The Children’s Cancer Institute Ladies’ Committee has been awarded an Australia Day Community Service Award by Randwick City Council, an award that recognises the local community’s quiet achievers.
In the 1970s and 80s, cure rates for childhood cancer were low. The Ladies’ Committee, founded in 1977, provided a support group for mothers who’d lost a child to cancer and raised money to support scientific research.
Jack and Annette Kasses’s daughter was diagnosed with leukaemia in 1975 and treated at the Prince of Wales Children’s Hospital (now Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick). When Jack and Annette realised how little childhood cancer research was being conducted in Australia, they were determined to do something about it.
The Ladies’ Committee, with Annette Kasses a founding member, formed part of a fund-raising effort which led to Children’s Cancer Institute building and opening research labs in 1984 . It has supported children’s cancer research ever since. Committee members are a diverse bunch – from 9-90 years old and from a range of backgrounds and cultures. There are over 30 members, with four of the original members still involved today.
In its 40 years so far, the committee has raised over $1M to purchase much-needed research equipment. In the past eight years, they’ve funded over 30 pieces of lab equipment to support our research.
The Committee meets monthly to organise an amazing variety of fundraising activities. Events last year included a sausage sizzle, a fashion parade, a spring fair and a family bowling night.
With this Community Service Award, Randwick City Council in Sydney’s eastern suburbs has rewarded these women’s hard work and dedication. While a local award, the research the Committee supports is national. Children and families all over Australia benefit from their countless hours of voluntary work, and every dollar they raise goes to research.
Since the Committee’s inception, the survival rate for children with cancer has risen to 80%, due largely to research. While greatly encouraged by this, they recognise more needs to be done. Their enthusiasm and commitment is inspiring to those affected by childhood cancer and to our researchers working to find a cure.
Community support for childhood cancer research
We rely on community support to do our research. Every dollar we receive from government and granting bodies to support direct research costs must be matched with a dollar raised by the community through partnerships, donations and fundraising to cover the indirect costs of our work.
We truly value the ongoing, long-term support of the Ladies’ Committee, as well as the support of many other organisations and individuals who make our work possible.
Top image: Ladies’ Committee representatives show their certificates at the Australia Day ceremony with Mayor, Noel D’Souza (Photo supplied by Randwick City Council)