Tamina’s Australia-first cancer surgery
Tamina Burns was the first patient in Australia to receive a new life-changing surgery. Her mum, Pam, is now giving back as her way of saying thanks.
When Tamina was 13, back in the 1980s, Pam made the decision to bring her from their home in Cairns to the Adelaide Children’s Hospital (as it was then known) for treatment of her Ewing’s Sarcoma.
By coincidence, a doctor had recently returned to Adelaide from the US where he had learnt a new treatment for this kind of tumour that had never before been performed in Australia – an allograft.
The surgery was a great success and meant that Tamina’s leg was able to be saved, instead of being amputated as Pam had seen happen to other children with Tamina’s diagnosis.
“We were in the right place at the right time,” Pam says.
After various other surgeries and treatments, Tamina was cancer-free.
Brilliant care and life-long friends
The family spent ten months in Adelaide being cared for at the Hospital, and made some beautiful connections during that time.
One nurse, Doris Henderson, has been a particularly large part of their lives.
“She was so good to us,” Pam says.
“When she was on night shift, she’d bring in cards and sit there next to me.”
“When Tamina was well enough to do so, Doris would take her out to the nurses station to ‘help’ out!”
“I remain friends with her. We are still in touch. We’ve been on holidays together. She’s stayed here with me, and I’ve stayed with her in Adelaide.”
Creating a legacy
Sadly, Tamina’s cancer returned later in life, and she passed away in her 20s after the birth of her own child, Jazmine.
Pam expresses immense gratitude for all the healthcare workers who looked after Tamina throughout her life.
Recently, she made the decision to give back by leaving a gift in her Will to the Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation, creating a beautiful legacy for not only herself, but also Tamina.
Her friend, Doris, is a member of our Golden Hearts Bequest Society and helped her get in touch with our Bequest team to arrange this.
Pam says, “I recently changed my Will and I wanted to give money to charity. The Women’s and Children’s Hospital was one place that straightaway, without even thinking about it, I knew I wanted to leave money to.”
“I can’t speak any more highly of the Hospital. It completely changed my world. It was such a traumatic time, but we couldn’t have been in better hands.”
Gifts in Wills
For a confidential discussion about leaving a gift in your Will, or to request wording for your solicitor, click here.
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