A mother's plea

A mother's plea

Sydney mum advocates for more research to discover better treatments for children diagnosed with cancer.

Jacqui de Kort lost her daughter Alana to cancer on 28 July 2018. Alana was just 14-years-old. Now the Sydney mum, along with her whole family, advocate for more research to discover better treatments, build scientific capabilities and for the development of survivorship programs for children diagnosed with cancer.

On Wednesday 9 December 2020, at The Kids’ Cancer Project Christmas for a Cure luncheon, Jacqui faced a room of over 300 business leaders to share her experience, what she and her family are doing to raise funds for childhood cancer research and encouraged them to dig deep. Here’s her speech from the event.

Jacqui’s speech

During Alana’s illness, my husband, and Alana’s loving dad, Paul, read a lot. He learnt everything he could about Ewing’s sarcoma and childhood cancer, and he learnt about the research that is being conducted in Australia and around the world to find cures.

I remember Paul having several discussions with Alana’s Oncologist, Dr Geoff McCowage, about all this work, and I remember Dr McCowage’s excitement about advancements being made and future treatments that are showing promise. Dr McCowage did everything he could to help Alana. Paul and I are convinced that his, and so many of his colleagues, dedication and commitment to science and research will result in the very best outcomes for cancer kids.

As a family, we truly believe that science and research is key. We also know that The Kids’ Cancer Project believes that science is the solution to finding more effective treatments for childhood cancer so that other kids will have a better chance of survival.

Jacqui's speech Image
The start of Blue Bottle Image

The start of Blue Bottle

Our beautiful Alana endured so much during her illness. We don’t want that for other kids. Our family lost our beautiful daughter, sister, grand-daughter, niece and cousin. We don’t want that for other families. Our community lost a loving, loyal friend and a really good human. We don’t want that for other communities.

Bob and Mel Cooper from Agnes Water, who found our blue bottle, are caring, genuine people. During our first trip to Agnes, and after hearing about everything Alana had been through, I remember Bob questioning us, “How tough are you?”. And, “What are you going to do now to make a change and make a difference?” The challenge was set.

We have formed Blue Bottle and are proudly supporting The Kids’ Cancer Project. Our goal is to raise as much awareness about childhood cancer, and as much money as possible. We are excited about the fundraising plans we have. They have been postponed for now, but we will be back on track just as soon as it is safe to do so. 

Raising funds for kids’ cancer

We are going to form the largest human image of a pineapple. Our son Jake came up with the idea in memory of Alana and her love for all things Pineapple. Jake has applied to Guinness World Records and has learned all the rules. Prior to COVID, we had 857 registered participants for the event. Just imagine that many people, all wearing pineapple colours, forming the shape and standing still for drone shots, all while raising money for The Kids’ Cancer Project and childhood cancer research.

Straight after the world’s biggest pineapple, we are going to set out on an epic adventure to follow the path of our little blue bottle from Long Reef to Agnes Water on jet skis! The Reef 2 Water trek will take two weeks, with 10 stops along the way. Paul, Jake and Bob Cooper will be travelling about 150 kilometres a day on the jet skis, and there will be fundraising events along the way, including a golf day, a trivia night and a rugby clinic hosted by The Kids’ Cancer Project CEO, Owen Finegan. We are also planning to give blood at one of the stops and visit cancer kids in hospital at another. The trek will finish with a landing party at Agnes Water that Mel Cooper is organising.

Raising funds for kids’ cancer research Image

Let’s punch cancer in the face”

We are also hosting a gala dinner in Sydney as a culmination of all the events. We’re planning videos, speeches and a great time. A local band has volunteered to play for us, and of course we will be doing some more fundraising. We’re pretty excited about everything and can’t wait to get started!

In closing, I just want to say that we miss our beautiful Alana every single day. We are doing all of this in memory of her. We are so appreciative of the love and support we have been shown by so many. Together we will make a difference. In the words of another cancer campaigner who I greatly admire, Samuel Johnson, “Let’s punch cancer in the face.”

Thank you.

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