Tangalooma Island Resort - Supporting kids’ cancer research, one whale at a time


Since 2013, we’ve been honoured to have the support of the wonderful Tangalooma Island Resort. The partnership began after Oscar, the son of resort manager, Brianna, was diagnosed with cancer. Since then, and with Oscar now thankfully in remission, the team have raised over $53,000 to support kids’ cancer research through their whale watching tours.

12 years ago, resort manager Brianna heard the words all parents dread, ‘your son has cancer’ – the same news that three families tragically receive every day in Australia. Brianna’s three-year-old son, Oscar, had been diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma.

As Oscar began treatment, one of Brianna’s friends was looking for a charity to fundraise for. As fate would have it, she received a call from The Kids’ Cancer Project – the charity mascot being a bear named Oscar. And just like that, the partnership was born.

Not satisfied with the standard ways to raise money, the team got brainstorming and in 2013 the whale watching fundraiser became a reality. Every season, the resort generously donates $5 for every whale spotted on its migration and tourists kindly make gifts to boost the fundraising total. With over 1,200 whales spotted each season, the donations are significant – reaching over $53,000 to date! That’s enough to fund nearly 1,000 hours of research, the opening of 15 new clinical trials or tests to see if a new drug is working for 50 kids with cancer.

Speaking of the importance of the ongoing partnership, Tangalooma marketing manager Faith Smith said:

Brianna’s son Oscar is thankfully in remission now but is still having to deal with the side effects of harsh treatments.

Seeing that one of the projects our fundraising work is helping to fund is investigating the effect of chemo on young kids’ brains is a direct illustration of why it’s so important to support research – to help other kids like Oscar.

-Faith Smith
Oscar, in remission but suffering side effects
Oscar, in remission but suffering side effects of harsh cancer treatments

As the partnership between The Kids’ Cancer Project and Tangalooma has grown, the team have gotten involved in supporting kids’ cancer research in more ways than just their wonderful whale watching tours. As well as donating money ad hoc and donating raffle prizes for our events, Faith attended our Women in Business event in Brisbane where she learnt more about the importance of the resort’s ongoing support, she says:

“I sat next to a couple whose daughter had a rare form of leukaemia. Thanks to the research and development of new treatments, their daughter now only has to take a tablet every day to cure her leukaemia and keep her in remission.

“If she had been diagnosed even three years earlier, the only treatment option which would have been available to them then would be a bone marrow transplant. 

That advancement in only a few short years is mind-boggling to me, simply ground-breaking! It feels so great knowing that we are contributing to such a worthwhile and important cause that has tangible and real results.

-Faith Smith
Oscar and Col Reynolds on boat
Oscar with The Kids' Cancer Project Founder Col Reynolds

“Tangalooma Island Resort has been a proud supporter of The Kids’ Cancer Project for many years now, and given our first-hand experience with the organisation and the incredible work they do, this is one partnership we endeavour to maintain for years to come.

“The sad reality is, cancer kills more children than any other disease in Australia, so if we can contribute in any way towards raising awareness and funds for childhood cancer research, then we will.”

We’re so appreciative of the entire team’s dedication to fundraising. Their ongoing generosity is helping to fund vital kids’ cancer research, helping to develop more effective and less damaging treatments and giving all kids the best chance of surviving cancer and thriving after treatment. Reaching a day where all kids survive cancer truly wouldn’t be possible without the amazing organisations like Tangalooma.

Thank you.

If you’d like to find out how your organisation can get involved and help support lifesaving kids’ cancer research, please contact Effie Kent by emailing effie@tkcp.org.au