In late January 2015 Phil Malkin died after living with leukaemia for three years. One of his final wishes was to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation of Tasmania through his passion for diving.
Mr Malkin’s widow, Tach, said raising money through diving was an obvious choice, as her husband was a dive instructor.
Before he died, Mr Malkin made a promise to his son Beau to introduce him to his passion and take him diving, which sparked an idea to raise funds.
“Phil said ‘I wonder if we can raise money through diving? I wonder if we can do that?’ So that’s where the idea came from,” Ms Malkin said.
She said the idea was to raise about $5,000 but on November 8, more than 200 divers took to Waubs Bay near Bicheno in Tasmania for Phil’s Dive, and raised more than $35,000.
“What started from a small idea has ended up with where we are today,” Ms Malkin said.
“It was just a place where he could disappear from life’s busy schedule and the problems that everyday life comes with.
“It was a beautiful place to be.”
About one year ago in 2014, the Malkin family were feeling optimistic about their future after returning from medical specialist appointments in Melbourne.
“We were actually really looking forward to moving forward,” Ms Malkin said.
“Unfortunately, in a horrible twist of fate for us, only a few weeks later on December 8 … Phil was given three weeks [to live].”
Ms Malkin said it was her husband’s dying wish to hand over the cheque to the Leukaemia Foundation of Tasmania, although the day also raised some raw emotions for the family.
“It is a very difficult day. It’s been a very hard year and is a little bittersweet wanting to hand over a big cheque,” Ms Malkin said.
“The Leukaemia Foundation just can’t do what they do and the research can’t go ahead, they can’t move forward, without funding.”
Mr Malkin’s daughter Charlea was by her mum’s side during the presentation and said the death of her father was a huge challenge.
“Each day is harder than the next and everyone says ‘time will heal’; it’s just waiting for that time to go past,” Charlea said.
Twelve-year-old Beau Malkin, who recently became a fully qualified diver, also stood by his mother’s side during the presentation and admitted that some days had been difficult.
“If you have a bad day, people come up to you and pat you on the back and say ‘you’ll be alright and you’ll get over him eventually’ but you don’t because he’s family; you don’t really get over him,” Beau said.
“The time will be a long time before I start healing and until I forget about him, but I won’t.”
Ms Malkin said she was proud of the way her children had coped over the past 12 months with the death of their father.
“What remarkable children; they’ve been through more than most kids should in a lifetime and, to make it harder, they were exceptionally close to their dad,” Ms Malkin said.
The next few years are not totally clear for the Malkin family, but they did promise Mr Malkin they would help raise funds for leukaemia research, and plan to make Phil’s Dive an annual event.
“He was a remarkable man and we’ll just continue that legacy I think. We have to, we made a promise and we’ll keep that,” Ms Malkin said.
“We’re hoping to keep this event going and we’re hoping it will go national.”
Donations can be made to Phil’s Dive for a Cure via the Malkins’ online crowd funding campaign.