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Davina’s selfless generosity could spark research breakthrough

Before tragically losing her life to incurable blood cancer in 2018, Davina Sickerdick made a lasting commitment to others facing this devastating disease.

Davina Sickerdick standing outside Buckingham Palace in London
Davina Sickerdick pictured in London

Davina was diagnosed with myeloma after persistent back pain raised concern with her GP.

Myeloma, also known as multiple myeloma, affects more than 140,000 people worldwide each year – last year more than 2,000 Australians were diagnosed.

Davina’s partner of 22 years, John, remembers the relentless radiation, chemotherapy and stem cell harvesting that followed her diagnosis.

“There was never really a break with it,” said John. “When you have myeloma you are permanently on chemotherapy, meaning hospital visits every month and blood tests at least twice a week.

“She really had a terrible time with it, various complications along the way and she was allergic to some of the drugs.”

With her health getting worse and faced with the reality she may not survive, Davina decided she wanted to help others.

“Davina was that sort of person,” remembers John.

“She couldn’t do enough for anyone, and nothing was too much trouble.”

Davina always considered herself to be an ordinary person but her family and friends thought of her as extraordinary, full of life, colourful and loved anything that had a little “sparkle”.

“She was the one who took the initiative and contacted the Leukaemia Foundation to discuss the process [of leaving a Gift in Will].

“They armed us with the correct wording and made sure we were well supported to make our wishes clear and formalised.

“My Will reflects the same thing as Davina’s – I will be directing money towards helping more people battling blood cancer through the work of the Leukaemia Foundation.”

Professor Andrew Zannettino will work to eliminate the disease with Davina’s kind gift

Davina’s kind gift has funded strategic research projects looking to better understand myeloma and why so many patients relapse after initial treatment.

With Davina’s gift, Professor Andrew Zannettino from the University of Adelaide has embarked on a three-year study to target certain cells which could eliminate this disease.

“The impact of this gift cannot be underestimated,” said Professor Zannettino.

“Davina’s generosity means we can look for new ways of beating blood cancer and hopefully ensure no one else has to experience the same struggle.”

John is looking forward to seeing real outcomes for families battling blood cancer and encourages others to consider updating their Will.

“I just hope more research can be done, and not just in myeloma, I know there are many other blood cancers needing the same type of support,” said John.

“I feel very proud and happy to think that her gift could spark a real breakthrough, we always spoke about making a difference with our estates and I hope this can make a really positive change for society.”

More than 50% of Australians over 18 don’t have a Will in place (Moneymag, Feb, 2019). Make 2020 your year to double check your Will is sorted and consider leaving a lasting impact for people living with blood cancer. If you would like to know more about leaving a gift to the Leukaemia Foundation, please contact Emma Quigley, Gifts in Wills Officer on 1800 620 420 or email GiftinWill@leukaemia.org.au.

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