Our generation’s gift to the next
Bequests are an important source of research funding, giving our cancer researchers the tools to be able to find better ways to treat and support people with cancer. For the family of Harry McPaul – who included Cancer Council NSW in his will after he lost three siblings and his father to cancer – having their brother’s legacy go towards cancer research is very meaningful.
Harry himself experienced prostate cancer, and wanted specifically to have his bequest of $2,245,746 help young people with cancer.
The most recent recipient of the Harry McPaul Program Grant is Associate Professor Claire Wakefield. Her research is showing how bequests are creating a powerful legacy of support for the youngest cancer patients.
More than 20,000 young Australians are now survivors of childhood cancer, but there is a lack of services to support these survivors, and their families, after treatment ends. Associate Professor Wakefield and her team are making young cancer survivors their key focus.
With over 8 in 10 childhood cancer survivors developing at least one side effect appearing long after treatment, her team are committed to develop ways to reduce the long-term impact of cancer and offer greater support to survivors.
“Many young people tell us that it’s hard to just return ‘back to normal’ after cancer. Many aspects of life may have changed because of their cancer journey (for example, relationships with friends and family, physical and mental health), and worrying about the future or cancer recurrence can be really stressful,” she said.
The long-term effects of cancer can be both mental and physical, which is why Associate Professor Wakefield is testing a number of intervention programs to see which are more effective. Among them are ‘Reboot’ (encouraging healthy eating after treatment) and ‘Recapture Life’ (increasing resilience in young people).
Together these interventions are designed to help young adults with some of the stresses they face, prevent chronic physical and mental health conditions, and improve quality of life.