On Saturday 31 August 2019, the eve of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (September), Sydney Opera House sails will be lit gold to honour the 950 children aged 19 and under who are diagnosed with cancer every year in Australia.
For the past three years to mark the beginning of the month-long awareness campaign, the iconic landmark has adopted the golden hue as a symbol of solidarity and unity with all children and families affected by the disease.
In the shadow of the sails, the community are invited to gather for a candlelight vigil to honour all children who have been diagnosed with cancer, those currently going through treatment as well as the many who have sadly passed away.
The Kids’ Cancer Project initiated the event in collaboration with Cancer Australia and other partners in the childhood cancer research space including the Children’s Cancer Institute, The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
Her Excellency The Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC Governor of New South Wales will speak at the event and will attend with her husband Mr Dennis Wilson.
Earlier in the year, Justice Beazley confirmed she would be Patron of The Kids’ Cancer Project, an honour that previous NSW state Governors have bestowed on the charity including Australia’s Governor General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (retd) and Her Excellency Linda Hurley who continue their patronage in their new office.
Also attending and speaking on the night will be Associate Professor Tracey O'Brien, Director of the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick and Head of the Blood & Marrow Transplant program; Professor Michelle Haber AM, Executive Director, Children’s Cancer Institute; and Associate Professor Christine Giles, Acting CEO, Cancer Australia.
“Cancer Australia is delighted to be working with The Kids’ Cancer Project to support its efforts to raise awareness of childhood cancer and to improve philanthropy to fund research and, ultimately, make a greater difference in lives of children with cancer,” said Associate Professor Giles.
“Together we are driving outstanding achievements in awareness, research, information and support," she said.
Sarah Weir will speak on behalf of families affected by childhood cancer at the event. Her youngest daughter Evie passed away from neuroblastoma on 19 December 2017 at just six years of age.
Sarah will take the stage with her daughter Alicia, who at 10-years-old is an ardent advocate for childhood cancer research.
“As a mother of a child who lost their life to childhood cancer, I am invested in and passionate about finding a cure through research,” said Sarah.
"When other people get on board it means so much to families like ours. It sometimes feels overwhelming at how much money and research is needed, and you wonder if we will ever get there to make a difference, but every bit counts,” she said.
“We are lucky to live in such an amazing country, and we’d love to see more of this. It will never be enough to bring our girl back, but we will continue to use Evie’s story and legacy to make a difference,” said Sarah.
Events and fundraisers are set to continue throughout September spreading greater awareness and encouraging more Aussies to fundraise for research and science into finding a cure for childhood cancer.