After tragically losing his nine-year-old daughter, Amy, to a brain tumour, father Ren Pedersen raised $100,000 for Children’s Cancer Institute Australia (CCIA), which will go towards critical brain cancer research being carried out by Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick paediatric oncologist and CCIA scientist, Dr David Ziegler.
The Cure Starts Now (CSN) is an international organisation dedicated to raising vital funds for brain cancer research. The Australian branch of CSN was created by Ren Pedersen to raise money for Australian research, after he lost Amy in 2009.
“Amy fought to the very end,” says Ren. “Her resilience and bravery gave her the strength to soldier on for 16 months – most patients don’t last that long. Amy lost her battle, but we’re still battling to beat this devastating cancer.”
In August 2011 CSN (Australia) generously donated $100,000 to CCIA, which will go towards the research program Dr Ziegler is undertaking for one of the most aggressive forms of childhood cancer, a brain tumour called diffuse pontine glioma,
“Currently there is no effective treatment, and sadly almost all young patients die within one year of being diagnosed with diffuse pontine glioma” says Dr Ziegler.
“With these funds we will be able to utilise the cutting-edge robotic technology in CCIA’s Drug Discovery Centre to find new treatments. We plan to perform a robotic screen of up to 160,000 small chemical molecules to find an effective treatment for this deadly brain cancer.
“We are working with the first ever cultured cells from DPG patients, which came from overseas,” he says. “Next we plan to collect cells from Australian patients and store them in CCIA’s Tumour Bank for ongoing research. These will be the first collection of diffuse pontine glioma samples in Australia.”
CSN (Australia) is committed not only to fundraising activities, but also wants to raise public awareness within Australia about these deadly tumours.
“Successful awareness leads to successful fundraising,” says Ren. “By educating Australians about the severity of paediatric brain tumours, we can better communicate why it’s so important to support this cause and appeal to all Aussies to get behind us so we can win this battle once and for all.”
Dr David Ziegler is a paediatric oncologist at the Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick and a scientist at CCIA. This current research is building on his recent DPG research that was made possible thanks to funds that were raised at the Benny Wills Gala Dinner through the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation.