HomeWho Are WeOur StoriesGavin’s personal development grant story
HomeWho Are WeOur StoriesGavin’s personal development grant story

Gavin’s personal development grant story

Child Cancer Foundation provides Personal Development Grants to children with cancer as well as their siblings and parents.

Gavin Bisman’s son Oscar was just four years old when he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in 2020. This was the beginning of two incredibly difficult years for the Bisman family, with Oscar undergoing a bone marrow transplant in June 2020. This was initially successful, but he unfortunately relapsed in April 2021.

This time, the odds of a successful outcome were against Oscar, who had to undergo a second bone marrow transplant to save his life. Happily, this time it worked. Oscar has now been cancer free for over two years and is an active, cheeky eight-year-old boy who makes the most of every day. 

Once Oscar’s physical health was back on track, Gavin and his family started thinking about “the ‘what now’ aspect of getting back to ‘normal’ life”. Here, he describes their experience: 

After two years of supporting Oscar through treatment, the recovery process and having lived away from our home in Papamoa for so long, we had to start again. Now that Oscar was in much better health and was starting back at school with his siblings, it was time for my wife and me to get back to work too. 

Barb, our family support coordinator from Child Cancer Foundation, talked about the opportunity to apply for a PDG for me especially, as the work I was doing previously no longer existed. I had an idea of what I wanted to do to be able to have a better work/life balance, not only for Oscar but for our family as a whole. 

I felt very fortunate to have received a PDG to assist me in the undertaking of my New Zealand Certificate in Real Estate (Salesperson – Level 4) via the Open Polytechnic. Paying for those studies was beyond our abilities at that stage, so to have Child Cancer Foundation fund my course fees was a huge game changer. 

The PDG has been instrumental in helping myself and our family move forward post treatment. 

My wife was able to return to work, and I was able to take on the carer role for Oscar as he re-integrated back into his life, his health recovery, his schooling and social activities, all while doing my studies to better myself too. 

We began to rebuild our life slowly but surely, and we have really been able to embrace our time with Oscar and his siblings while also focusing on a securing a better future for our family. 

I am now proudly a licensed Real Estate Salesperson and have recently begun working within the Harcourts Advantage Realty Ltd business, based in their Papamoa office. It’s a few minutes from our home, right near my local surf beach, and Oscar and the kids think it’s cool that Dad is now doing “Real Estating,” as they call it!