My name is Judith Lane but everyone calls me Judi. I feel very honoured to share my story with you today because I feel many of you will relate to it and it’s one that I am so happy to share.
My baby brother Glenn was a carpenter, a keen yachtsman, he was funny and loved an argument. He was first diagnosed with a Melanoma at 14. He survived another 23 years – we considered that a miracle! When it came back, it moved quickly from his neck to his brain. If you’ve ever seen the devastation that a stage 4 melanoma can wreak, it’s heartbreakingly fast and devastatingly cruel.
And that leads me to Dad. My gorgeous, kind, gentle dad – Norm. He and my brother, Glenn were like two peas in a pod. Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer the year he turned 70. He passed away that same year. We were heartbroken. When I think of Dad, I always see him framed against a big blue sky – golf club in hand looking out into the distance.
And then we come to Nick. My husband. My best friend, my moon and stars. Norway was where my world came crashing down. He wanted to see the Northern Lights. But before he got to see the lights, he had a seizure and then another and, finally, another. Three in one night. And that was the beginning of the end for us.
My husband, my gorgeous, full-of-life husband who made me laugh and loved me so deeply was diagnosed with a brain tumour. An anaplastic astrocytoma tumour – a rare malignant tumour that develops from certain star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes. Stars again! Can you believe it?
He called me his star. He was my sun. And when his light went out, I lived in darkness for the longest time.
Where I am now is because of my birth mother, my brother, my father and my Nick. I am not only a staunch advocate for medical research, I am teaching the researchers of tomorrow the importance of discovery at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research here in Western Australia.
My goal is that the children who come through the doors and enter my teaching lab leave transformed. Not all of them will be inspired to follow a career in medical research, but a few will be transfixed. They are the ones I hope to reach. They are the ones we must support because they will be our stars. And they will guide the way forward.
I believe the work our medical researchers are doing is bigger than all of us. They are like astronomers looking beyond what we can see or even imagine. They are on a path of discovery and it is all done with a sheer determination to give people more time with the ones they love. To me, that’s deserving of my support and I hope yours too.