In Australia, approximately 90 kids are diagnosed with cancer every month. The cancer treatments those kids receive can be toxic, leaving them with lasting health issues up to 90 percent of the time.
The campaign focuses on the need to fund scientific studies to discover better treatments, better outcomes and overall better care for paediatric cancer patients.
But there was a dual benefit of the campaign as Owen Finegan, CEO of The Kids’ Cancer Project explains.
“The Better Challenge mechanic is also designed to ‘better’ the participant, encouraging active and outdoor activity during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September,” he says.
“And with parts of New South Wales and Victoria in lockdown at the time, it provided an incentive for people to do just that,” says Owen.
Particpants in The Better Challenge were urged to run, walk or roll 90 kilometres throughout the entire month, backed by community fundraising.
And sign up they did. From Alice Springs in the Northern Territory to Zeehan, Tasmania, a total of 3,275 people created a fundraising page and clocked their k’s.
An impressive 311,608 kilometres was covered in the 30 days of September by participants with a total of $1,034,000 raised for scientific research.
With research the only way towards finding a cure, The Kids’ Cancer Project is committed to funding a breadth of scientists and research projects that investigate childhood cancer and treatment options.
With the effects of treatment posing different developmental challenges to children, the need for bespoke cancer research for children remains imperative. The Better Challenge harnesses the passion Australians feel for helping kids with cancer in a way that feels active and tangible.
Owen Finegan, The Kids’ Cancer Project CEO, praises everyone who got involved including donors, supporters, and corporate partners.
“I’m so proud of our community,” he says. “To raise more than $1 million in the first year of The Better Challenge is an incredible win for every Australian child diagnosed with cancer.”
“Our corporate partners RAMS and QBE Foundation showed incredible compassion and forward thinking by choosing to take part in dollar match days during the campaign,” says Owen.
“Their decision to commit funding to The Better Campaign inspired many others to support and drove us to the million-dollar milestone,” he says.
Where the money goes
At the conclusion of The Better Challenge, The Kids’ Cancer Project was able to announce a further commitment of $2.6M in multi-year funding into childhood cancer research.
Read more: Winners of $2.6 million in grants announced
“On top of the research projects we are already funding, The Kids’ Cancer Project has been able to commit an additional $1.02 in funding over the next 12 months to scientific studies,” says Owen.
“It is rare to raise $1 million dollars in a month and invest it within 24 hours on bold innovative science,” he says. “The only way that has been possible is due to the amazing outpouring of community support.”
“Thank you to everyone who participated, donated and supported The Better Challenge in 2021,” says Owen. “This means so much to the three children, and their families, who are diagnosed with childhood cancer every day in Australia.”