The Federal Government announced funding of $3 million to Cancer Australia’s Fighting Childhood Cancer Initiative as part of the forward estimate in this year’s budget over the next three years.
This $9 million injection is a demonstration of the bold vision and commitment the Australian Government has in providing better health outcomes for the 950 children who are diagnosed with the disease annually in this country.
The budget boost is a great result for families, and particularly the children affected by the disease, as it means more laboratory research and clinical trials can take place.
An independent national charity that funds scientific research throughout the country, and its years of concerted advocacy, is directly attributed to the win.
The Coalition Government acknowledged The Kids’ Cancer Project’s unwavering commitment to childhood cancer research over the past 26 years and the key role it has played in leading collaboration across the sector over the past four years.
Owen Finegan, The Kids’ Cancer Project CEO praised the Federal Government for its vision and said he was deeply honoured the charity has been acknowledged.
“The Government’s commitment to join with The Kids’ Cancer Project to take greater steps to eradicate childhood cancer is great news,” said Finegan. “This will have a direct impact on children and their families while simultaneously supporting the finest medical research minds and futureproofing childhood cancer research.”
“We look forward to continuing our partnership with Cancer Australia in developing priorities for the investment,” he said. “Together, we will ensure adequate support of programs that will supercharge childhood cancer research, advancing the diagnosis, treatment, management, analysis, access to clinical trials and improved outcomes for all children with cancer.”
“We will also continue to execute our vision by engaging other charities, Australian business and the broader community in raising awareness and funds to bring about 100 per cent survival of all children diagnosed with cancer,” said Finegan.
The charity’s mission is to support research that has the greatest chance of clinical success in the improvement of treatments for childhood cancer.
The Kids’ Cancer Project is also the driving force behind Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in Australia. Further announcements about how the Fighting Childhood Cancer Initiative will roll out funding priorities could come as early as September when the event will be commemorated for the fourth consecutive year.
Sarah Weir with daughter Evie at a candle light vigil to commemorate Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, September 2017.
Cancer is the leading cause of death from disease in children in Australia and survival rates for some cancers common among children have not improved in more than 25 years.
Currently there are no known preventive measures for childhood cancer and for some cancers there are no known effective treatments as Sarah discovered when her six-year-old daughter Evie passed away in 2017.
“The moment Evie was diagnosed we were thrust into a world we knew nothing of,” she said. “A world where we had to helplessly watch our baby girl fight for her life and get really sick with the treatment’s side effects.”
“Funding scientific studies means that in the future, fewer kids will have to go through what our Evie, and all the kids we have met, have. It means families won’t be robbed of so much and that’s the most important thing any family who has been affected by childhood cancer could ask for," she said.
“These kids, who are so young and can't advocate for themselves, need us to stand up and help fight for them.”
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