15 August, 2012
In a ceremony held at Children's Cancer Institute Australia (CCIA) today, the Steven Walter Laboratory was proudly unveiled to a group of family, friends and colleagues who came together to honour the life of a brave and remarkable young man.
Steven Walter lost his eight year battle with cancer when he was just 19 years old, but made his wishes very clear: to raise money for research “so that no other kid will have to go through what I went through”.
His family listened and established the Steven Walter Children's Cancer Foundation (SWCCF) to raise funds for CCIA and Sydney Children's Hospital Randwick, a decision that was today recognised by Executive Director of CCIA, Professor Michelle Haber AM, as a “visionary and forward thinking step in strengthening the partnership and collaborative work between the two organisations”.
The Steven Walter Laboratory is headed by Professor Glenn Marshall, who was Steven's doctor and who has maintained his close relationship with the Walter's for more than 20 years, saying today that he “really feels like he's part of the family”.
The many hundreds of thousands of dollars donated to CCIA by the SWCCF over the years has helped fund the ground breaking Minimal Residual Disease Testing (MRD) jointly developed by Professors Haber, Marshall and Murray Norris, which has resulted in a tangible outcome for patients suffering from the most common childhood cancer, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL), and significantly contributed to the improved overall ALL survival rate of well over 80 percent.
The opening of the Steven Walter Laboratory marks an important milestone in both the partnership between CCIA, Sydney Children's Hospital Randwick and the SWCCF and their shared goal to cure 100 percent of children with cancer and eliminate their suffering.