How a gift in your Will can leave a lasting legacy...

Leaving a gift in your Will to medical research is a powerful way to leave a lasting legacy that has the power to change and save lives for generations to come. No one knows this more so than Karen Bassett.

Karen’s mother and father have truly remarkable life stories, her mother being a descendant of a Japanese Samurai family and her father an Australian soldier who fought in world war two. Theirs is a very touching love story of tenacity and commitment.

Karen’s mother Mitzi Tsunekane was brought up in a very traditional Japanese family. Mitzi met Robert Robinson in Japan where he was posted with the Australian Occupation Forces after the war ended. Robert and Mitzi fell deeply in love and were determined to be together despite the many difficulties including disapproving parents, long years of separation and a world deeply divided by prejudice.

Mitzi and Robert were committed to each other and eventually moved from Japan to Australia with their young family in the early 1960’s.

“My parents formed a strong and enduring partnership and were remarkable people. They were married for over 60 years and achieved a great deal in their lifetimes.

“It was very difficult for the whole family when Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

“As her condition deteriorated it was obvious, they needed additional support and my parents agreed to move in with my family.

“We are all so grateful to have shared that time with them, it gave our children an opportunity to truly get to know their grandparents”, says Karen.

“A few years after losing my mum from Alzheimer’s, dad also passed away which was a very difficult time,” she says.

“Both my parents were committed philanthropists in their lifetimes, so it was not surprising my father left generous bequests to various organisations, including Charlies Foundation.

“Vicki and I worked together to identify a project that would be meaningful to Dad, myself and my family and we decided on Alzheimer’s research,” says Karen.

The incredible gift left by Robert is now being put towards ground-breaking Alzheimer’s research led by the Australian Alzheimer’s Research Foundation that is looking at protein markers in the blood to identify Alzheimer’s in patients with an increased risk.

“Alzheimer disease is a neurodegenerative disease usually associated with ageing and currently there is no cure,” says Dr Charles Inderjeeth, geriatrician and clinical lead at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

“It is the leading cause of death in Australian women and the second cause of death in men,” he says.

“If we can identify biomarkers of Alzheimer’s in people at an increased risk, then we will be able to introduce preventive measures that can help them to halt or delay the neurodegenerative changes resulting in Alzheimer’s.”

Dr Inderjeeth will be working closely with Professor Ralph Martins, the Director of Research at the Australian Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, to conduct this work.

Karen is delighted that the bequest her father left would support such an important area of research and that it allows her parents’ legacy to live on.

“I very much hope one day we can find a cure; it is a terrible heart-breaking disease, and we are so fortunate to have people working towards effective treatments and cures.”