‘walk for Bernard’ – how brain cancer changed my family

My uncle Bernard died from brain cancer. He was a strong healthy man before the cancer ravaged his mind and his body and took him from us. Brain cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in people aged 0 – 39 years and accounts for more than one third of cancer deaths in children aged under 10. I wish Bernard could have been diagnosed and then given a treatment that cured him. He should have had every chance to recover and live a full life with his family. We miss him being with us every day.

My cousin Kym with her Dad (Uncle Bernard) on her wedding day

My cousin Kym with her Dad (uncle Bernard) on her wedding day

In Australia, the five year survival rate across all brain cancers is just 22%. This statistic MUST change

There has been no significant improvement to brain cancer survival rates in almost two decades, but with research we CAN make a difference. Just 15 years ago Leukaemia killed 90% of patients. Due to funds for research Leukaemia now has a survival rate of 90%.

We MUST find the funds to research brain cancer. We MUST find a cure to stop our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, aunties and uncles dying from this insidious disease.

This Saturday the 8th of March 2014 family and friends are walking 125kms for Bernard. They are walking to raise money for Cure Brain Cancer Foundation the largest dedicated fundraiser for brain cancer research in Australia whose mission is to increase the five-year survival to 50% within 10 years.

It would mean so much to me and my family if you could donate to the ‘Walk for Bernard’ – you can also read about why my cousin Kym is walking for her Dad here.

Proud Dad Bernard with his two daughters Kym (L) and Sascha (R)

Proud Dad Bernard with his two daughters Kym (L) and Sascha (R)

My uncle Bernard was the quintessential Aussie bloke. He possessed every quality that makes us communally proud to be Australian. If you were stranded on the side of the freeway with your car bonnet up Bernard would pull over to see if he could help. If he could fix the problem it’d be done and you’d be on your way, grateful for having met such a decent Aussie bloke. But if he couldn’t fix it and you needed a lift? No worries mate. He’d drive you there. It didn’t matter to Bernard that ‘there’ was an hour in the other direction.

Bernard looking dashing walking his daughter Kym down the aisle for her wedding to Gavin 2006

Bernard looking dashing walking his daughter Kym down the aisle for her wedding to Gavin 2006

Bernard was our family’s go-to-guy. Leaking roofs, faulty reticulation, weird sounds coming from the car, DIY bathroom renovations gone wrong, air-con not working, the plumbing packing it in, rooms needing re-wiring, the fridge isn’t cold enough, built-in-robes built the wrong size, the kitchen needs re-grouting! No job was too hard or too much trouble for uncle Bernard. Every favour our family ever asked of him was met with a, “Yep can do. I’ll come around this weekend”. Bernard could fix anything on the spot. The few jobs he couldn’t fix on the spot he would take back to THE SHED. THE SHED was tradie heaven with every imaginable tool that sawed or ground or cut or turned or had some kind of joint attached to it connected with other joints to cut or saw or grind. I have no idea.

Last summer I paid a guy $700 to fix my reticulation. Bernard would’ve been spewing he couldn’t do it for me. Our family misses him tremendously.

My uncle Bernard was healthy. He was fit. He didn’t smoke and he didn’t drink. Brain cancer took him from his family on the 12th of May 2008. WE MUST FIND A CURE.

My cousin Kym is walking for her Dad. My aunty Trix is walking for her husband. Bernard’s friends are walking for their best mate. They are all walking for Bernard. Please help us find a cure for brain cancer by donating to their WALK FOR BERNARD.

My aunty Trix and her hubby uncle Bernard. Happily married for 35 years.

My aunty Trix and uncle Bernard. Happily married for 35 years.

Thank you for reading my blog. PLEASE share it with anyone you can. We must assist organisations like Cure Brain Cancer Foundation to raise the funds needed for brain cancer research.

And thank you to my cousins Kym and Sascha for allowing me to write about your Dad. I’m so sorry.



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