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Brisbane barrister inspires others to leave a legacy

Brisbane barrister inspires others to leave a legacy

Age is no barrier to including a gift in your Will. Claire-Schneider-edit-1.jpg

Just ask 32-year-old Brisbane barrister Claire Schneider, who has made the generous decision to leave a percentage of her estate to Mater. It’s an uncommon gesture for someone so young. 

“My desire was to make sure that when the time comes for those funds to be released from my estate, they would be used for something that is an area of need,” she said.

“I felt confident that if I were to give the gift to Mater, they’ve got runs on the board for getting the money out there into the medical research community and into patient support.”

Claire said the idea had been “floating around in the back of her mind” for some years—so when updating her Will before she got married in April 2017, she took the opportunity to include a gift to Mater.

Include a Charity Week (11-17 September) is soon approaching and Claire wants to kick-start the conversation about what is typically a taboo subject— making a Will—especially if you are a young person.

Mater Foundation joins many other charities nationally working together during Include a Charity Week to encourage more Australians to leave a gift in their Will, after they’ve provided for their loved ones.

The important first step in all this? Make a Will.

Claire believes that many young people may want to leave a gift, but don’t prioritise making their Will.

She said no matter what age or stage of life, people have a responsibility to those they love to make one.

“Leaving a gift in a Will is simple. It can be incorporated when creating a Will or added to an existing one.

“A lot of people are interested in it, but they just don’t know how to go about it. It’s actually really easy.”

Claire said a Will could be created in a way that ensures family and loved ones are cared for, while there is also a gift that can be used to make a tangible difference to the community.

“There are a lot of people in my generation who don’t have a Will and have families and mortgages. Part of my experience has been my father passing away about three-and-a-half years ago from melanoma and the trauma of losing someone you love is unbearable,” she said.

“I couldn’t have imagined what it would have been like if he didn’t have his affairs in order.”

It was her father’s death that initially connected Claire to Mater. As his illness progressed, she wanted to do something to show her support—“and that we were in this battle together.”

She had spotted Smiling for Smiddy competitors at Noosa triathlons. A cyclist herself, she decided to join the 2013 Brisbane to Townsville Smiddy Challenge—flying home two days before the ride ended when her dad’s health took a turn for the worse. He passed away the day after the Smiddy riders reached Townsville.

Smiling for Smiddy is a year-round program of cycling and triathlon challenge events founded by Mark ‘Sharky’ Smoothy in honour of triathlete, and dear friend, Adam Smiddy who passed away from an aggressive melanoma in 2006 at age 26.

Since Smiddy began, close to $8 million has been raised for world-class research projects at Mater Research in areas of melanoma, prostate, breast and ovarian cancers. 

 “I fell in love with everything Smiddy has to offer and what it means,” Claire said.

Since that time, Mater’s breadth and depth of activity has interested her. Claire has had friends treated, and nieces and nephews born at Mater. She has also been impressed by the work of Mater’s researchers.

“Medical research is an area of desperate need in this country. Government funding just isn’t enough.”

As a demonstration of her support, Claire joined Mater Foundation’s community fundraising committee two years ago.

“Because I’m so passionate about the work Mater does, the opportunity to contribute in that way is very humbling and it’s a good experience.”

“And the thing about Mater is you know that if you’re in Queensland a gift to Mater literally makes a difference to people in your neighbourhood,” she said.   

To find out more about leaving a gift to Mater, visit www.letyourloveliveon.org.au.        

 

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