Right across the nation, children, office workers and whole townships are encouraged to embrace their inner buccaneer and dress up like a pirate throughout the month of May in support of childhood brain cancer research.
The facts about childhood brain cancer:
Brain tumours are the most common form of solid tumours among children.
Brain cancer kills more children in Australia than any other disease.
As with other tumours in kids and adults, surgery is the primary treatment, usually followed by radiation treatment and/or chemotherapy.
Because a child's brain is still developing, these treatments can result in more substantial and permanent side effects than they would for an adult.
Previously known as Pirate Day Friday and held in June, organisers have taken a collaborative approach to fighting the disease by aligning with May’s Brain Cancer Action Month.
Now in its fifth year, the filibuster fundraiser has become a national favourite with its aim to raise money and awareness for research into the treatment and cure of childhood brain cancer – a disease that kills more children in Australia than any other.
Pirate Day in May was a concept conceived in tragic circumstances when in 2014 Nathan Colgan of Perth, learned his son, Conor (then five-years-old), had an aggressive brain tumour.
Read more: Conor's story.
“The more I read up on the disease, the more heart broken I became,” the distraught dad shared.
“I discovered that for every two children diagnosed with a brain tumour, one will sadly lose their life. And the ones that do survive often have severe, lasting side effects. The only way to change this is to put more funding into scientific research,” said Nathan.
By donning an eye patch and making a donation, every Australian can make a serious difference.
Last year more than 600 schools and early learning centres around Australia along with workplaces and rum bars got behind the cause. Since Pirate Day Friday started in 2015, over $280,000 has been raised for scientific studies to find kinder, more effective treatments for the disease that childhood cancer research.
All funds raised from the campaign, which is a collaboration between The Kids’ Cancer Project and The Pirate Ship Foundation, are directed to funding vital childhood brain cancer research.
This year, funds will be directed specifically to Dr Nick Gottardo, a paediatric oncologist and scientist based at The Telethon Kids’ Institute in Western Australia.
Read more: Using targeted chemotherapies to reduce intensity of radiotherapy in medulloblastoma.
Col Reynolds OAM, founder of The Kids’ Cancer Project is delighted with the initiative.
“It’s great to have a bit of fun to fundraise despite the serious nature of kids’ cancer. Many people aren’t aware that the causes of childhood cancer are unknown, that there is no prevention and that research is the only way to improve treatments and survival,” he said.
The Kids’ Cancer Project is an independent national charity supporting childhood cancer research. Over the past 14 years, the charity has committed more than $36 million in funding to childhood cancer research. Funding that’s only been possible through community fundraising events.
“It is only through research that my son Conor, who is now nine, has defied the odds and is still with us today,” said Nathan. “I wish I could say he has been cured of his illness but sadly his fight against cancer is not yet over and neither is mine.”
“Our journey continues, but with the support of every Australian who takes part in Pirate Day, we have the courage to keep going,” Nathan said.
All Australian’s are encouraged to register their Pirate Day in May at piratedayinmay.com.au.