Ken's story

Posted 5 Jun 2019.

"There wasn't a dry eye in the room when I danced with my daughter at her wedding in March. None of us thought I'd make it."  - Ken Wright, Busselton

Ken thought he was still going strong at 65.

He was working at an aged care home in Busselton and he wasn't ready to retire. He wanted to work for another five years.

Little did he know he had a deadly killer hiding in his lungs. Mesothelioma is an invariably lethal cancer caused by asbestos.

Ken's diagnosis destroyed his dream of many years of happy retirement and enjoying his grandchildren.

Life became a question of months, not years.

Mesothelioma is deadly. But new research could change that. You can be part of a world first treatment being developed right here in Perth by donating today.

In May last year, Ken began coughing at night and finding it hard to sleep.

Then a persistent cough and severe pain in his left side took him to Bunbury Hospital's Emergency Department, then to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth where he got his terrible news.

"I began to seriously think that my time on this earth was going to be very short," said Ken.

Ken had reason to be worried.

The average time between diagnosis of mesothelioma and death in Australia is 11 months, and WA has one of the highest rates of mesothelioma in the world. That's why local researchers are working hard to find new treatments.

The research:

Professor Anna Nowak is a world leading clinical researcher in mesothelioma based right here in WA at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and The University of Western Australia. 

Her current work focuses on developing blood and tumour testing that helps researchers understand which mesothelioma patients get the most benefit from a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy, and how that can be improved.

The good news is that a new treatment could be available in as little as two or three years!

By donating today, you can help fund this world first development.

Donate online now.

Ken was worried he wouldn't live long enough to walk his daughter down the aisle.

But he did.

"It was a very emotional wedding, particularly the bridal dance," he said.

"There wasn't a dry eye in the house. Everyone in the room knew what we had been going through and when we stepped out onto the dance floor everyone just broke down."

Our team met with Ken a week after the bridal dance. He was in good spirits and filled with love and goodwill after the wedding. Sadly and suddenly, Ken was admitted into palliative care one week later and passed away peacefully.

As a supporter of Cancer Council WA, you helped Ken and his wife, Lindsey, with advice, support and accommodation at our Lodges when they had to come to Perth for Ken's treatment. So thank you for your generosity and your compassion. 

You have the opportunity today to be part of developing a world first treatment for mesothelioma, happening right here in WA.

Please donate if you possibly can.


We'd like to thank Ken and the Wright family for sharing their story with our community.

A caring husband and proud father beloved by all who knew him, Ken wanted to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure. That's why we are raising funds for Professor Nowak's mesothelioma research. Every advance could give a patient like Ken and his family a few more months or even years together.

More information:


Found in:  News - 2019 | View all news