On Wednesday 9 December 2020, The Kids’ Cancer Project held its first ever Christmas fundraising luncheon with $100,000 raised to help children with many different types of cancer.
Christmas for a Cure was hosted in response to the cancellation of the annual Sporting Heroes Luncheon, an event usually held in September, but due to COVID-19 restrictions had been cancelled.
The Kids' Cancer Project CEO, Owen Finegan, addressing guests at the inaugural Christmas for a Cure fundraiser.
While guest numbers were restricted compared to previous years, 300 of the charity’s most valued sponsors and supporters filled the venue overlooking Sydney Harbour to enjoy a gourmet three-course lunch with Top Shelf Live providing musical entertainment creating a party atmosphere.
Owen Finegan, event MC and CEO of The Kids’ Cancer Project, umpired a lively panel discussion between Maddy Proud (Captain of the NSW Swifts, children's book author and Write a Book in a Day judge), and two Australian Rugby legends turned media personalities; Morgan Turinui and Adam Freier.
Guests enjoyed a three-course meal at Doltone House, Sydney.
A lively panel discussion with some of Australia's sporting greats.
But there was also a serious side to the day which was brought home by Jacqui de Kort as she spoke about her daughter Alana’s shock diagnosis and untimely death from Ewing’s sarcoma in 2018.
Read more: A mother's plea
Guests generously gave to the cause through The Kids’ Cancer Project Bear Giving Tree (where guests could donate a teddy to a sick child in hospital) along with raffles and nine items hotly contested in a live auction.
Jacqui de Kort faced the 300 strong crowd and shared her family's mission to fundraise for childhood cancer research.
In addition, there was an online auction, a first at any of the charity’s live events. This was a strategic addition to attract a wider audience (guests not at the event) as well as a safety, back-up plan if the lunch was to be unexpectedly cancelled or downscaled due to the pandemic. All online auction items were generously donated ensuring more funds went directly to research.
Funds raised went to support the vital work of Dr Joost Lesterhuis head of the Sarcoma Group at Perth’s Telethon Kids Institute, as Owen Finegan explains.
“One in three children with soft tissue sarcoma die from their disease,” he says. “Surgery, chemo, and occasionally, radiotherapy are the standard treatment approach, but there’s been minimal improvement in survival rates over the past few decades.”
“Dr Lesterhuis is exploring a completely new approach that aims to locally deliver, already proven, active immunotherapy to the tumour site, using a biodegradable hydrogel applied during surgery,” says Owen.
At completion of this project, Dr Lesterhuis is confident he will have the necessary data to take this technology to the bedside in clinical trials to benefit patients and improve survival.
Behind the science: Dr Joost Lesterhuis
The Kids’ Cancer Project thanks all volunteers from QBE who helped out on the day along with Doltone House and all businesses that donated auction items.
Get involved with the many corporate events The Kids’ Cancer Project hosts throughout the year. To find out more, contact us today.