Terence’s Story

In late 2015 doctors found a mass growing in my brain after a routine check-up. After monitoring it for a few years, in late 2019 my neurosurgeon discovered that the mass was growing. Two thousand and twenty sucked for a lot of people but throwing in brain surgery and six months of chemo, all while a global pandemic was raging, wasn’t how I had pictured my wedding year!

I married my wife, Alyce, in February before my surgery – just before the lockdowns, so a win for us, I guess.  The year ended much better as we welcomed our son, Ryan, two weeks after chemo ended. He’s our number two, Emily, our daughter, is four. I take my hat off to Alyce for putting up with (I mean, supporting) me through treatment all the while going through pregnancy! Now THERE’S an inspiring story, but not mine…

One day during treatment, I got talking to an older lady who has been battling cancer for years and I was in awe of her positive attitude and bubbly personality. One thing she said that resonated with me was, “My dear, chemo is just the beginning… This journey living with cancer isn’t a sprint, as they say, it’s a marathon. The real challenges are up here,” as she pointed to her head.

So, that night, I decided that 12 months after I completed chemo, I was going to run a marathon. I completed chemo on 18 September 2020. The Blackmores Sydney Running Festival marathon is on the 19 September 2021. Fate perhaps? I’ve never been much of a runner, but why let fear stop me from doing something scary or different? I can’t change the fact that I have brain cancer. What I can change is the way I feel about it and to show those around me that cancer isn’t the GAME OVER moment some people fear it is. Why waste what life we have left in fear of things that could open our eyes to the world?

I’m running this marathon for me and all brain cancer warriors out there and also the people who dedicate their lives to overcoming all forms of cancer.

There are many ways to support the work of ACRF and together, with everyone’s input, we will achieve our goal to outsmart cancer. To find out more head to acrf.com.au/get-involved

Cancer research gave Dad 13 more years to spend with our family

Jess and Phil“On April 8 I lost my dad to cancer. Just a month before, I watched as he walked up the hospital hallway by himself, achieving a goal he had been working towards with his physio team since his last surgery. It seemed impossible to most of us but he was always determined to get better.

My dad lived with cancer for 13 years. There were many years where we thought to ourselves, ‘This is it. This is the last Father’s Day, this is the last Christmas’ but he always made it through.

He had been fortunate that he qualified for many different medical trials throughout his illness. Every medication that came around, he would give it a go – no matter what. It was always something new, like a magic trick the researchers would pull out of a hat to give him more time.

I am so thankful for cancer researchers. Their dedication to progress provided some of the newer treatments that not only gave him more time but improved his quality of life.

This meant so much to him because it let him keep doing the things he loved, like travelling and spending time with his family. He was also able to keep working for the Fire Brigade. Everyone who knew my dad knew about his passion for his career, I feel like it was one of the things that kept him going.

Following in his father’s footsteps, he first began as a volunteer firefighter and worked hard to earn a full time position as a fire investigator. He worked right up until the very end.

PhilHe was such a fighter, not just as a fireman but in the way he refused to give up.

Dad endured many different cancers over the last 13 years, including bowel, lung and bone. But it was brain cancer that took him in the end. I feel it was the worst for him to go through.

My mum and I were playing all his favourite songs on his last day, dancing around his bed like mad women, he would have loved it. They say that hearing is the last thing to go, so I just know this would have made him happy.

My dad always liked to make sure he thanked people when they helped him. So I wanted to thank cancer researchers on his behalf.

I began supporting Australian Cancer Research Foundation to give other families more time with their loved ones. I know that together we can help researchers improve cancer prevention, detection and treatments for patients.

It is my hope that one day cancer won’t be on anyone’s mind at Christmas.” – ACRF supporter, Jessica Broome

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Running for S.T.E.F – Elderene is on a mission to Stop Tumours Ending Friendships

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Earlier this year, Stephanie Barker was preparing to run the Mackay half marathon when she realised something wasn’t right. Just days after running 10km, she was flown to Townsville for treatment for an aggressive grade four brain tumour.

“I was totally unaware of what it was to have a tumour, or a mass, or brain cancer, I am so lucky the emergency room doctor was able to stabilise me in Mackay. Once stable, I was flown to the Townsville Hospital where I underwent major brain surgery.”

Before the surgery, Stephanie’s brain tumour was the size of an orange, which meant that she could only spend two weeks at home over Easter before heading back to Townsville to undergo six more weeks of daily radiation and chemotherapy.

It was there she met Elderene, a Senior Radiation Therapist and soon to be friend. “We were surprised to find that we have so much in common, we are both originally from Africa and had spent time living in England before getting married and making the move to sunny Queensland.”

The similarities didn’t end there – Stef and Elderene also share a passion for running. “I had been training for the Mackay run before being diagnosed but, unfortunately, doctors advised me not to run.”

“Being the character that I am, I started joking that Elderene should run in my place.” What Stef didn’t know at the time was that Elderene had actually completed 22 full marathons. “Unlike me she’s a veteran of distance – I’m in awe of her as I have to drag myself over the line in a half marathon.” Elderene assured her that 42.2km is nothing compared to having to battle a grade four brain tumour.”

A few days later, Elderene had some big news for Stef, “Elderene was bursting with excitement as she told me that she had been given a spot in the 2016 London Marathon, and that she would be running for me!”

“I am still stunned, so overwhelmed! Elderene had taken me so seriously that she is now going to travel 16,000km at her expense to run for me in the London Marathon.”

‘S.T.E.F’ became an inspiring acronym for the ‘Running for Stef’ Fundraising Campaign: Stop Tumours Ending Friendships. Elderene explained that raising money and awareness made her feel like she was playing her part.

