Jen’s story

Because of cancer, my children never met my mother and have little recollection of their grandfather. That’s not what I want for future generations of my family.   So I’m leaving a bequest to Cancer Council NSW in my will to help beat cancer. 

Jen oDonnell and daughter

I’m one in a large family of  nine. The news of Mum’s cancer diagnosis knocked us all for six. We didn’t realise until this point, when Mum seemed most vulnerable, exactly how strong she was. She’d always made it look as though Dad was the one calling the shots and keeping order in our family life. 

Dawn & Baz

Mum and Dad at the Trocodero in Sydney 1956

Mum was so stoic during her cancer journey. Not thinking of herself, she would fret about who was looking after Dad, or who was organising the Christmas gifts for the grand-kids. But we glimpsed other emotions in her – fear, determination and hope – amidst the exhaustion of her treatment.   

Mum’s cancer journey changed all of us forever.  I was 19 when she passed away. Now, more than 20 years later, there have been so many advances in the cancer landscape – not only in research, but also in support for patients and carers. But more improvements are still needed.    

I first made my will in 2008. It was after Dad had died, also from cancer. I had the urgent realisation that my husband and I needed to get our affairs in order. I remember the solicitor asking if I wanted to leave a gift to a charity in my will. The question took me aback. It wasn’t something I had considered. My response was a ‘no’: my priority was to look after the kids.

I didn’t give much more thought to my will until 2014, when I started working at Cancer Council NSW with the Bequest Team. After meeting some of the many dedicated people connected with Cancer Council NSW who have made a bequest to the organisation in their will, I decided I too wanted to invest in future funding to beat cancer.

So this year I updated my will and have included a residual gift to Cancer Council NSW. This way, my gift will remain up to date with any change in my future circumstances – and I know that my family will not feel neglected in anyway. In fact, they have been included in my decision. It is important to me that my children are fully aware of why I have made this gift, and the historical and emotional importance it has to me. 

This will probably be the largest donation that I will ever make. I have trust and confidence that it is going to make a difference to help beat cancer. 

I want to encourage you, just like Jen did, to talk to the Cancer Council NSW about leaving a gift in your will and living on in the fight against cancer.

Get in touch with the friendly team at Cancer Council NSW to talk about your bequest today.