Our greatest inspiration: Connor

Connor pictured with brother Nick and sister Hannah.


If there ever was a word that summed up a person, for Robert Connor Dawes, this word would have been awesome. Awesome as in someone posting on Facebook to a sad friend, ”Turn that frown upside down”, as in someone who runs 19 km simply to become the best he ever could be. Awesome as in being awarded a young scholar diploma and invited to join Stanford summer school. Four weeks after receiving his invitation letter, 17-year-old Connor was diagnosed with the GDBT. The God Damn Brain Tumour, or as the doctors call it: an anaplastic ependymoma. It was 12 December 2011.


Major surgery caused loss of movement to his right side, impaired vision and severe short-term memory loss. But while his body was broken, his spirit was not. Determined to improve, he spent hours each day on his physical and mental rehabilitation. More treatment followed. Throughout it all, Connor never stopped smiling. He stayed positive, philosophical and true to his mantra:
“I will be awesome”.


At school, his friends sold t-shirts and wristbands with his name and the phrase “Aeternum Fortis”, “Eternal Strength”. It reflected Connor’s love of Latin and inspiring spirit as he battled through every adversity. Now, Aeternum Fortis is our eternal reminder of the amazing person he was and the gifts he left us.


The RCD Fund was created to continue Connor’s legacy, and our fundraising goals are captured by his initials RCD: Research, Care and Development.