Cecile Ravell isn’t afraid to talk about death.

After she was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, she decided to hold a living wake so that her friends could get to know one another.

“I didn’t want them to meet for the first time at my funeral,” she says.

“My friends looked uncomfortable at first, but I said: ‘I want you all to be connected through me’. And they all got on like a house on fire.”

The former medical scientist, people development consultant and author of Love on a Faultline has decided to leave a gift for Australia for UNHCR in her Will to ensure refugees receive the support they need for many years to come.

A percentage of the proceeds of her upcoming second book, Child Magical, will also be donated to Australia for UNHCR.

“I am not going to make millions from writing a book, but I can give something and make people aware by using the forum of the book launch to tell them about Australia for UNHCR and why I am donating,” she says.

“I believe if you have a platform you use it to do good.”

Cecile's empathy for refugees comes from her personal experience of immigrating as a young child from Malta to Australia.

“For three years we went from one room to a bungalow to a boarding house with shared facilities. That time is what connected me to other immigrants. It impressed upon me the importance of finding your place.”

Read also: “We can't solve the whole thing, but we can do something.”


Cecile pictured with her mother. © Image Supplied

“I believe if you have a platform you use it to do good.”

Cecile’s family settled in Broadmeadows, north of Melbourne, Victoria.

“Everybody knew everybody and people looked after each other,” she says.

“We were always taught in our family that you care for people who are less fortunate than you are.

“It is incumbent upon us who have been blessed to live in this ‘lucky country’, to take care of people who are in dire situations because of geography or politics.”

Cecile believes it is important to continue the conversation around death and how to make an impact beyond a lifetime.

“It makes me feel that I have a greater sense of purpose; that the challenges I have faced in my life to make an income, won’t be wasted.

"And it makes me feel glad while I’m alive that I’m leaving a legacy that will help people who are less fortunate and who have not had the opportunity I have had.”

“We need more people to feel ‘Hey, even when I die, I am going to be doing some good’.”

Cecile with her brother on a ship to Malta. © Image Supplied

You can make a lasting impact on the lives of families forced to flee their homes in search of safety by remembering Australia for UNHCR in your Will. Your donation will ensure they receive vital support, even beyond your lifetime, providing protection, food, water, shelter, education and healthcare to some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Leaving a gift to Australia for UNHCR, no matter how large or small, can create a legacy that saves lives.

Find out more

For more information about leaving a gift in your Will please contact our Planned Giving Manager Aylin Salt on (02) 9276 6871 or [email protected] or download your free bequest guide here

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