Trace Richey and Neil Pennock in hospital with shaved heads

Scholarship recognises contribution of nurses

6 April 2018
Memory of former fundraiser celebrated with gift
The creation of a nursing scholarship at the University of Sydney honours both the memory of Trace Richey and the nurses who cared for him while he was ill with cancer.

A $160,000 gift will establish the Trace Richey Nursing Scholarship at Sydney Nursing School.

The scholarship will allow one full-time student or two part-time students each year to complete specialty nursing education through a Master of Cancer and Haematology Nursing degree.

“Very cheeky, very kind and just generous with his heart. That’s why I fell in love with him,” is how Neil Pennock describes his partner, Trace Richey.

Trace died of graft-versus-host disease 40 days after receiving a bone marrow transplant for myelodysplastic syndrome – a type of blood and bone marrow disorder. Now Neil wants to support the education of nurses who care for people with cancer, particularly those receiving bone marrow transplants. The scholarship to support tertiary study was created at the suggestion of a nurse who had cared for Trace during his final 40 days in hospital.

“The nurses all took such a shine to Trace and I have so much love and gratitude for them,” says Pennock. “They deal with so much trauma and they were all smiles. If that doesn’t deserve respect, I don’t know what does.”

Dean of Sydney Nursing, Professor Donna Waters said, “I would love to have met Trace, but this sad experience has brought Mr Pennock to us with a deep understanding that while most funding goes to ‘finding a cure’ for cancers, nurses continue to partner in the care of many people diagnosed and treated for different types of cancers every day.”

“This scholarship will offer much needed financial support for more nurses to undertake Masters level education in cancer care and treatment. We are very grateful for this thoughtful gift.”


This scholarship will offer much needed financial support for more nurses to undertake Master's level education in cancer care and treatment
Professor Donna Waters, Dean of Sydney Nursing

The scholarship is a gift from the TLR Foundation, which Pennock set up in his partner’s name (the initials stand for Trace Lee Richey). The foundation, which has already supported the construction of a new bone marrow transplant ward at St Vincent’s Hospital, will focus on promoting bone marrow donation within Australia.

“Our whole focus is education, especially among younger people who are ideally placed to donate. There’s a less than five per cent chance that you will ever be called to donate bone marrow if you’re on the registry but every potential donor makes a match more likely.”

It’s a fitting tribute to Trace whose career was dedicated to fundraising in both America, where he worked with the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the Santa Barbara Rehabilitation Centre and Australia, where he oversaw bequests at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and fundraised for Mission Australia.

Typically, during his final stay in hospital, when Trace heard the nurses were shaving their heads to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation, he pitched in to help beat their $2000 target by $5000. He and Neil also shaved each other’s heads for the cause.


Verity Leatherdale

Manager, Faculty Media and PR

Related articles