Life

What's really important? Six people diagnosed with a terminal illness speak out in powerful video

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Kayleigh Dray
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How do you measure success?

For many, it’s the classic dreams – reaching a particular rung on the career ladder, earning a certain amount of money, owning their own home.

As such, thousands of people are working longer and harder than ever before. They’re powering through their lunch break, they’re staying late at the end of the day, they’re checking through their emails after leaving the office and they’re failing to switch off when they’re at home.



In a powerful new video campaign, which you can watch below, for Australia’s digital bank UBank, six people – all of whom have been diagnosed with a terminal illness – have reached out to others around the world.

And their message is clear: we only get one life, and we need to live it well.

“To end up at the end of it dying and all I did was pay off my mortgage... it just seems like a waste of time"

“To end up at the end of it dying and all I did was pay off my mortgage... it just seems like a waste of time

Kris, who was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer when she was just 42 years old, explains: “It used to be important to me to have the best car, the nicest car to drive and all that sort of thing whereas I really don’t care anymore about the small things,' Kris said. 

“Your whole life gets turned upside down and you see it so differently. You realise more so what's important and that’s family and spending as much time as you can with the people who are most important to you.”



She added: “You're working your butt off to own a house that you're probably going to be paying off your whole life. Some people don’t ever pay off their mortgage. 

“I know my boys would much prefer to spend time with me and go on a holiday than me saying we can't go because I don’t have the money.

“To end up at the end of it dying and all I did was pay off my mortgage... it just seems like a waste of time. You only get one life and we need to live it.”

Her words were echoed by Shannon, who discovered he had cancer when doctors found a 14cm tumour in his kidney.

“Seize the moment, enjoy everyday, love what you’re doing, don’t let things get on top of you and above all, have a smile on your face and be positive,” he tells viewers, reminding them to “slow down and focus on the things you really like doing.”

The campaign aims to encourage people to borrow less money, and while it's been criticised by some for "crossing the line", others have praised UBank for tackling such an emotive topic in an advert.

UBank’s CEO Lee Hatton has since explained that she sought out “real estate advice” from the terminally ill to help us to remember where our priorities should lie.

She said: “Our hope is that after you watch the film you will consider reviewing your own approach to spending your money on the things that are most important to you.

“Are you spending enough time with family and friends? Are you pursuing what you’re truly passionate about? Are there changes you need to make to find more time for your priorities?”

Hatton concluded: “The final thought from the film that I want to leave you with is one that was beautifully put forward by Karen in the video: humanity isn’t about the bricks and mortar, it’s what is inside those bricks and mortar.”

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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