LOSING her 45-year-old son Brian “Unit” Wilson to cancer was the toughest experience of Dawn Butler's life.
But she gains some peace from knowing his legacy lives on through the annual jetski fundraising event, now known as the Trinity Powersports Sea-Fari.
And while he never had much money in life, it was an inheritance he received before he died, that helped kickstart the event.
“He received an inheritance and he gave $15,000 of that to start the event off – his dream was the tranquillity room (at Cairns Hospital, now underway) so it's really satisfying for me to know that that is underway and the event is still happening to help other people,” Mrs Butler said.
It was ironically a pancreas issue that led to the discovery of Brian's lung cancer.
“He had a pancreatic attack and went in for a scan and they found the shadow on his lung but by then it had already started to spread,” Mrs Butler explained.
“He had a great sense of humour and never talked about the cancer to me. I remember we went out together one day, and he'd gone blind from the treatment and I told him to look at something. He said, ‘Bloody hell Mum, I can't see.'”
“It's still hard to think sometimes that he's just not around anymore,” she said. “But I do feel a sense of pride that it's still running and I'm so proud of his legacy – it's like a piece of him's still here.”
Mrs Butler travels to the Far North every year for the event from her home in Victoria.
Unit was the event's inaugural sponsor donating $15,000 to kick-start in 2011. Sadly, just two Fundruns later on May 19, 2012, Brian lost his battle with cancer. He will be remembered by all who knew him as a determined individual, who helped others before himself.
The Trinity Powersports Sea-Fari Great Barrier Reef Island Hop will depart Yorkeys Knob on January 26, stopping off at various islands on the way to Port Douglas for lunch. The Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation has been hosting a Seadoo personal watercraft art union at various shopping centres in Cairns and participants in the event can still register.
To register to take part or buy raffle tickets, visit www.seafari.org.au.
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