Today we celebrate a milestone…

30-year-anniversary-webpicSuddenly 30! Or at least that’s how it feels to us here at the Australian Cancer Research Foundation – how time has flown. On this day, 30 years ago in 1984, prominent Australians Sir Peter Abeles and the Late Lady (Sonia) McMahon established a Foundation with the hopes of one day finding the cures for, and eradicating, cancer.

The ACRF has since become a leading cancer charity and not-for-profit organisation in Australia, leveraging of the immense power and support of the community to enable major breakthroughs in cancer research.

There are many people and groups we would like to thank for helping us get to where we are today: Our honorary Board of Trustees and our esteemed Research Advisory Committee, our Cancerians Committee and our dedicated volunteers. We thank our loyal supporters – both individuals and corporate supporters. Without them we would not have been able to fund the cutting-edge research outcomes of the past thirty years.

In celebration of our 30th anniversary we’ve compiled 30 interesting and fun facts about the ACRF you might not have known!

  1. The Foundation was established on June 18, 1984 as the ‘Australian Cancer Foundation for Medical Research’.
  2. Our name was changed to the ‘Australian Cancer Research Foundation’ on February 16, 1996.
  3. The ACRF is a private, philanthropic organisation and receives no government funding.
  4. The ACRF’s establishment in 1984 addressed a general crisis in cancer research funding in the country in the early 80’s.
  5. Sir Peter Abeles and Lady (Sonia) McMahon, together with Mrs Barbara Mackay-Cruise were driven to pledge their support and desire to keep funding cancer research funding alive when the Sydney Hospital Foundation for Research closed in 1982.
  6. Sir Peter Abeles was appointed the inaugural chair for the foundation.
  7. The Foundation was officially launched by The Prime Minister of Australia, The Hon. R.J.L Hawke.
  8. The Foundation’s very first grant was awarded in 1984 to the Centre of Immunology at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney. It was for the amount of $1 million.
  9. It took the Foundation two years to raise the money for first grant.
  10. The very first fundraising Cancerians Committee was the Sydney Cancerians Committee – originally called the Rum Runners Committee, and formerly affiliated with the Sydney Hospital Foundation.
  11. There are now Cancerians Committees based right around Australia, who have together generously contributed more than $4 million in funding for cancer research in Australia.
  12. The very first major fundraising event for the ACRF was The XXXX Around Australia Relay Marathon by the Australian Army in aid of the Australian Cancer Foundation. It saw 20 runners and 20 support crew circumnavigate Australia in 96 days.
  13. The Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark were guests of honour at an ACRF black-tie affair at the historic Boomerang, the magnificent Sydney home of Juliana Schaeffer, during their tour of Australia in 2005.
  14. The ACRF seed-funded the work of Prof. Ian Frazer AC, co-creator of the cervical cancer vaccine in 1999, with a $1 million grant to the Diamantina Institute in Queensland.
  15. In 2012, the ACRF attended the opening of Australia’s first Comprehensive Cancer Centre – the Kinghorn Cancer Centre in Sydney – which was funded by a special $5 million ACRF grant in memory of Lady (Sonia) McMahon.
  16. The Australian Cancer Research Foundation is governed by an honorary Board of Trustees consisting of 13 dedicated business people and philanthropists, Australia-wide.
  17. ACRF research grants are assessed according to the world-class standards of an esteemed scientific committee of Australian cancer researchers, called the Medical Research Advisory Committee (MRAC).
  18. Our MRAC is currently chaired by Professor Ian Frazer (co-creator of the cervical cancer vaccine and 2006 Australian of the Year).
  19. Membership of the Foundation’s MRAC is authorised by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
  20. In 2014, the ACRF appointed two international cancer scientists to its Medical Research Advisory Committee.
  21. In total, the Australian Cancer Research Foundation has awarded 52 cancer research grants, totalling $95 million.
  22. Almost $70 million of this total has been awarded in just the last eight years, indicating the growing capability of ACRF to meet the needs of Australia’s most cutting-edge scientists.
  23. The ACRF has awarded four major $5 million grants to the following research facilities: the Melbourne Comprehensive Cancer Centre ( 2006), Sydney’s Centenary Institute for Cancer Research (2007), the Garvan St Vincent’s Campus Centre (Kinghorn Cancer Centre) (2010) and the Westmead Institute for Cancer Research in 2011.
  24. In this, our 30th year, the ACRF will smash through a milestone – reaching $100 million in grants awarded for ground-breaking cancer research.
  25. Grants of the magnitude and purpose provided by the ACRF are not readily and regularly available from any other source in Australia.
  26. The ACRF has funded every major cancer research institute in every Australian state.
  27. The crab image within the ACRF logo is a reflection of the origin of the word “cancer”, which has been linked to the Greek physician Hippocrates who used the term ‘karcinos’ (the word for “crab”) to describe a tumour. He saw that the blood vessels surrounding the tumour were crab-like in shape.
  28. The Foundation’s mission to specialise in the provision of funds for high-impact research equipment and facilities has not waivered since its inception.
  29. The Australian Cancer Research Foundation funds research into ALL types of cancer, not just one or two.
  30. Since the Foundation’s establishment, overall cancer survival rates have increased by 20%, with some types of cancer exceeding 85%+ five-year survival rates (including breast cancer, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid cancer and others).