Melbourne broadcaster Red Symons’s son Samuel has been remembered as a “funny, kind, witty and smart” advocate for cancer patients after his death overnight from a brain tumour.
Samuel, 27, was first diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of four, and in 2010 shared his experience of reaching adulthood with Australian Story.
He passed away surrounded by his family after months of treatment for another brain tumour, this one diagnosed in 2017.
Samuel’s mother Elly Symons said in a statement her son left a “shining example to us all” in the way he responded to illness throughout his life.
“It is with profound sadness that our family announces the passing of our son and brother Samuel Peter Symons,” a statement said.
“The courage and strength he displayed over 23 years was simply inspirational.
“His dignified humility in the face of adversity was a lesson to us all.
“Rather than complain, he accepted his illnesses with humour, dignity and grace and continued to amaze us by achieving the unachievable.”
In a separate statement, Red Symons asked for the privacy of the family to be respected as he grieves the loss of his “beautiful son”.
“What can I say?” said an emotional ABC Radio Melbourne mornings presenter Jon Faine after reading Red Symons’s brief statement on air.
“Many of you will have seen the Australian Story that Red and Elly did some years ago with Samuel and told the story of how since he was a small boy he battled with tumours in his brain and cancer.
“And lived for many, many years ‚ÄĒ way more than was expected.
“I spoke to Red just last week, twice at length, saw him the week before ‚Ä¶ big hug to you mate.”
Faine said Samuel joined several committees after his experience with hospitals in an attempt to improve the way the medical system supported young patients with serious illnesses.
“He became a terrific contributor to ethics committees and policy making in the healthcare system, whilst he was juggling his own studies and work and other commitments,” Faine said.
Victoria’s Health Minister Jill Hennessy awarded Samuel a volunteering award in 2018 in recognition of his advocacy for cancer patients.
Ms Hennessy paid tribute to Samuel’s work in a statement which described him as “funny, kind, witty and smart”.
“Samuel Symons never once wavered in his determination to make the lives of fellow young Victorians with cancer just that little bit easier,” the statement said.
“He was a dedicated and inspirational volunteer intent on helping others and an eternally courageous young man ‚ÄĒ a fitting recipient at Victoria’s health volunteer awards earlier this year.
“He’ll be deeply missed, and my heart goes out to his family and friends.”
Australian Story will present a special encore screening of ‘The Story of Samuel’ Monday October 8 ABCTV and ABC iview.