No life should be cut short by cancer. Give to support lifesaving research.

Beautiful Marisha 1983 – 2021


Marisha should have had so much life ahead of her

"Marisha had a ‘no one’s going to tell me what to do’ attitude to life, and that’s how she faced cancer, too.", says her mum, Maureen.

Marisha's life was cut unthinkably short. Her family lost the beautiful daughter, sister, and aunty they loved so much, when she was just 38.

When Marisha was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer she was told that she’d be lucky to survive a year. It is hard to imagine the pain Marisha and her family went through when hearing this diagnosis. Or the devastation they experienced as she went through treatment after agonising treatment, trying everything to keep the cancer at bay.

“She was very caring and extremely loyal”

Marisha was the second youngest of Maureen’s six children. She was known for her fiery independence and love for the outdoors, particularly enjoying family holidays on her uncle’s farm. Her family and friends meant the world to her – as did her beloved dogs and cats, who brought her immense joy and comfort.

“Above all, she was very, very determined," says Maureen. "They said she had just months to live because it was all through her body, but she fought it for four years.”

Marisha's hope

"Her doctors did everything they could to extend Marisha’s life,” says her mum, Maureen. “She had surgery and radiation, and she was on chemo virtually the whole time. It made her so sick. But she believed that every day she lived was a day closer to a cure being discovered. That was her hope."

If only hope, determination, or love, were enough to save a life from cancer. But there’s only one way to stop this brutal disease from cutting short the lives of people like Marisha – we must keep searching for new ways to tackle it.

Every day hope runs out for people like Marisha, as this horrible disease claims the lives of another 135 Australians.

When your only option is innovation

We’ve come such a long way, but we need to go further.

Despite the remarkable progress in cancer research, the disease continues to impact many lives deeply. Only by backing big, bold and brave ideas can we develop and explore more options for the people we love.

Since ACRF was founded in 1984, 86 grants have been awarded totalling $184 million to 44 research institutions across Australia.

Approximately 135 people die every day from cancer in Australia. Which is why visionary thinking is what is going to save lives.

We’ve seen vast improvements in outcomes for people with cancer over the past 40 years – but progress hasn’t been equal for all cancer types. The brutal reality is that some people have options, and others simply don’t. There are still far too many people who have only limited treatment options – especially when the cancer has already spread before it’s diagnosed, as it had for Marisha.

When the drugs stop working

Researchers at the ACRF Facility for Innovative Cancer Drug Discovery are using cutting-edge technologies in modern drug discovery, searching for new options for cancers that don’t yet have an effective therapy.

The team is using structural biology – an approach that is revolutionising cancer drug discovery by revealing the 3D atomic structures of key proteins important in the development and progression of cancer.

When doctors can’t predict how the cancer will react

At the ACRF Centre for Advanced Cancer Modelling, researchers are taking personalised medicine further than ever before.

Bringing together clinical, research and bioengineering expertise, they will develop totally unique models specific to each person’s cancer – using cutting-edge liquid biopsy technology to predict and monitor its response to treatment. This will finally allow doctors to make real-time treatment decisions tailored to each patient

When the side effects of treatment are too brutal

Most approaches to treating cancer also damage other tissues, causing debilitating side effects. Researchers at the ACRF Facility for Targeted Radiometals in Cancer are bringing us closer to being able to kill cancer without side effects.

Their revolutionary approach uses alpha particles (with short high bursts of very high energy) to selectively kill cancer cells – minimising the devastating destruction of healthy tissue.

Please back big, bold and brave research so the people you love will always have options.

Costs of this appeal have been covered by untied funding, making it possible for 100% of your donation to fund cancer research.