“I want to see a cure for cancer in my lifetime and my aim is to raise $10,000 for the Australian Cancer Research Foundation for Stef and the thousands of people who are battling cancer.”

Click here to support Elderene.

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Why do so many people run for a cause? One runner tells his story.

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Today it seems that everyone (and their dog) is running a fun run, half or full marathon. But what the growing numbers don’t say is how hard it actually is to finish a race. They don’t tell you that there is something special you need, right out of the gate, in order to have a shot at finishing what you’ve started.

You need something that will keep you going when your body is pleading with you to give up.

For most, this will be a cause that is bigger than they are. For Jonathan Weiner it’s the thought of his cousin. Having lost Michelle to cancer, Jonathan became determined to do something to honour her memory and make a difference. It’s fuelled his fire to run in this year’s City2Surf in August.

Jonathan says “I am going to keep a promise that I made her. I promised Michelle that I would do everything in my power to find a cure for this devastating disease, and this is my first step in keeping that promise.”

“Although my cousin died of brain cancer, many different types of cancers have affected my family, which is why I chose to raise funds for the ACRF. It is a way for me to help fund research in all types of cancer,” says Jonathan.

People from all over the world are joining forces to help Jonathan reach his goal of raising $18,000 for cancer research and support him in his journey to honour his cousin.

To get behind Jonathan in his cancer fun run please click here.

To see how you can embark on your own running challenge here.

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Alison’s Story

Regular charity donations

“I support the ACRF in honour of my Mum, Jean, who died from a brain tumour (Glioblastoma) in June 2011. I miss Mum every day.

I miss her even more after giving birth to twin daughters a couple of years ago. My mum was a wonderful grandmother – she would have been so excited at the thought of having twin grandchildren!

While I know it is a cliche, Mum was the glue that held my family together. Her loss was devastating.

She fought through two other cancers – breast cancer and melanoma – before passing from Glioblastoma. While Mum’s medical teams were skilled and dedicated, her treatment options for brain cancer were limited, and the very poor prognosis for this disease had not changed for a long time.

I work in health care, and know that more research is desperately needed and it is vitally important for medical researchers to be able to plan their work, with the security of regular financial input from donors. Every amount, no matter how modest, adds up to providing that security to researchers.

When I investigated various options for donating, the ACRF stood out – they seemed so dedicated to putting each dollar to the best possible use, and clearly had a great deal of respect for donations. After being a monthly giver for a short time, I decided to include the ACRF in my will.

The image I have included was taken on my wedding day in May 2010, 5 months before Mum became unwell.”

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Search for early diagnostic markers of brain cancer supported with ACRF funding

014_Directors_MIMR_356911ACRF-funded cutting edge technology is helping researchers at Melbourne’s MIMR-PHI Institute move closer to early diagnosis and treatment of Glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

More than 1,000 Australians are affected by Glioblastoma each year and most are not expected to live more than two years after diagnosis. Although researchers have come a long way in understanding and managing the disease, diagnosis and treatment remain a challenge.

Continue reading “Search for early diagnostic markers of brain cancer supported with ACRF funding”

Aggressive brain tumours to be newly targeted with Leukaemia therapy

Current cancer researchA new target for treating aggressive brain tumours has been discovered by researchers at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR), and better still, a therapy for this target is already in the advanced stages of development.

Originally, the protein EphA3 was discovered in 1992 for its role in promoting Leukaemia cancer cells. This finding was made by Professor Andrew Boyd at QIMR, and clinical trials have since commenced to test a treatment which targets that particular cancer cell activity.

Now, years later, Professor Andrew Boyd together with Dr Bryan Day have found the same protein is implicated in up to 50% of cases of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), particularly in the most aggressive cases.

“This protein is something we can directly target with a treatment we’ve already developed,” said Dr Day.

“It’s early days, but we know cells which express the protein EphA3 can be eradicated in the laboratory with this treatment, so it’s very encouraging.” Continue reading “Aggressive brain tumours to be newly targeted with Leukaemia therapy”

New drug could boost brain cancer survival

Melanoma discovery at Westmead Institute for Cancer ResearchAustralian researchers have reported promising results from a new drug which could help prolong the life of people diagnosed with one of the most deadly forms of brain cancer.

Until now, patients with advanced melanoma that has spread to the brain have received a dire diagnosis. They survive only for an average of four months.

But cancer researchers at the University of Sydney, Melanoma Institute Australia, Sydney’s Westmead Hospital and the ACRF-funded Westmead Millennium Institute, have for the first time found a drug which shrinks brain tumours in these patients with advanced melanoma.

Dr Georgina Long of the University of Sydney said the drug, called Dabrafenib, works by targeting a gene mutation found in many melanoma cancers. The drug works by causing the cell to stop multiplying and in many cases it shrinks and disappears. Continue reading “New drug could boost brain cancer survival”

World's first stem cell screening facility to target brain tumours

More effective treatments for brain cancer will be developed at a tumour-cell testing facility opened today (Wednesday, March 5) at The University of Queensland’s Queensland Brain Institute (QBI).

Funded by a $1.14 million grant from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF), the ACRF Brain Tumour Research Centre was officially opened by Queensland Minister for Health, The Hon. Stephen Robertson, MP.

University of Queensland’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Greenfield, AO, thanked the ACRF for its $1.14 million donation establishing the centre, acknowledging the Foundation’s almost $8 million in individual grants to University research since 1995.

“The QBI, formed as part of the Queensland Government’s Smart State Initiative and building on a long history of neuroscience at The University of Queensland, is the ideal location for this world-first centre” Professor Greenfield said.

Continue reading “World's first stem cell screening facility to target brain tumours”