Stomach cancer and H.pylori: Janine’s story

By Rob Clancy, staff writer

L-R: Bequestor Janine Flatt and her late husband Bruce Hall
L-R: Bequestor Janine Flatt and her late husband Bruce Hall

I’m not a millionaire and there are other diseases I could have donated to, but stomach cancer is so much more prevalent than I’d realised, and I know my donation will make a difference. – Janine Flatt, Bequestor

As an African-American US military veteran, Bruce Hall never knew he was in a high-risk group for stomach cancer linked to gastric bacteria (H.pylori) infection*.

Even when he was diagnosed with H.pylori infection in April 2017, there was no mention of increased stomach cancer risk.

Taken by stomach cancer at 64

So, no-one expected this fit, non-smoking teetotaller to succumb to stomach cancer at the age of 64.

Piling stress on top of his wife’s grief, Bruce died without a Will, leaving Australian-born Janine alone in the USA, with a lengthy and draining legal process to settle his affairs.

Once she had untangled the legal mess, Janine used her tragic bereavement as the catalyst for a donation to medical research.

When Janine heard about Professor Richard Ferrero’s stomach cancer research at Hudson Institute, she decided a donation from Bruce’s estate was an effective and appropriate way to help others avoid a similar fate.

“I felt so strongly about this link between H.pylori and stomach cancer, and then to find out it’s so prevalent among people just like Bruce, I wanted to make a difference if I could.” Janine said.

Janine is in good company, too – another significant funder of this research is the US government itself.

It is good to hear the US Department of Defense look beyond their immediate shores to fund and utilise the research skills of those at Hudson Institute.” – Janine said

Now living back in Australia, unsurprisingly, one of the first things Janine asks people is: “Do you have a Will?”

Hudson Institute Annual Report 2022

*The DoD has identified stomach cancer as a high risk for military veterans, particularly those of African-American, Hispanic and Asian ethnicities, and the five-year survival rate for stomach cancer is still less than 30 per cent

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