A letter to Laura, three years later...

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Laura. Our beautiful girl.

It’s been three years since we lost you and, well - what can we say? It feels fresh as ever, and unfair as ever. There’s a lot of good happening all around us, but bad alongside it, and this world really could’ve used you in it. Your vibrant self, being clever and funny and coming up with incredible ideas and lighting up the worlds of everyone around you.

We promised you’d be our touchstone for love, for friendship, for strength, and we have kept that promise.

We promised we would talk to you, laugh with you and love you, and we have kept that promise.

We promised we would hold you in our hearts, and that’s exactly where you remain.

You are so missed, always, not just today, but every day.

With forever love and appreciation for you, Laura, from your family and friends.

Oz Tots Dance Studio Randwick continue to support Stop Sarcoma

A big thank you to Oz Tots Dance Studio Randwick, a dance studio that was very close to Laura’s heart. Every year, Oz Tots raises funds for charity at its Gold Coin Dress Up Week.

Laura in 1994 in her dancing leotard

Laura in 1994 in her dancing leotard

This year the school’s principal, Marcia Lindoorn, has donated these funds in support of Stop Sarcoma in memory of Laura. Laura first started dance classes in 1994 when she was just 3 years old. Marcia was Laura’s first dance teacher. Laura also taught at Oz Tots while she was in high school, a role that Laura cherished.

We thank Marcia and all the Oz Tots for raising funds for Sarcoma research. A special thank you to Marcia for helping to make as many people as possible aware of the need for research into this rare cancer, that predominately occurs in children and young adults.

With the continued support of our generous donors, Stop Sarcoma has now raised over $171,400.00 for Sarcoma research.

Kate Nason’s steps to Stop Sarcoma

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Laura met Kate Nason on their first day at university and from that day, their friendship was cemented.

Kate now lives in Melbourne and is participating in the Melbourne Marathon Festival on Sunday 13th October 2019. Her goal is to raise funds for Stop Sarcoma, with all money raised going to the Australia and New Zealand Sarcoma Association.

As Kate says, “I have joined a running club and train at 5am. This is all made easier by knowing I am doing something for Laura. Every step I take is dedicated to Laura.”

Please help us support both Kate and ANZSA by donating through everydayhero here: https://melbourne-marathon2019.everydayhero.com/au/steps-to-stop-sarcoma

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BVN Architecture continues to support Laura & Sarcoma Research

Heather with Peter Clarke of BVN

Heather with Peter Clarke of BVN

BVN Architecture has recently held two major fundraising events, raising over $28,000.00.

The BVN Market Day was held in November 2018. Funds were raised to support Sarcoma research in Laura’s memory and proceeds were donated to the newly formed Australia and New Zealand Sarcoma Association (a research organisation created with the merger of the Australasian Sarcoma Study Group and the Australian Sarcoma Group in 2018). Over $1,700.00 was raised.

Many people contributed to the success of the day and we thank each of them for their efforts.

Barry made and sold Christmas decoration snowflakes which will hang on Christmas trees in memory of Laura for many years to come. Erika sold beautiful stationery and Julie had a second hand book stall, with each donating all profits on their sales. Mel sold carry bags that every young architect wanted. Heather manned the Light of Love Luxury Fragrances stall selling candles & reed diffusers, with funds raised going to Stop Sarcoma.

BVN made the whole night possible and we thank all the principals for their continued support.

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BVN Market Day

Barry’s snowflakes

Tour de Clarke was held on the weekend of 22-24 March 2019. About 30 staff from BVN pedalled 390km over 3 days from Sydney to Canberra to send off the much loved Peter Clarke on his retirement from BVN. For a farewell gift from BVN Peter asked that BVN sponsor the bike ride, that each rider raise funds and that all proceeds go to the Australia and New Zealand Sarcoma Association in Laura’s memory. BVN arranged a professional bike tour group to support the riders on their journey. While many of the riders were used to riding long distances, many in the group were new to cycling but persevered to support Peter and Laura.

Allessandra & Heather from BVN

Allessandra & Heather from BVN

Over $26,400.00 was raised.

Many of our regular supporters, family and friends donated to Tour de Clarke and made special donations for Christmas and Laura’s birthday in Laura’s memory.

With the continued support of our generous donors and BVN, Stop Sarcoma has now raised over $171,200.00 for Sarcoma research.


BVN to bike ride 390km for sarcoma fundraising

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The wonderful team at BVN Architecture continue to remember their colleague and friend Laura with a brand new fundraiser: Tour De Clarke, a 390km bike ride in March 2019.

