Stories | Bequestors

Veronica Choo Neo Png

“Veronica was an inspiration to others and made a huge impact on everyone she met.”

“Veronica was an inspiration to others and made a huge impact on everyone she met.”

Len Rhodes

Veronica Choo Neo Png grew up in Singapore and came to live in Melbourne in 2003 to teach at Monash University. She was a highly qualified and dedicated teacher, with an interest in travel.

A kind and generous soul, Veronica had a zest for life and felt cheated when she was diagnosed with aggressive pancreatic cancer at just 53 years of age. Although she didn’t have much time, she fought every step of the way.

In her final months Veronica found great comfort and joy with Music and Art Therapy at Cabrini Palliative and Supportive Care.

“I visited her in palliative care on a day when she was particularly struggling with her health and her mood” says Veronica’s Partner Len Rhodes. “Caitlin the music therapist offered to play some tunes for Veronica and I coaxed her into agreeing. Before long her mood had changed and we were all singing along to some of her favourite songs. This seemingly simple thing lifted Veronica’s spirits enormously making a huge difference to her day.”

Wanting to ensure others could receive the same healing touch as she did, and to help in the fight against pancreatic cancer, Veronica included Cabrini in her Will.

“A few weeks into her cancer journey Veronica  spoke to me about wanting to leave a legacy to help others” says Mr Rhodes. “We talked about various possibilities. In the end she decided to help the Cabrini Foundation because she had received such good caring support from the Cabrini Hospital and Cabrini Palliative and Supportive Care, and of course the wonderful staff at both of those. Not just the medical staff either, but just as importantly the support staff.”

Veronica passed away in November 2018, surrounded by family and friends, but her legacy of love will live on for years to come.

Her generous bequest is now funding the establishment of a dedicated Pancreatic and Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) cancer Registry, designed to help researchers and the doctors who treat these cancers understand more about the patients. Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers are those arising from the oesophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, biliary tract and small bowel. One-year survival rates are less than 50 per cent in upper GI cancers and a mere 25 per cent in pancreatic cancer.

Veronica also made provisions in her Will to fund Cabrini’s Music and Art Therapy programs, which provide great comfort and joy to palliative care patients, their families and even staff. Both therapies provide support to patients with anxiety and depression related to their illness and existential distress; and provide an opportunity to create legacy artworks for their children or grandchildren.

They also enable an outlet for patient to create song list for their funerals and offer connection and support for patients away from the medical aspect of their care.

“Veronica was an inspiration to others and made a huge impact on everyone she met” says Mr Rhodes. “I am particularly pleased as her partner that her legacy will make an important difference in helping others on their journey.” is now funding the Cabrini Creative Arts Program for the next four years. Her

At Cabrini Foundation we are proud to be able to help our supporters find a way to give back in a way which is personally meaningful. “Veronica was cultured, thoughtful, articulate and spiritual” say Stephen and Marian, friends of Veronica and executors of her Will. “She was very loyal to friends; forever grateful for any kindness or expression of friendship that she had received.  This quality is now reflected in her generous bequest to Cabrini Foundation, in gratitude for the loving care that she received from Cabrini Hospital and Palliative Care.”

To read more on the amazing difference Veronica’s gift is making click here.