Peter treasures every Christmas with his family

Posted 5 Dec 2018.

Peter with his wife, Kirsten

Peter Symonds is a 60 year old father of six from Booragoon, living with a terminal cancer diagnosis.

Despite his terminal cancer diagnosis, he is hopeful this Christmas will not be his last and with exciting new breakthroughs in treatment being explored right here in WA, we're hopeful, too.

"We (patients with no cure) are called lifers because we will be having treatment and surgeries for the rest of our lives and I am ok with that because I know while they are treating me there is hope, when they stop treating me, it's over."

You might recognise Peter from our June edition of eNews. For the last three years he has participated in the HBF Run for a Reason, raising over $30,000 for our cancer research program.

Like many with a terminal diagnosis, Peter finds hope in cancer research. This hope is what has motivated him during the toughest time in his life.

"Cancer is a very expensive business, but somewhere out there, a person in a lab who never gets recognition for their work is tirelessly working away and could stumble on a cure for your cancer, and that's what you hope for, that's why you keep going, you're waiting for your turn, without funding it doesn't happen.

Every time you hear that they have a cure or new treatment for any cancer you feel like it's a huge win for the team."

Peter, Kirsten and their family enjoying a holiday

It's because of supporters like you, and Peter, that we can continue to fund ambitious research projects, like that of Professor Ruth Ganns, from the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. Ruth is trying to find a way to stop tumours from resisting treatments.

"In advanced stages, tumours can often become resistant to the body's immune system because of a tangled web of blood vessels surrounding and feeding the tumour.

"We're developing a drug that can push through this tangled web to normalise the blood vessels. Our research shows that, once the drug has normalised the blood vessels, current immunotherapies can be sent into the cancer more effectively."

If treatments can be more effective on aggressive tumour types, people with terminal cancers, like Peter, will have renewed hope of surviving.

In the 2017/2018 financial year, Cancer Council WA was able to commit $3.7 million of funding to support 68 of WA's brightest and best cancer researchers, like Professor Ruth Ganss. This was only possible thanks to people like Peter and like you.

This research provides hope for the thousands of West Australians who, like Peter, are facing a cancer diagnosis.

Your continued support is needed. Please help us to continue funding cancer research projects, like that of Professor Ruth Ganss by donating generously today.


Despite his terminal diagnosis, Peter and his family remain hopeful and are focused on making the most of the time they have together.

"We travel when we can afford it and we laugh. We laugh a lot, even at the lowest of times we have laughed - it is so important to keep having fun.

I am one of the lucky ones, I have a great support group and I have been going for three and a half years, if you had told me at the start that I would still be here in three and a half years I wouldn't have believed it."

Found in:  News - 2018 | View all news