1949 – 2022.
On 7 September 2022, Snowdome lost a much loved and admired member of our family, Dr John Tandy. John is the father of co-founder Rob Tandy, and his diagnosis of multiple myeloma in 2009 was the catalyst and part of the first chapter in the Snowdome story. Our vision is bound together with John and the mission to ensure that other families do not endure the same loss.
In 2009, John received the devastating news that he had myeloma, an incurable blood cancer. Like the patients he had cared for at his GP practice in bayside Melbourne, John believed that with a diagnosis such as this, that he was not expected to live for more than a few years.
When Rob received his father’s news, just four weeks after the birth of his son Will, John and his wife Pam’s first precious grandchild, he was determined to do what he could to ensure that his children would have the opportunity to create precious memories with their grandfather. The seed of an idea of what was to become the Snowdome Foundation, was planted.
“All we needed was a cure and the numbers didn’t look good for life expectancy; from what we had heard from dad’s doctor it was three to five years at best,” recalls Rob.
Driven by the desperate desire for his son to grow up knowing what a great person his grandfather was, Rob, a self-confessed ‘doer’, sprang into action. Within a matter of months he found Professor Miles Prince AM a leading Australian haematologist and then Grant Rutherford, an internationally recognised creative director. Within the same year as John’s diagnosis, Grant tragically lost his daughter Chloe due to complications from leukaemia; she was only nine years old.
Rob, Miles and Grant went on to found the Snowdome Foundation. All personally motivated to find a cure for blood cancer through medical research.
John was a GP for over 30 years, during which he performed thousands of house calls, visiting his patients in their home or nursing home. This would often include Christmas Day, taking one of his four children (Rob, Charles, Angus and Georgie) with him, instilling a sense of service and hard work in each of them, which they now pass on to their own children. Rob believes these values, passed on while a young child, are integral in the drive to find a blood cancer cure.
In the early days of Snowdome, and like his approach to life, John rolled up his sleeves to help in any way he could. With his renowned bedside manner, he became an unofficial ambassador, sharing the vision and mission of Snowdome with other healthcare professionals, often with embellishments that still makes Rob laugh.
“Dad was always super proud of everything that Snowdome did,” says Rob. John was a constant at Snowdome, contributing his specialist skills, time and blood cancer experience, unassumingly behind the scenes. He would often speak with those affected by blood cancer, offering his personal experience with a gentleness that marked his years as a GP.
“He was such a humble, caring, thoughtful man,” reflects Rob.
Thirteen years later, Snowdome has achieved the ability to buy time for those affected. Even though John very sadly passed away in 2022, investment into research and clinical trials meant that John had time to continue to create precious memories with his wife Pam, his four children, his first grandchild Will, now 13 years old, as well as a further eight grandchildren – Ted, Ella, Matilda, Jack, Emma, Chloe, Frank and Olivia.
“My husband John was a unique human being. As a father, partner, GP and friend, no one was more kind, compassionate, caring plus well respected and loved. We are all so grateful that Snowdome and its work gave us those additional precious years with John. That extra time meant we are all better off and live in a much better place. Thank you Snowdome,” Pam Tandy.
Thanks to advances in the diagnosis and treatment of myeloma, John lived well beyond the three to five years initially expected. In the 13 years from diagnosis, he was given the gift of cherished time with his family and the opportunity for a retirement in which he and Pam travelled extensively. Rob reflects that had John not received that diagnosis in 2009, the opportunity to live a life focused more on Pam and himself may not have presented, and for that, he is grateful.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to Pam, who remains steadfastly at the heart of the Tandy family, and to Rob, Charles, Angus and Georgie, their partners and children. John, or Doc to his mates and grandchildren, will be forever remembered with deep fondness, adored by those lucky enough to have met him. Snowdome remains committed to honouring his legacy and memory by continuing our mission to accelerate next-generation blood cancer treatments so that patients and families just like the Tandys, can live longer, better lives.