Winning for Zach

Zach is smiling at the camera wearing a pale blue shirt against a darker blue background.
Raffle winner Sue explains why she supports The Kids' Cancer Project in her own heartfelt words.

Long-time supporter of The Kids’ Cancer Project Sue Dransfield entered the charity’s latest raffle in March. Little did she know, she’d bought the winning ticket!

Her prize is a $10,000 Myer gift card, which she intends to spend on a shopping spree with her family. Here, Sue explains why she donates to childhood cancer research in her own heartfelt words.

Where it all began

I write through misty eyes. It’s still very hard for me to put it all down on paper. Firstly, thank you to The Kids Cancer Project. I am delighted to have won Raffle 98 and a $10,000 gift card.

My family has supported The Kids’ Cancer Project for six years, starting after my grandson Zach sadly passed away from medulloblastoma. Whether by donating The Kids’ Cancer Project bears, or fundraising through sports and school, we have kept the charity in our thoughts ever since Zach’s passing.

Ironman Zach

At the age of five, Zach was diagnosed with brain cancer. What happened next was a whirlwind three years, starting with flights (from Darwin to Westmead to Sydney) and operations to attempt to remove his cancer. His sister Charli was three at the time, with youngest sister Bailey being just six weeks old.

Zach decided he was Ironman: he was going fight the baddies invading his body. He became everyone’s superhero, including mine. He never asked questions, continuing through each treatment step.

Watching him undergo intensive chemotherapy, plus radiation and stem cell treatment, left me feeling helpless. I was heartbroken, both as a grandmother to Zach, and watching the desperate eyes of my son Winton and daughter-in-law Greer.

Zach is smiling while lying on a hospital bed, wearing a superhero costume and hugging a teddy-bear.

Throughout it all, Zach’s manners, and beautiful, cheeky smile rarely wavered.

 Zach’s final journey

After three years of procedures, Zach’s mum and dad had to make the worst decision a parent can ever make. Zach’s cancer had spread into his bone. Specialists let us know it was in his best interests to cease all treatment.

We decided to nurse Zach at home, surrounded by his family. His parents managed admirably, with help from family and nursing staff. It was Zach’s final journey.

Zach poses for a family portrait on a fluffy white rug.

Remembering Zach

Zach taught us all so much in his short life.

Six years on and his sisters Charli and Bailey stand up in school assembly every year to share their brother’s story. I have been fortunate enough to watch the girls speak and they truly are an inspiration. They talk about Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, explaining how the colours yellow and gold signify the sparkle of life. And, with enormous effort from Zach’s mum, they help raise funds for kids’ cancer research.

Thank you again to The Kids’ Cancer Project for all your hard work. I’m sending courage and love to all who are on their own cancer journey.

Imagine our hardworking doctors walking into kids’ cancer wards and sharing progress that has been made towards better treatments, with research discovering treatments with fewer side effects. For this to happen, we must keep supporting science. Kids need your help.