HRH Crown Princess Mary to visit Westmead Millennium Institute

HRH Crown Princess Mary will visit the Westmead Millennium Institute (WMI) in Sydney this Saturday morning (March 5), where she will learn more about some of Australia’s world-leading melanoma research.

At the WMI, the Crown Princess will meet with the Institute’s Director, Professor Richard Kefford and some of his team of young award-winning researchers.

The visit, which is scheduled from 11am-midday, was initiated by the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF), Australia’s leading cancer research funding body, and one of the key charities the Crown Princess is lending her support to during her visit Down Under.

The ACRF (which is chaired by M&C Saatchi Asia-Pacific chief, Tom Dery provided the Westmead Millennium Institute with $1.1million seed funding in 2000 to assist in the establishment of the integrated research centre.

Mr Dery said that he and the ACRF team were especially pleased that Crown Princess Mary had shown a real interest in learning more about Australian melanoma research, and the advances that Australia had made into its diagnosis, prevention and treatment.

“The fight against cancer doesn’t come cheaply though,” said Mr Dery. “All of the critical research made possible by ACRF grants is very important, but it is also expensive, which is why we are very grateful for the Crown Princess’ support,” he said.

“ACRF grants, which average $1million-plus each, are directed at creating the infrastructure, such as building and equipment, to enable critical research at Australia’s most promising research institutions.”

Over the past five years, Professor Kefford has helped the WMI to establish a reputation for being a world leader in melanoma studies – particularly in the area of identifying genes linked with melanoma. In the last 12 months his team have successfully demonstrated for the first time that the effects of genes in producing melanoma risk are highly dependent on where in the world a person lives.

He said that Denmark had shown a sharp rise in the incidence of skin cancer in recent years, a trend that is likely to increase.

“It appears as though Crown Princess Mary is very aware of this issue and wants to assist. We believe she will be able to influence the way young people think about the effects of burning their fair northern hemisphere skins in the quest for a suntan.

On Saturday, ACRF Chairman Mr Dery will officially welcome Her Royal Highness and the Danish Delegation, including Lord Chamberlain, Per Thornit, Consul-General Jorgen Møllegard Kristiansen and Mrs Kristiansen and Consul Annelise Wern to the Westmead Institute at 11am. The Crown Princess will then join Mr Dery and Professor Kefford in a visit to one of the Institute’s melanoma research laboratories.

Later that evening, the Crown Princess will join husband Crown Prince Frederik at an informal but exclusive black-tie dinner to raise funds for the Australian Cancer Research Foundation at historic Boomerang, the magnificent Sydney waterfront home of Juliana Schaeffer.

The Australian Cancer Research Foundation is dedicated to helping find a cure for cancer through the continued support of world-class research in Australia. In 20 years the ACRF has raised over $36 million to support leading edge Australian research initiatives.

Established in 1984 by the late Sir Peter Abeles, the Foundation is different to other cancer charities, in that it seeks to fund research only, financing facilities not provided for by State or federal medical grants bodies. With average grants exceeding $1 million — a sum not available from other private sources in Australia – the ACRF continues to significantly contribute to drastic breakthroughs in the fight against cancer.