Robert’s lasting legacy
For Robert, a former apprentice mechanic, car and motorcyclist enthusiast, life’s many challenges didn’t deter him from maintaining a positive outlook on life and a deep commitment to give back.
Growing up in Sydney’s western suburbs in a loving family, Robert’s idyllic early years helped shape his outlook on life and his heart of gratitude which he would later draw on to overcome many life challenges. As a young man, with many dreams ahead of him, Robert was involved in a serious car accident as the passenger in a friend’s car. Devastatingly, Robert broke his neck in the accident and became a quadriplegic. The other passengers walked away unharmed.
Following long periods in Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital and Mount Wilga Rehab Unit, Robert returned to the family home and the full-time care of his mother, Joyce. Robert began the healing process and through extensive rehabilitation, regained movement in his arms. Using hand controls in a modified car, Robert was able to drive again and continued to actively enjoy his love of cars. His rehabilitation continued and Robert went on to live an active life; getting married, building his own home and travelling the world. He was supported by family, friends and a network of carers.
It was in 2005, when the heartache of cancer would impact Robert and his family. Robert’s mother Joyce was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the age of 75. Witnessing the rapid decline of a once healthy woman, hit the family hard, especially Robert who shared a close bond with his mother. Unfortunately, the cancer was already advanced, and Joyce passed away only six months after diagnosis.
Joyce’s passing left a profound impact on Robert which led him to consider ways he could contribute to a future where other families could be spared of the same tragedy. Robert ultimately chose to leave a gift in his will to Pancare that would significantly contribute to the transformation of Pancare’s ability to increase investment in research programs.
In the years following his mother’s passing, tragedy was to strike the Woods’ family again. In 2018, Robert, aged just 63, was tragically killed in a car accident. While the other driver involved escaped unharmed, Robert passed away at the scene. Heartbroken, Robert’s father, Robert Snr, passed away just a number of weeks later.
Robert’s family have said that despite Robert’s life presenting him with many challenges, he always maintained a positive outlook. “Robert always tried to look at life with a glass half full attitude. Part of his system for coping was to write updates in a gratitude file. They were just simple words of reflection that reminded him of good things in life – and from time to time helped him reflect and smile”.
Robert’s generous gift has ensured Pancare can boldly accelerate progress for pancreatic and upper gastrointestinal cancers as outlined in our five-year strategic plan – to ensure that more Australians diagnosed with cancer can access Pancare’s support services and to double survival rates through world-class research.
Learn more about how you can support research and patient services by leaving a gift in your will to Pancare.