Brett was a close childhood friend of Be Inspired Foundation’s founder Shane Johnstone. Brett was a very passionate sportsman and upcoming Australian rules football field umpire. Brett had just been awarded a WA Football League (WAFL) scholarship, taking him closer to his dream of field umpiring in the AFL. Brett would regularly go for long runs to keep fit and one day he noticed a pain in his calf which did not settle. Further investigation revealed that, at the age of just 17, he had Osteosarcoma (bone cancer).
Brett needed prompt surgery to have the tumour removed. The surgery went well however the nerve controlling his foot to lift up and drop down had been severed, so he had lost this function and therefore the ability to run. Shane recalls watching a young upcoming talent not being able to achieve what he had worked so hard for as heart-breaking. Shane also remembers Brett’s positivity that he would beat the cancer and that the nerve would grow back, even at 1mm per day, and that he would soon return to what he loved.
Later, everyone was informed that the cancer had spread and it was now in his lungs. Brett remained determined. While Brett battled the cancer, his friends and close family did everything they could for him. Shane recalls completing his first charity campaign, knocking on neighbour’s doors, telling Brett’s story and committing to shaving his head to raise money.
Brett had the opportunity to meet some of his idols down at a Western Warriors cricket training session. Again the generosity was amazing especially from Justin Langer (JL). JL who was playing for Australia at the time was so touched by Brett’s story and determination that he personally would catch up with Brett on a regular basis and gave him his contact details. JL even wrote about Brett in his book “The Power of Passion”.
Shane was convinced that Brett was going to beat the cancer. After two long years Shane was nothing short of devastated when Brett at 19 years of age called him into his bedroom as he laid on his bed and looked at Shane and said “I have given up, I can’t do this anymore”. At 15 years of age Shane was in shock and didn’t want to believe he was thinking like that. The next day which was ANZAC day we were advised that he had passed away.
Brett’s family wrote the following passage:
Shane the founder of the Be Inspired Foundation, now attributes a lot of what he does to Brett’s legacy and lives with the philosophy of making the most of life’s opportunities, in recognition that some people aren’t so lucky.
If you have a relevant inspiring story please contact us to share, we would love to hear from you.
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