Scone Professor Garry Willgoose meets inspirational brain cancer survivor Mark Hughes - and urges local residents to support MHF

Veronica and Garry Willgoose with Mark Hughes at the Mark Hughes Foundation barbecue at GenesisCare at Lake Macquarie Private Hospital.
Veronica and Garry Willgoose with Mark Hughes at the Mark Hughes Foundation barbecue at GenesisCare at Lake Macquarie Private Hospital.

SCONE Professor Garry Willgoose is urging local residents to throw their support behind the Mark Hughes Foundation (MHF) - and its upcoming Beanie for Brain Cancer promotion.

Earlier in the month, Professor Willgoose, who had just finished his own daily radio-therapy treatment, met the inspirational former Newcastle Knight at the MHF's charity barbecue at GenesisCare at the Lake Macquarie Private Hospital.

And, he's a strong advocate for Beanie Week (July 29 to August 2).

Many Sconeites will know him from the Scone Memorial Swimming Pool during the summer.

However, because he works in Newcastle during the week, many others will be more familiar with his wife, Veronica Antcliff, as she's been the Clerk of the Local Court at Scone Court House since 2003.

She has taken leave to look after Professor Willgoose in Newcastle while he undergoes his current round of radio-therapy and chemotherapy.

But, she will be back on deck in Scone shortly when his latest series of treatment finishes.

Professor Willgoose is a long-term resident of the Upper Hunter as he grew up in Muswellbrook while his father, Colin, managed the abattoirs in Aberdeen during the 1960s and 1970s.

After graduating as an engineer in 1980, he worked for four years before doing a Masters and PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, subsequently returning as a lecturer in Environmental Engineering to Newcastle University.

"While brain cancer is a relatively rare cancer, it is difficult to treat and is the main cancer killer of adults aged under 40," he said.

"The cure rate across all sufferers is that about 20 per cent survive five years.

"While for people of my age, only 5 per cent survive five years - and half of those diagnosed die within one year of diagnosis.

"The primary aim of the Mark Hughes Foundation is to improve those poor survival rates through research into better treatment regimes.

"All National Rugby League games in round 19 (July 25-28) are part of the Beanie for Brain Cancer round, with all the profits going to the MHF.

"About $3.5 million was raised in 2018.

"The beanies are also currently available at Lowes.

"One of the important services that the foundation funds is specialist brain cancer nurses throughout NSW who support both the sufferers and their families, similar to how the Jane McGrath Foundation funds breast cancer nurses."

Donations to the MHF can also be made at markhughesfoundation.com.au