The 2018 Live for Lily Butterfly Ball was held on 16 June in Melbourne’s Palladium at Crown. It was a fantastic evening and a huge success, raising much-needed funds to support our research.

The Live for Lily Foundation honours a little girl called Lily Hester. In July 2013, 8-year-old Lily was diagnosed with an extremely rare liver cancer. She endured over 6 months of chemotherapy, 6 operations, radiation, scans and many, many hospital visits. In January 2014, Lily went into remission, however, after a scan in March 2014, her family was told the most devastating news of their lives – their daughter was terminally ill. Lily sadly passed away on the 11th of August 2014.

Lily Hester, wearing a head scarf, smiles
Lily Hester

Lily was extremely brave and an inspiration to everyone, each and every day – she still is. The hope of the Foundation is to find a cure for childhood cancer so no child or parent has to endure what Lily and the Hesters did. Live for Lily raises awareness and funds that go directly towards research dedicated to finding a cure for childhood cancers.

The 2018 Butterfly Ball

This was the third Butterfly Ball. Sponsored by Airport Toyota, the event gets bigger and better each year, and the atmosphere and feeling from the more than 600 guests and volunteers was amazing. Everyone enjoyed themselves, surrounded by close friends, family and work colleagues, all there to support the mission to cure childhood cancer.

The venue decorated in purple
The venue

In his speech, the Foundation’s co-founder, Aaron Hester, highlighted the Foundation’s sole purpose of raising money for child cancer research, noting that it’s raised more money this year than in all previous years combined. This includes funds raised by the annual bike ride, Ride for Lily, which this year travelled to Uluru. No one involved in the Live for Lily Foundation is paid, and the very committed team of volunteers works tirelessly to ensure every dollar donated makes its way into childhood cancer research.

Aaron then had the pleasure of handing a cheque for $300,000 to Professor Murray Norris AM, our Deputy Director. This brings the total now donated by Live for Lily to Children’s Cancer Institute to $500,000 in just 2 years. This is an outstanding achievement and was an extremely proud moment for everyone involved in the Foundation.

Aaron Hester (left) hands a cheque to Professor Murray Norris
Aaron Hester (left) hands a cheque to Professor Murray Norris

After a beautiful dinner, Professor Norris spoke of the advances being made in childhood cancer research over the past 30 years, including the launch of the ground-breaking Zero Childhood Cancer program in September last year. This national personalised medicine program, led by Children’s Cancer Institute and The Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick, is the largest single initiative ever undertaken for children with cancer in Australia, and one which the Live for Lily Foundation is funding directly.

Zero Childhood Cancer means that children with the most aggressive or relapsed cancer will have their tumour samples sent to the Institute’s labs, where researchers will identify treatments with the greatest likelihood of being effective against each child’s individual cancer, to give each child the best chance of survival, with the fewest side effects.

No stopping yet

Whilst this new research is giving hope to many children and their families, it’s not a cure, and much more needs to be done. Nearly 3 children are still dying from cancer each week. Live for Lily is determined to reduce this number, by raising as much money as it can for research from their annual Butterfly Ball and Ride for Lily fundraising events.

The grand total raised by this year’s Butterfly Ball was $137,302.20. This is a magnificent effort and couldn’t have been achieved without the generosity of supporters.  But no one at Live for Lily is resting on their laurels. During the evening, Aaron launched 2019 Ride for Lily – Tour of Tassie, which will take place in Tasmania from the 7th to 13th of April next year.

If you’re up for the challenge, registration is now open.

Top image: a fantastic night was had by all



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