Valentine’s Day 2014 was the day that Tea Gardens resident Mark Betar was diagnosed with an inoperable Oesophyageal Cancer and was told after further tests that it was highly likely that he would not survive beyond Christmas 2014.
All that changed when Mark was referred to a remarkable man at the John Hunter Hospital – Dr Sebastian Kwon, Oesophago-gastric Surgeon who, in conjunction with successful chemotherapy and radiotherapy at Newcastle’s Mater Hospital, made the decision to perform the 17.5 hour operation to remove the tumour wedged in Mark’s oesophagus.
During Mark’s hospitalization and recovery period and seeing Dr Kwon on a daily basis, he discovered that Oesophageal Cancer was not a “popular” cancer as far as fundraising is concerned and as a result felt that he could somehow make a difference.
Mark and his wife, Lyn, recently decided to donate $150,000 to the John Hunter General Research Trust encompassing Newcastle University, the Mater Hospital and the John Hunter Hospital.
This sizable donation will be able to support substantive, meaningful collaborative research and is being presented today in the Gordon Kerridge room in the Royal Newcastle Centre.
Speaking with Myall Coast News, Mark said, “I have been assured that our contributions will go to Oesophyageal Cancer research and hope that through this ongoing research, other people diagnosed with this type of cancer can benefit from future positive outcomes and procedures.”
Mark’s background was of a commercial nature and the only way he could measure the effectiveness of his business was through results and not ever having anything too much to do with hospitals and the work that is done was a definite eye-opener.
“Right through this whole journey, the people I encountered were absolutely brilliant and totally devoted to their work and are not motivated commercially.”
“They simply love their work and helping people,” Mark told Myall Coast News.
Lyn Betar wanted to comment on Dr Kwon and said, “He is a genius and this aspect is only surpassed by his kindness, compassion and empathy.”
In closing, this remarkable couple would clearly like to see other people contribute to the John Hunter Hospital which is the centre of excellence remembering that it does not matter about the size of the donation as every little bit helps these wonderful people continue their research.