Relay For Life speaker Anthony Amor shares his story

HOPE: Three generations of the Amor family, Anthony Amor, Charlie Amor and cancer survivor Justin Amor at the Horsham and District Relay For Life. Picture: OLIVIA PAGE

HOPE: Three generations of the Amor family, Anthony Amor, Charlie Amor and cancer survivor Justin Amor at the Horsham and District Relay For Life. Picture: OLIVIA PAGE

TWENTY-FIVE years ago Justin Amor’s future and the whole Amor family was plunged into uncertainty with a diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. 

Twenty-years ago he was given the all clear, going on to get married, have children and experience many things that once seemed so uncertain. 

On Sunday his father Anthony took to the stage at Horsham and District Relay For Life to share his son’s story and just as importantly – his own. 

“I wasn’t there to give a lecture,” he said.

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“All carers and survivors have been through their own story so I’m relating the story and how it affected our family and Justin.”

Mr Amor said the family struggled to understand the randomness of the disease.

“We were lucky we had one survive,” he said.

“A lot of children down there in hospital with us didn’t make it.

“You think about it and you sort of feel guilty sometimes but you don’t mean it, it’s just luck.

“We never thought it would happen to us though.

“We’ve got four children and I remember there was a big transformer out the front of our place and everyone had ideas at one stage maybe it’d come from those sort of things.

“We mentioned it to an oncology in Melbourne and he said that’s not how it happens, why haven’t the other three children got it – he said it was just luck of the draw.”

However it wasn’t just luck that saved Justin’s life – it was his sister Gerlinda too. 

Twenty year’s ago when she was just 16 years old Gerlinda donated bone marrow for a life-saving transplant. 

Mr Amor said while he wanted to tell his story, it was Justin who twisted his arm and named him as the guest speaker.

“He’s dobbed me in,” he said.

“That’s why I’m giving the address, it’s nothing to do with anything else it’s because it’s 20 years since and he dobbed me in.”

Despite needing to be persuaded Mr Amor knows the important of sharing stories, good and bad.

“Everyone need to know how it affects you,” he said.

“Hopefully this sort of thing will raise money and awareness and somewhere down the track maybe there’ll be a cure.

“Or maybe they’ll be able to prevent it so some child doesn’t have to go through the same thing.”

Mr Amor said he also wanted his speech to raise awareness of the vital service that helped his family from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, various oncologists and Ronald McDonald House. 

“We wouldn’t have been able to survive if we paid for accommodation down there,” he said.

“In the hospital the whole place was like a village.”

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