Trace was the most adorable, charismatic and charming guy, with a contagious laugh and a cheeky smile. He was a fun-loving guy who lit up the room wherever he went. He had a heart of gold and a tremendous passion for helping others. In his professional life he was a dedicated fundraiser working for a variety of charities including the San Diego Hospice Foundation and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. His fundraising career continued after moving to Australia working for the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Mission Australia, and his career was about to continue at St. Vincent’s Curran Foundation but instead or working for the hospital he became a patient.
In 2013 Trace was diagnosed with MDS – Myelodysplastic Syndrome, a disease which stops bone marrow making healthy blood cells. After several rounds of chemotherapy, it was determined his only option was to have a Bone Marrow Transplant, so in February 2015 he checked into St. Vincent’s Hospital. From the day he arrived, Trace tried to put a smile on everyone’s face, impressing the people around him with his humour, his strength and resilience, courage and determination.
Even while battling for his own life his thoughts were on helping others. He was told the nurses on the ward were trying to raise money for The Leukeamia Foundation’s Worlds Greatest Shave and that one ‘anonymous’ nurse was going to go bald if they reached their target of raising $2,000. Trace only found this out the day before the scheduled event and was so touched with their efforts he signed himself and Neil up and spent all his available energy fundraising. The next day he was so pleased that between himself and Neil they had raised over $7,000 and he got out of bed and walked to the wards reception area to shave Neil’s hair off, next to the no-longer anonymous nurse. This was to be Trace’s last public appearance.
Tragically he succumbed to severe GvHD (Graft vs Host Disease) three weeks later after nothing short of an inspirational battle.
Inspired by his partner’s heroic battle and determined to ensure a lasting legacy for Trace, Neil Pennock made a commitment to raise $300k to fund a room in the new BMT Ward at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney [HYPERLINK] to be named after Trace. He did this by setting up the All for Trace Fundraising Group, whose events included a head shave, running 14 kms in Sydney’s City2Surf twice and a charity skydive. Amazingly, and thanks to a lot of extremely generous (and brave) people, the group raised $300k in under 2 years.
But funding the room at St Vincent’s Hospital was only the first step. Throughout the campaign, it became increasingly obvious to Neil that some good needed to come from losing Trace and so the TLR Foundation was established to continue this vital work. We know Trace would be very proud.
Our first goal was to help the patients directly by contributing to a first class facility at St. Vincent’s hospital and funding one of the rooms. Our second goal is to help the nurses who care for patients having to go through this most confronting of treatments. Our ultimate goal is to educate the young people of Australia and encourage bone marrow/stem cell donation.
We want everyone to know how easy donating stem cells actually is and how just a few hours of your time could potentially save someone’s life.