1975 for some of us is notable for political events like the Whitlam dismissal or the end of the Vietnam War. But for dads Jack Kasses and John Lough, 1975 was terrible for reasons much closer to home.
Their daughter and son, respectively, were diagnosed with cancer and the outlook was bad. Sitting with their families in the hospital waiting room, they decided the limited treatment options available were not good enough.
Through Apex, they started a fundraising campaign for medical research into children’s cancer treatments. The funds they raised, more than $5.9M in today’s money, led to the formation the Children’s Leukaemia and Cancer Foundation, now Children’s Cancer Institute with its own laboratories and over 200 staff.
Medical research has made a massive difference to childhood cancer treatment in the intervening decades. Once a death sentence, now the overall survival rate is above 80%. But some cancers still have very low survival rates so our work is not done yet.
Dads (and mums and families and friends) still play a huge role in our work – guiding our research, raising funds, speaking at community events and more.