Tour De Clarke has been organised as an official send-off for BVN Practice Director Peter Clarke, who retired at the end of 2018. The team will pedal from Sydney to Canberra from March 22 to 24. Before they set off, the riders are also raising funds for the Australasian Sarcoma Study Group via everydayhero, with each rider aiming to raise $1000.

Click here to find the link to donate on everydayhero.

In BVN’s words, this is a foundation close to the company’s heart:

“The Australasian Sarcoma Study Group is the peak body for sarcoma research, education and awareness; and dedicates 100% of its donations to sarcoma research. By undertaking outstanding local and international research, they aim to improve early diagnosis and treatment outcomes for sarcoma patients and their quality of life.”

A big thank you to BVN for continuing to remember Laura, and a special shout-out to Laura’s close friend Heather who will be participating in Tour De Clarke - we’ll be cheering for you along the way!

Sargents Pies donates another $50,000 to Stop Sarcoma

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Two years after saying goodbye to our beautiful Laura, and after many hours and efforts into raising funds and awareness for Sarcoma, those of us at Stop Sarcoma are excited to announce that we have reached the $140,033.50 mark for fundraising for sarcoma research - thanks to a second very generous donation from the Sargents Charitable Foundation.

Sargents Pies originally donated $50,000 earlier this year after Laura’s close friend, Graham Earp, put the word out about Laura and Stop Sarcoma at a birthday dinner. This dinner gave an incredible boost to Stop Sarcoma’s fundraising efforts and resulted in Sargents Pies donating a further generous $50,000 this September.

Laura would be thrilled at Stop Sarcoma not only reaching but being significantly over the $100,000 fundraising mark, and we are so grateful to both Sargents Pies and everyone else that has donated.

100% of fundraising goes directly to the Australasian Sarcoma Study Group, one of the only organisations currently working and doing research to help reduce the impact of sarcoma in the community.

For more information on raising money for sarcoma research, click here for our 'How to Help' page.

Light of Love Fragrances raises $610 for Stop Sarcoma

Laura with Sam's sister Mel

Laura with Sam's sister Mel

Light of Love Luxury Fragrances, run by Laura's friend Samantha McPaul, has raised an incredible $610 for Stop Sarcoma.

Sam named Stop Sarcoma as her charity of the month during July, which is also Sarcoma Awareness Month, and donated $5 from the sale of every candle or reed diffuser throughout the month.

Sam started Light of Love Luxury Fragrances in memory of her late twin sister, Mel, who met Laura in hospital. Mel was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer at the age of 21; unfortunately, after many rounds of cancer treatments and days spent in hospital, Mel passed away 3 months short of their 25th birthday.

In dedication to Mel, her love of candles and her kindness and positivity, Sam now donates to a different charity each month, and has raised a grand total of $1430 for various charities so far. Her charity for August is Kiss Goodbye to MS.

A huge thank you to Sam for putting in such a wonderful effort for fundraising for Stop Sarcoma - we were honoured to be your charity of the month.

Sam's beautiful candles and reed diffusers can be purchased by clicking here.

You can also find Light of Love Luxury Fragrances on Facebook by clicking here.

Graham Earp raises an incredible $52,000 for Stop Sarcoma

Graham with Laura

Graham with Laura

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Laura’s close friend, Graham Earp, has again shown his love and support for Laura by raising an incredible amount of money that has been directly donated to sarcoma research.

At a dinner held to celebrate Graham’s birthday this year, Graham raised a toast to Laura and spoke about the need to raise awareness and funds for research into Sarcoma. Graham asked that, instead of gifts, guests make a donation to the Australasian Sarcoma Study Group. From those present, $2,000.00 was raised.

Graham's generosity in dedicating his birthday celebrations to Laura has given an additional and incredible boost to Stop Sarcoma’s fundraising efforts. Through a friend of Grahams, Sargents Charitable Foundation donated $50,000.00 in memory of Laura.

Stop Sarcoma is now within reach of raising $100,000.00, a result that Laura would be so proud of.

A huge thank you to Graham and to Sargents Pies for helping make Laura’s vision for Stop Sarcoma a reality.

As Graham said: “ A big thank you to everyone for your support. Because of your generosity, we have donated $2,000.00 to the Australasian Sarcoma Study Group in Laura’s memory. I also thank   Sargents Charitable Foundation who donated $50,000 to the group as well."

Light of Love Fragrances dedicates July to Stop Sarcoma

Mel and Laura

Mel and Laura

Light of Love Luxury Fragrances, run by Laura's friend Samantha McPaul, has named Stop Sarcoma as their charity of the month.

Throughout July, $5 from the sale of every candle or reed diffuser will be donated to Stop Sarcoma.

