A moment with 2019 Westfield Geelong Local Hero, Bec Picone
Bec, a vital support for those fighting brain cancer
“I founded Peace of Mind to provide much-needed and difficult-to-find support and care for patients and families fighting brain cancer,” says Bec, who lost her sister-in-law, Caroline to the disease in 2011.
Meet Rebecca ‘Bec’ Picone, co-founder of the Peace of Mind Foundation and one of Westfield Geelong’s Local Heroes for 2019. The Local Heroes program is a recognition and awards program that discovers and celebrates individuals making a positive impact in their local community. Peace of Mind runs support groups, annual retreats and provides financial and in-home support to brain tumour patients and their families. The $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant has been used to fund the annual running costs of its Geelong Brain Tumour Support Group and its regional forum, aimed at reducing social isolation.
Brain cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in people under forty and kills more children than any other disease. However, it receives less funding than other cancers, which is why Peace of Mind is raising awareness and much-needed funds.
Bec has raised more than $680,000 for the foundation. Bec works full-time for the charity as its CEO and takes only a small, part-time wage.
“The end goal is to run Australia’s first nationwide support service for families fighting brain cancer,” she says. “Unless people go along to a support group or our forum, they may never meet anybody else who has brain cancer. It’s a great opportunity for people to connect and build support networks and friendships,” says Bec. “We also have a lot of bereaved carers who come along. Our services don’t just stop when the person has passed away.”
Since receiving the $10,000 grant, Bec has continued to grow the Peace of Mind Foundation. Navigating her way through COVID 19, Bec has found a way to utilise technology to foster connection. What started as a single face-to-face support groups has grown to 4 online groups hosted via Zoom. This includes bereavement support groups to support partners and parents of those who have passed away from brain cancer. Moving the support groups online has made it possible for those who have lived too far out to connect with those fighting the same battle. Through the ongoing partnership with Cure Brain Cancer, Bec and her team are advocating for better access and support from the NDIS.
Whilst the annual support retreats are on hold for the moment, Bec has focussed on fostering connection and support. The Peace of Mind Foundation continues to grow and expand its reach, raising awareness on the support needed to fight brain cancer.
Video credit: Peace of Mind Foundation.
The Westfield Local Heroes program is back for 2020. Your community has nominated, and voting is now open. With three $10,000 grants available to support important work in your community, don’t miss your chance to support the Local Heroes in your area. Give back to those who give so much to others, vote now here.