Pat O’Sullivan, Dreams2Live4 Board Member
“There won’t be many who haven’t been touched by cancer in some way in their lives. In 2011, I lost my 23-year-old nephew to this terrible disease. It was the final trigger for me to give up full time work and go and do the things I wanted to do in life. One of these things was to give back in some meaningful way. But what that would be… I didn’t quite know at that time.
Sure I could join a board of a charity, but I already do that in my professional life. I wanted to find a charity that allowed me to put something more of myself into, to stretch myself, to share my connections in a positive way and frankly just to be a better human being.
So not long after giving up full time work, my wife introduced me to Louise Mahoney.
We sat over a coffee and she explained to me the D2L4 story. When Louise shared with me how a washing machine, or a dog or a last family holiday or a meet and a great with a famous person could make such a difference to someone living with cancer and their family and friends: I was hooked. It inspired me that people with such a challenging illness had dreams that weren’t achievable for them in their own right but could be provided for them by an organisation like Dreams2Live4.
Louise’s sister, metastatic cancer sufferer Annie Robinson founded Dreams2Live4. Annie discovered she had cancer when she was pregnant with her first and only child. However, she was determined not to be defined by her illness. Everyone I have talked to about Annie said she lived with great hopes and goals: having had her dream granted as the backing singer for Human Nature. She wanted the patients struggling through scans, tests and sadness to find their way back to joy again.
Annie passed away in 2009 but she has left a huge lasting legacy of hope which lives on today in Dreams2Live4. When I first met Louise for that coffee, we chatted about her sister Annie a lot. Annie’s passion and desire was to be able to grant Dreams all over Australia…and that is now what we can do!
So my role at Dreams2Live4 is an active one: as a member of the board and Dream Maker. It has definitely made me think a lot about how I can use my skills to try support people who are less fortunate than me. I fundraise for them, organise events that type of thing. It’s not always about the commercial reality, sometimes we just have to treat each other as people and understand people have families, have challenges, have fears and of course, have dreams too even as life nears end.
The most enjoyable aspect of my work with Dreams2Live4 is the opportunity to work with incredibly passionate people. I find the work I do very fulfilling but I do find reading some of the stories very sad.
As we all know: it is so important to live in the moment. To regularly smell the roses. To show those you care for how much you really love them. None of us know what’s around the corner. None of us know when we might be personally struck by this great curse that is cancer. But what we do know for sure at Dreams2Live4: thanks to Annie’s important insight, is the importance of treating the soul as well as the disease.
One thing for certain is that we will all die. For these people with metastatic cancer they have been given a strong warning that it may happen sooner than they want. So why should they be different to people who aren’t aware that they may die tomorrow from a heart attack or an accident and who are constantly dreaming?
I would highly recommend others get involved with Dreams2Live4. Even if you can offer a small assistance it can make such a difference to even one dreamer.
Pat has been an invaluable board member for Dreams2Live4. His corporate experience coupled with his incredible enthusiasm and empathy has been a huge resource in both fundraising and Dream Making. Pat’s involvement has a very personal motivation. Challenged by the sudden death of his young adult nephew from cancer in 2011, Pat O’Sullivan was looking for a charity to support and one that he felt he would be able to make a difference to. Pat runs several events each year from Car Rallies to Destination Walks, He is a tireless ball of energy and a fantastic support to the Dreams2Live4 team.