Sam started Light of Love Luxury Fragrances in memory of her late twin sister, Mel. Mel was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer at the age of 21; unfortunately, after many rounds of cancer treatments and days spent in hospital, Mel passed away 3 months short of their 25th birthday.

In dedication to Mel, her love of candles and her kindness and positivity, Sam now donates to a different charity each month - including the Cancer Council in April & May 2018 and R U OK in June.

We are honoured to be her charity of choice for July, especially as July is also Sarcoma Awareness Month.

Here is what Sam has to say about Laura:

"I always try to find a ‘gift’ in any tough times that are thrown my way. When I lost my twin sister Mel, I found a gift in a beautiful girl named, Laura. We had met Laura during Mel’s hospital visits for treatment in Sydney. She became a familiar face in the hospital and through time became very close to Mel. Through this friendship, Laura also became a good friend to me. Laura was kind, caring, funny and always happy.

Laura would never replace Mel but she had a true understanding of everything we had been through and became one of my closest friends.

Mel and Sam

Mel and Sam

When we first met Laura, she was undergoing treatment for Sarcoma – a rare cancer that can arise in fat, muscle, cartilage and bone. Laura had a strong passion for raising awareness of this disease and finding a cure through ‘Stop Sarcoma’ Throughout her treatment Laura was determined to continue her studies to become an architect. She did just this and passed with flying colours all whilst receiving treatment and regular check-ups.

Her determination inspired all of those that surrounded her.

Unfortunately, 2 years after Mel’s passing Laura took a turn for the worst. Losing Laura brought up many feelings associated with the loss of Mel. Everyone that knew Laura now had a beautiful soul missing from their lives.

After losing two beautiful young girls in my life at a young age, I have learnt two things:

1.    Cancer does not discriminate – finding a cure is a cause that should be supported as it affects everyone in one way or another

2.    No matter what life throws at you – hold hope, live life to the fullest and no matter what happens always face the day with a smile, just like these two inspirational girls did!

Live with Courage - Love with Faith - Laugh with Hope"

Sam's beautiful candles and reed diffusers can be purchased by clicking here.

You can also find Light of Love Luxury Fragrances on Facebook by clicking here.

Light of Love Candles and Reed Diffusers

Light of Love Candles and Reed Diffusers

BVN Architecture raises $965 for Stop Sarcoma

BVN's morning tea set-up

BVN's morning tea set-up

BVN Architecture has continued to remember their colleague Laura this year by holding a morning tea to raise funds for Stop Sarcoma and the Cancer Council.

Laura’s friend and colleague, Heather, once again organised the event and said a few words about Laura and her feelings about the loss of her friend.

This year Heather also went a step further,  auctioning one of her paintings that she painted for the fundraiser. A silent auction was held after the morning tea and a further $350.00 was raised – the painting going to an anonymous bidder.

A big thank you to Alessandra who conducted the auction and kept everyone motivated to keep bidding, and thank you to all those who made a bid and ensured a great result.

In total, BVN raised $965.00 for Stop Sarcoma. Thank you again BVN – we appreciate everything you continue to do to make sure Laura remains part of your studio.

Heather's beautiful painting

Heather's beautiful painting

Paying tribute to Laura on her birthday in 2018

Lighting a candle for Laura in Japan

Lighting a candle for Laura in Japan

The month of January has always meant celebrations for Laura's birthday - and once again, Laura's family and friends across the world have shown their love for Laura and support for Stop Sarcoma in a series of events and donations.

From Japan (where Laura's friend Natalia lit a candle by a Japanese shrine in Niseko, Hokkaido) to Italy (where Laura's friend Heather sat by the lake of Lago di Como); from Sydney (where neighbours and family friends made donations) to Melbourne (where Laura's friend Kate made a donation in her memory); there was plenty of love shared worldwide for Laura, coupled with the everyday sadness of missing her.

Laura's school friends also gathered for a morning tea - one of Laura's favourite types of celebrations - in honour of her birthday. Many of those friends took the time to look at a photo album put together by Sam, which included photos of some special moments we all shared with Laura. Sam also made a “memory jar”, where friends posted a short note about the times they shared with Laura.

Just over $1,000 was donated by friends, family and neighbours for Laura, making the total now $35,658.50.

Thank you to everyone who took some time on the 9th January to think of their memories with Laura. We know she was celebrating with us, and we will continue to cherish her memory for many years to come.

Heather's view of the clouds parting over Lago di Como

Heather's view of the clouds parting over Lago di Como

Grazyna helps to wrap up a year of Stop Sarcoma donations

Grazyna at her birthday party with donations for Stop Sarcoma

Grazyna at her birthday party with donations for Stop Sarcoma

At the end of another year full of remembering Laura, we are pleased to announce that Stop Sarcoma has raised $34,500 for sarcoma research.

