“The Foundation will combine John’s love of education and teaching; and my love of medicine.”
Jean Tonkinson

Jean & John Tonkinson

The enduring generosity of Jean and John Tonkinson

The Tonkinson Colorectal Cancer Research Fund only exists because of the remarkable generosity of Fremantle couple, Jean and John Tonkinson.

Jean Tonkinson was born in Wales, trained as a registered nurse at University College Hospital, London and came to Perth on a working holiday which turned into an loving and long-lasting marriage to John. She was a dedicated, skilful nurse.

John was born in Perth and was a greatly-admired and much-loved school teacher, scholar and talented sportsman. Both Jean and John shared a love of nature.

John Tonkinson was 66 when he died of abdominal sarcoma - a type of soft tissue cancer - in 2000. Seven years later, his wife Jean was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer and sadly passed away in 2009 also at the age of 66.

Decades before their passing, Jean and John agreed that they would commit their entire estate to establish a medical research foundation for the benefit of Western Australians. Jean discussed their wishes with her surgeon, Dr Michael Levitt, who helped establish the Foundation in Jean’s name after her death in 2009.

“Their decision to make such a substantial gift to establish a research fund is a measure of their belief in the importance of medical research and ongoing medical education. It reflects a deep generosity of spirit, a love of learning and academic pursuit and a great care for the world in which they lived”, says Michael. “The Foundation celebrates two good lives, well lived, by two people who cared deeply about the world around them.”

The wonderful generosity of Jean and John Tonkinson is an inspiration to others to support this important and worthy endeavour. With the added support and generosity of the Western Australian community, the Tonkinson Colorectal Cancer Research Fund can make a real difference to the lives of people suffering from colorectal cancer.