancer and reducing people’s risks. And for me it’s simple really: Without funding, they can’t do the work that they do…

I always say if you can’t give now, you can leave a Gift in Will after you go, so write it in your will. No matter how small, we can all do something. And it’s a wonderful way to leave behind a legacy that I’m proud of.


As a community-funded organisation, Cancer Council NSW relies on the generosity of supporters like Marj to work towards a cancer free future. As this week is ‘Include a Charity Week’, we’d like to invite you to become a part of this movement, too. If you’re interested in leaving a gift of hope like Marj, you can request a Cancer Council NSW Gift In Wills Booklet and free Will Kit today.