Our thanks goes out to Grazyna Jastrzab, who raised $600 on December 23, 2017. Grazyna is a close family friend who wanted to dedicate her birthday celebration to Laura. Grazyna asked for donations to Stop Sarcoma in lieu of birthday gifts, and had some information about ASSG available for guests on the day, along with some photos of Laura.

"Having known Laura since she was three years old, I wanted to acknowledge and contribute to her initiative of raising funds for sarcoma research and awareness of sarcoma," said Grazyna.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has donated to Stop Sarcoma this year. We have missed Laura dearly, and will continue to miss her in the years to come; the dedication and donations to Stop Sarcoma would have made her very happy.

Laura's birthday is coming up on the 9th January. If you would like to hold an event in her memory, any efforts would be very much appreciated. Click here to learn more about how to help.

Kerim and Melis contribute to Stop Sarcoma

Kerim and Melis on their wedding day

Kerim and Melis on their wedding day

Laura’s friends Kerim and Melis were married on 23 April 2017. They dispensed with a traditional gift for each guest and instead donated the money that would have been spent on those gifts to Stop Sarcoma.

"It was difficult not having Laura's name on our guest list for our wedding," said Kerim. "We would like to make this donation in memory of Laura, and though she was unable to attend, she will always be a part of our special day." 

We thank Kerim, Melis, their families and guests for supporting Stop Sarcoma and showing their love and respect for Laura.   

 

Remembering Laura at BVN Architects, one year later

BVN's morning tea for Laura

BVN's morning tea for Laura

On the 26th September, Laura's friend and work colleague, Heather McCabe, organised a memorial morning tea at the BVN studio. 

The morning tea included all the things that Laura loved, including Lindt chocolates, blueberries, raspberries, cheesecake with raspberries, brownies and chocolate chip cookies. They also had yellow flowers on display to represent the yellow ribbon that is associated with sarcoma.

The memorial card read as follows:

"One year ago we said goodbye to our beautiful Laura. When we think of Laura we think of gatherings of friends, good food and happy times. We wanted to share some of Laura's favourite things with you all and hope that you enjoy gathering here and remembering her beautiful smile."

Thank you to everyone at BVN who continue to remember Laura and raise funds for Stop Sarcoma. 

Kate and Jack raise money and awareness for Stop Sarcoma

Kate and Jack on their wedding day

Kate and Jack on their wedding day

Laura’s friend Kate Nason married Jack Kavanagh on 29 April 2017, and included some special tributes to Laura as part of her wedding ceremony and reception. 

Instead of buying the traditional bomboniere, or wedding favours, Kate & Jack donated the money to Stop Sarcoma and provided each guest with a yellow ribbon, the symbol for Sarcoma. Everyone wore the yellow ribbon throughout the night.

Place names for guests were hand made by Kate, Heather, Michaela, Jess and Isabella using some of Laura’s craft paper and pens. Kate also handmade the bouquets and made one for Laura. This bouquet was placed on a table, handmade by Kate's father Malcolm, along with a candle that was lit for Laura.  

Each guest was provided with the details of Stop Sarcoma to raise donations and awareness of the need for research. 

Thank you to Kate and Jack for making Laura a part of your wedding day. 

Kate's tribute to Laura - Laura's bouquet, candle, photo and heart on a handmade table 

Kate's tribute to Laura - Laura's bouquet, candle, photo and heart on a handmade table 

A tribute to Laura from Kate

A tribute to Laura from Kate

The place settings at the wedding

The place settings at the wedding

Memento of Laura attached to Kate's bouquet 

Memento of Laura attached to Kate's bouquet 

A wedding guest wearing the yellow ribbon in support of Stop Sarcoma

A wedding guest wearing the yellow ribbon in support of Stop Sarcoma

BVN Architects raise funds for sarcoma research

BVN's morning tea

BVN's morning tea

BVN, where Laura worked as an architect, has continued their support of Stop Sarcoma this year, in memory of their friend and colleague.

The company recently held a morning tea to raise funds for Stop Sarcoma and the Cancer Council. Laura’s friend and work colleague, Heather, organised the day and said a few words in memory of Laura. A yellow ribbon was designed and printed in 3D and everyone present wore the yellow ribbon to show their support for Laura and the need for research into Sarcoma. BVN’s offices in Sydney, Brisbane and Hong Kong all contributed to funds raised. 

