Grateful gift from Aunty Liz as she remembers her nephew's treatment

13 December 2023 | Expected time to read: 2 minutes

Liz is the Aunty that every child deserves. A loving and attentive aunt to many nieces and nephews and one of nine siblings herself, family has always been at the heart of what makes life meaningful to Liz. Over the years, Liz and her extended family share an unlimited number of family celebrations and memories, and still do. Her nieces and nephews have always been a focus for celebration and joy.  

One day in 1989, everything changed for the tight-knit family when Liz's 5-year-old nephew Chris developed a lump in his throat.

Having seen two different GPs, initially little Chris was thought to have a cold or croup, however a third GP urgently referred him to an Ear Nose & Throat Specialist. Chris never made the appointment. That night he developed breathing difficulties and things took a frightening turn.

The next day Chris’ parents took him to Camperdown Children’s Hospital (now The Children's Hospital at Westmead). Chris was immediately admitted through emergency, a biopsy of the lump was taken and on further examination it turned out to be more sinister than anyone could have imagined. Little Chris was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

The diagnosis rocked the tight
-knit family.

After the biopsy, Chris spent five days in the intensive care unit and was treated with chemotherapy.

This initial treatment was extended to a month with more chemotherapy and radiation treatment at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick. Chris finally returned home but only for two days before being rushed back to hospital because of a reaction to his treatment.  

Chris continued his treatment for two and a half years, which only stopped for three weeks when he developed encephalitis. When Chris’s treatment ended, he still had to maintain regular visits to The Children's Hospital at Westmead. First it was monthly which became yearly until he was 16 years old. As an adult, he maintains a routine of regular scans and blood tests, now monitored through his GP.   

When a child becomes seriously unwell, sadness, stress and helplessness spreads throughout the family. For Chris, his parents shouldered the burden of the seemingly endless trips to the hospital for treatment while at the same time caring for their newborn who was only two months old when Chris was diagnosed.   

While her sister and brother-in-law kept their little family close in an enclave of love, care and support, Liz helped as best she could with frequent visits to her nephew in hospital, providing some respite for the family. During these visits, Liz was able to observe what was going on around Chris.   

"Chris was very brave'' says Liz.....''during my visits to Chris in hospital, I was able to see firsthand the devoted care and support the hospital staff gave him and the other child who he shared the room with".   

Liz is grateful for her nephew's recovery. He is now grown, has a career and is married with a daughter of his own. He’s everything his aunt could have hoped for and more, and this is why Liz is leaving a gift in her Will to SCHF.  

"Many years have passed with Chris being cancer free and I felt it necessary to acknowledge Sydney Children's Hospitals Foundation with a bequest gift in my Will. My hope for the future is for professional quality care to always be readily available for sick children... my decision to give back feels very rewarding'' 

At SCHF, we know that including a charity in your Will is a very personal decision. Leaving a gift in your Will, no matter how large or small, is a powerful way to make a positive difference to the health and wellbeing of children far beyond your lifetime. 

Making or changing your Will to include a gift to SCHF could be as simple as contacting your legal advisor and they will do all the important work for you. Alternatively, you could use an online option to write a Will.  

For a limited time only, from 28 Dec 2023 – 31 Jan 2024, you can write your Will online for free (saving $180) with Safewill, our online Will writing partner. To redeem this offer, complete your Will by 31 January 2024. 

If you would like to know more about leaving a gift in your Will to SCHF, visit our webpage, download our Guide to Making a Will or contact our friendly Planned Giving Team on 1800 770 122 or   

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