Dean's Story

After losing his beloved wife Melody to breast cancer, father of three Dean Hollonds is a passionate supporter of cancer research and the Lucky Duck Lottery, having recently won first prize in our Art Union 18 Lottery draw.

Having lost his beloved wife Melody to breast cancer, Lockyer Valley man Dean Hollonds is now more than just a tradie and business owner, but a single father to three teenage girls.

With Melody diagnosed in 2010, and sadly passing from the disease seven years later, Dean is always eager to support any fundraising initiatives that help fund cancer research or help cancer patients, and has done for a number of years.

This year he got more than a little back for being a supporter of cancer research, when he bought a ticket in the PA Research Foundation’s (PARF) Lucky Duck Lottery, winning $1000 in the Art Union 18 draw, announced in May.  The win came after the family were regulars at the now retired PARF fundraising event ‘Australia’s Biggest Duck Race for Cancer Research’ while Melody was being treated.

“Whenever I see anything that's for cancer, I always put my hand in my pocket, because if I believe it's going to the right cause, absolutely I can say it’s worth it,” Dean said.

With Melody spending lots of time in Toowoomba and Brisbane for treatment, Dean said having seen the journey breast cancer patients go through he is willing to do what he can to help others who face the same diagnosis.

“They discovered the lump on her breast, and she had the full mastectomy. I believe it was grade three,” he said.

“She was in a bit of remission, so she was pretty keen on getting a breast reconstruction done, I totally understand where she was coming from, it's absolutely amazing what these surgeons can do now.

“It was not long after that, she just had a little lump appear on her neck, and the bloody thing had come back.”

Having supported PARF on and off for a number of years through various lottery formats, as well as supporting other cancer research initiatives, Dean said his support was never about getting something back other than knowing he is helping cancer patients with his charitable dollars - but he was stoked to be called by PARF Chief Executive Officer Damian Topp.

“It was a great surprise. I don't have anything really surprising anymore in my life, except for my darling girls, but that was a lovely phone call to have happen,” he said.

“It made my week. I needed to hear some good news. We keep very quiet, me and the girls, they do a lot of homework, and they've always kept to themselves. When my wife was very sick, we always kept to ourselves a lot.”

Dean remains incredibly proud of the resilience shown by his three daughters with his eldest currently a school captain and said they have all taken on his passion for supporting cancer research in their own ways. His eldest daughter Jessica lopping off her hair alongside her friends for the Ponytail Project with her team named Chop Chicks for a Toowoomba Concordia College cancer fundraising event.

Dean Hollonds with his three daughters; Jorja, Jasmine and Jessica

The family of four still misses their much-loved mum and wife every day and her loss has impacted each family member in its own way, and Dean said from time to time he just has to take some time out with each daughter.

“One daughter she will go a bit quiet, and the school will ring me, and I'll go and pick her up, and we'll go and have a hot chocolate together. We just talk about where life took us, and why, and then we're fine,” Dean said.

“We've got a good circle of friends out here in Withcott and they’ve been really good, we've been here 18 years now. All the schools have been very good to the girls as well.”

Viewing cancer research as "absolutely vital" Dean said part of his motivation to support the Lucky Duck Lottery was the fact people are still passing away from breast cancer all too frequently.

“I hate hearing it on the news all the time. Every time you seem to turn on the news or the radio, someone's getting struck down with this illness again. It's a terrible thing,” he said.

“It's great that PARF are organizing funding and research for this terrible disease. I do know there's a lot of families who suffer from it. It’s just a terrible thing that's happening in the world.”

To purchase your own Lucky Duck lottery ticket to support cancer research, head here.

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