In addition to the above, BVN has also been auctioning some unwanted furniture and decided to donate the proceeds to charity. The funds, from the Sydney office, have been donated to the Australasian Sarcoma Study Group in memory of Laura.

With BVN's contributions to fundraising efforts, Stop Sarcoma has now broken the $30,000 mark for money raised to go towards sarcoma research, reaching a total of over $32,000. 

Thanks to everyone at BVN who has contributed - your efforts are very much appreciated.

If you'd like to read more about how to help with fundraising efforts, click here. 

Funds raised for Stop Sarcoma: An update

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Many of Laura’s friends and family have remembered Laura during the year by raising money for the Australasian Sarcoma Study Group. We'd like to make some special shout-outs to a few below to thank them for their efforts:

- The McPaul/Nicholls families and Laura’s friends from Orange, who got together and raised $440.00 for Sarcoma research.

- Laura’s good friend Rebecca and a school friend from London, Clementine, who both made generous donations in Laura’s memory

- Laura’s great aunt and uncle, Clare & Gerard, always remembered Laura on her birthday and continued to do so this year with a donation in Laura’s memory. Laura’s family also continue to donate to ASSG each Christmas and on Laura’s birthday.

- A neighbour of Laura’s, Craig Thompson, generously chose the Australasian Sarcoma Study Group as his charity of choice when he attended a charity night recently.  Through Craig’s efforts, a work colleague of his also donated to Laura’s Stop Sarcoma.

With Amy Cohen’s recent donation for Dry July we have now raised a total of $29,736.00 for Sarcoma research.

Thank you to everyone who has made generous donations. To donate or find out more about raising money, please click here.

Amy Cohen raises over $1500 for Stop Sarcoma

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This month's shout-out goes to Amy Cohen, who has raised over $1500 for sarcoma research.

Amy and Laura became friends when they were just 4 years old. It was no surprise that this year, Amy remembered Laura by taking part in Dry July. Amy not only gave up alcohol, but to make it an even greater challenge, she gave up sugar as well. Despite temptation all around her, she survived the month and celebrated with a glass of wine and a small can of Fanta Jellies.

Amy writes: "Thank you to everyone who helped me reach almost 1.5 times my original fundraising target for Stop Sarcoma - you're legends, each and every one of you! (Donations are still open if you want to join them) Stoked with this result - every little bit counts towards research into this devastating illness that took my friend too early. #stopsarcoma"

You can donate to Amy's Everyday Hero page by clicking here.

Jeffrey Sayle donates $500 to Stop Sarcoma

Mike Whitney & Jeffrey Sayle

Mike Whitney & Jeffrey Sayle

Stop Sarcoma has received a further donation through the joint efforts of Randwick Petersham Cricket Club and Randwick Rugby Club.

Following on from the cricket and rugby matches held between the two clubs in March 2017, Randwick Rugby patron and legend Jeffrey Sayle has generously donated $500.00 to Stop Sarcoma.

Jeffrey knows how important it is to raise funds for cancer research, having lost his wife Lorraine 10 years ago to cancer. Jeffrey dedicates this gift to the memory of Lorraine. 

With Jeffrey's donation, Stop Sarcoma has now raised $24,351 for sarcoma research. We extend our sincere thanks to Jeffrey and everyone who has donated to help us reach this number.

Randwick Petersham Cricket Club raises over $600 for Stop Sarcoma

Randwick Petersham Cricket Club has continued its support of Stop Sarcoma at two events held this year at Coogee Oval.
 
On 15 January 2017, the Club held its annual Metro Cup Derby between the Clubs Gold and Green teams. Denis Hinds acted as the umpire for the match. The day was dedicated to Laura and to raise funds for Stop Sarcoma.
 
On 5 March 2017, a special cricket match took place between a Randwick Petersham Cricket Club XI and a Randwick Rugby Club side in a Twenty20 match. Mike Whitney was the umpire. The Clubs also played a short touch rugby game. Funds were raised for Stop Sarcoma and the Ricky Ponting Foundation.

Over $600.00 for the Australasian Sarcoma Study Group was raised at these events.
 
Stop Sarcoma is now the main charity supported by Randwick Petersham Cricket Club. We again thank Jeremy Jastrzab and John Stewart from the Club for their continued support and hard work. Not only are they raising much needed funds for research but they are educating many Club members and their families about Sarcoma.

Both matches were covered by the Southern Courier newspaper (click here and here to read the articles) and mentioned on the websites of the Clubs. This coverage is so important for Stop Sarcoma as more people are being educated about this rare type of cancer which mainly affects younger people.

Jeremy Jastrzab (left) and John Stewart (right)

Jeremy Jastrzab (left) and John Stewart (right)