An Altona mother who lost her son to leukemia three years ago is raising money for the organisation that helped her family in the last months of his life.
Wendy Kostraby, who was recognised in the inaugural Hobsons Bay Inspirational Women Awards, is fundraising for Redkite cancer charity with donation cards that can be purchased at Altona Coles and at a sausage sizzle outside the store on December 15.
Her son, Stefan, was diagnosed in April 2011 when he was 19.
He went into remission in August the same year but the cancer returned three months later and he died in January 2012.
Stefan, who went to Seaholme Primary and Bayside Secondary schools, was posthumously awarded as one of Hobsons Bay’s 25 most inspirational young people.
After his initial diagnosis, he became a Muslim. His wish was to be buried as a Muslim and to have a traditional service in the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral out of respect for his mother and to represent his past life.
His vision was for all religions to be united and to have tolerance for each other’s beliefs.
“I remember, the last night Stefan said, ‘Mum, advocate on my behalf and for other teenagers with cancer’,” Ms Kostraby said.
“One of his wishes was for a hospital ward for teenagers, where they could have WiFi and play games.
“Teenagers are a separate group and it seems the medical system just caters for pediatric. The ones in the middle don’t have a proper space. They do it in England but we haven’t got it here.
“And not just teenagers with cancer. What about the ones with special needs or a disability?”