Georgie Crawford-Smith and Annie Crawford

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In September 2020, I was diagnosed with bile duct cancer. It was a huge shock; in my wildest dreams, I never thought I’d get cancer. I had surgery followed by chemo. I thought I’d recovered but, in December last year, the cancer came back. It’s now in my lymph nodes and lungs. When I told Anne, she dropped everything to help; it’s very lucky that we live so close to each other. I had another operation in January. Every day, I go to her place and sit with her for a couple of hours. She’s such a positive person to be around and I like that we talk about everything except illness.

I love Anne’s warmth, kindness and generosity. I love her – deeply.

Annie: Georgie was a bubbly little girl with a chuckle that everyone loved. At school, she was the kid who befriended all the loners. Georgie is always there to support you in bad times and to celebrate your wins. If one of my kids does something I’m proud of, I know that success means just as much to her as it does to me. I have two grandchildren in Sydney, aged two and one, whom I see every Wednesday. Georgie always joins me, even on days when I know she’s not feeling so well. She inherited this generosity of spirit from our mum.


Georgie always looks glamorous and has this wonderful mix of vulnerability and assertiveness. She might think she’s not as good at something as she really is, but then won’t have any trouble asking for loud music to be turned down in a noisy restaurant. She also gets any job that she interviews for.

One weekend, when she was a teenager and Mum and Dad were away, she had a party and everyone was drinking. My brother’s room was in the garage and, to make it look more like a bedroom, our parents had replaced the garage door with glass windows. Georgie had had too much to drink and accidentally drove the car through the windows. She was so terrified of Mum and Dad finding out that she managed to get them fixed before they got home. Naughty, but clever.

Our dad Graham died in 1987 at the age of 51 of bowel cancer. I was 23 and Georgie 19. She was overseas when he got the diagnosis and came straight home. He died two months later. It was devastating; I was a wreck for 18 months. Georgie and I supported each other through that. Sometimes it’s enough to just have someone there who understands. Georgie’s a big hugger. We hug when she comes over every day – a big, long, holding hug of love.

“Georgie’s a big hugger. We hug when she comes over every day – a big, long, holding hug of love.”

I founded Can Too because I know how good exercise and community are for mental health – and because I wanted to help fund cancer research. I wanted the win-win. Working with Georgie was easy. She just embodies our goals, which are to inspire, motivate, support and empower others.

Just before her diagnosis, we’d gone for a run together. We were saying what blessed lives we had and how grateful we were and Georgie said, “We’re just a phone call away from something bad happening.” She’d been feeling nauseous and had a feeling something was wrong.


When Georgie got her diagnosis, I can’t tell you how terrible I felt. And then there was the irony of it: she has eaten healthily and exercised every day for the last 30 years. Georgie told us serenely, “I’ll be all right,” and I’m following her lead; I am with her on this journey. She’s teaching all of us how to walk through adversity with grace, courage and optimism. She’s an amazing human being. I’m not just saying that because she’s not well. She always has been.

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