Please give this festive season, to stop cancer taking so much.

Meet three-year-old Sophia, a loving and vivacious little girl diagnosed with cancer as a baby. You can help stop cancer taking so much from people like Sophia and her family.


A terrifying diagnosis

Sophia had just turned one when her left eye started to bulge alarmingly. Her parents were devastated when an MRI revealed a huge tumour.

“We were transferred straight to the Children’s Hospital at Westmead. We didn’t know if Sophia would ever leave the hospital.” – Liz, Sophia’s Mum

A glimmer of hope

Incredibly, further tests revealed that Sophia’s cancer was a primary ‘yolk sack tumour’ – exceptionally rare in that part of the body.

Brilliant research in the past, supported by people like you, had identified the exact combination of chemotherapies to best treat this kind of tumour – which meant there was hope for little Sophia after all.

Little Sophia’s ordeal

Within days, Sophia was undergoing brutal chemotherapy that made her too nauseous to eat and caused night terrors that woke her, screaming, night after night.

And while the treatment appeared to be working, a final MRI showed there was still a large mass of dead cells pressing on Sophia’s optic nerve.

“It was another devastating blow. We had no choice but for Sophia to have surgery and risk complete paralysis of the left side of her face.” – Liz

What cancer took

Thankfully, Sophia’s surgery was successful – but the tumour caused damage that’s left her permanently blind in one eye.

Cancer also took the carefree childhood she should have had:

“The trauma has shaped her personality. She’s very cautious and hesitant. After all she’s been through, she needs to feel safe, and I totally understand that. She’s such a lovely, lovely little girl. Research is the only reason Sophia is still alive today, and we’re just so thankful.” – Liz

Sophia's story is also a story of hope made possible by groundbreaking research funded by supporters like you.

Research gives back life, hope, and precious time with loved ones to more people who are living with cancer.

Cancer research makes all the difference for families like Sophia's

“It’s not the love of the family, the strength of the child, or the skill of the doctors. The only difference between the child who survives cancer and the child who dies is research.” – Liz

Despite the remarkable progress in cancer research, the disease continues to impact many lives deeply.

It’s estimated that 165,000 Australians will be diagnosed with cancer in 2023 – and approximately 750 will be children aged 0–14 years.1

Approximately 140 people die every day from cancer in Australia. Every four days, a child’s life is taken.1

66% of people who survive cancer will have significant long-term treatment side effects.1

ACRF is committed to groundbreaking research to better prevent, detect, and treat all cancer types. Your support is vital in funding this life-saving cancer research, as there is still so much more to achieve.

1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Cancer in Australia 2022 report

Striving to connect people with more effective treatments.

At the ACRF International Centre for the Proteome of Human Cancer (ProCan™), researchers are analysing tens of thousands of tumour samples from all over the world - seeking a better understanding of cancer biology.

The library of data they’re building will be invaluable in advancing research into new and better cancer treatments. It will also enable doctors to immediately identify the most effective, personalised treatment plan.

Time is critical, especially with childhood cancers, so this will be truly lifesaving.

“ProCan would not exist at all if it weren’t for ACRF. No other agency in all of Australia funds equipment or facilities for cancer research the way they do.”– Professor Phil Robinson, Co-Director of ProCan at Children’s Medical Research Institute

Surviving cancer shouldn’t mean a life with long-term challenges.

The ACRF Oncology Alliance for the Science of Integrated Survivorship (OASIS) Centre will be built to help people have a full, healthy life beyond cancer.

This unique facility will focus on cancer survivorship. In its unique ‘living research’ laboratory, researchers will collect data and insights to better understand the impact of a wide range of treatments on outcomes for cancer patients. They will evaluate both traditional and non-traditional approaches, including massage, acupuncture, exercise, Chinese medicine, and diet.

The aim of the ACRF OASIS Centre is to give back both function and quality of life to people who survive cancer. People like Sophia – who has already lost too much to cancer.

Bringing the promise of immunotherapy to children with cancer.

We are thrilled to have just awarded $2 million to help establish the ACRF Spatial Immune-oncology Research program for Childhood Cancer, at the Children's Cancer Institute in Sydney.

Immunotherapy has been one of the most exciting developments of recent years when it comes to tackling cancer. But while it’s radically improved the outlook for several adult cancers, childhood cancers are very different – and we’re still far from understanding how to use immunotherapies to treat childhood cancer effectively.

The program aims to change that, by identifying children who could benefit from existing therapies and developing effective new immune-based therapies specifically for children’s cancers. So that more children like Sophia can survive and thrive after cancer.

Please back brilliant cancer research this giving season, and give back life, hope, and possibilities to more people like Sophia