Barrie Littlefield with his daughter, Eloise
At each milestone, Cure Brain Cancer Foundation has been firmly front and centre. We’ve played a major part in:
establishment of the Senate Select Committee into Funding for Research into Low
Survival Cancers (with a heavy focus on brain cancer), brilliantly and
compassionately chaired by Senator Catryna Bilyk
- The subsequent creation of the Australian
Brain Cancer Mission - a Turnbull government-backed plan to double brain cancer survival by 2027. This is similar to Cure Brain Cancer Foundation’s mission: to increase brain cancer survival from 20% to 50% by 2023. So, if we meet our mission, they meet theirs. The Australian Brain Cancer Mission was spurred and nurtured by four years of our tireless awareness and advocacy work, together with Dustin Perry’s courageous ‘shout out’ to the Prime Minister on behalf of his beautiful daughter, Chloe
- The powerful increase in brain cancer awareness, most notably the alarming facts that brain cancer kills more Australian children than any other disease and more people under 40 than any other cancer
These milestones did not happen by chance. They are the result of many
people, over many years, working to shine a light on brain cancer in Australia
and overseas. Unfortunately, many of these people are now only with us in
spirit, including my beautiful daughter, Eloise.
Through this increasing impact, their legacy lives on.
As much as we might collectively feel like pausing for a long, deep
breath, the disturbing reality of brain cancer remains. It usually appears out
of nowhere, taking everyone by surprise, as most diagnoses are made in emergency
departments. Tumours like glioblastomas (GBMs) are smart, seemingly evading our
immune system and growing fast. We need to catch up, overtake, and get ahead of
this insidious disease.
While the pillars are now firmly in place in Australia, and great strides
are being made globally, we still have so much left to do. Even though there is
now a tangible, collective will emerging to dramatically increase brain cancer survival
and reduce the harm caused by treatment, we need to convert this into a
significant increase in survival. This is our measure of success.
In 2013, Cure Brain Cancer Foundation unveiled its new strategy and mission.
Many thought it too ambitious and questioned whether it could be done. With
survival rates barely improving in more than 30 years, how could we double
survival in just a decade?
We didn’t have the answer, and we still don’t, but we had to be bold, and our mission reflected that. To achieve it, we needed to rally the community behind it: researchers, clinicians, other foundations and governments. Naturally, we’ve made mistakes along the way, but we’ve learnt from them, and learnt fast. There was no ‘roadmap to success’ and no blueprint to follow, but setting a time-critical mission to increase survival to 50% drew a line in the sand. We stood up. We said, “Enough is enough! We will get this done, we must get this done, and we’ll give it everything we’ve got!” If we fail, then so be it, but we needed to try. Cure Brain Cancer Foundation became a beacon for change. The many children, teenagers and adults living with, and impacted by brain cancer, deserved no less.
In recent years we have played a massive part in bringing the brain
cancer community together. It is now a movement of hundreds of thousands of
dedicated, passionate Australians. The collective will of this community to
help fund, advocate, and volunteer, is what keeps us going. The desperate
plight of people impacted by brain cancer is what drives our determination to
But in many ways, the fight has only just begun. The government
acknowledgment and funding we now have must be turned into impact and
meaningful survival outcomes. The funds must be used efficiently and
effectively, in conjunction with collective, collaborative and above all, speedy decision-making. We must focus
on the most promising research, bring international clinical trials to
Australia, give every Australian living with brain cancer the opportunity to be
enrolled in a quality clinical trial, and catalyse new, effective treatments, ensuring
speedy, equitable access for everyone who needs them.
The Federal Government should be applauded for their $50 million of
extra funding for the Australian Brain
Cancer Mission. This will undoubtedly help. Hopefully now, the focus,
cooperation and collaboration of state governments will follow (we are working
on it!). But until we dramatically improve survival, reduce treatment harms,
and ultimately, find a cure, it is not nearly enough. The reality is funding from the community will continue to
be the most important factor in achieving the breakthroughs we so
Your donations, your fundraising and volunteering efforts, and your
advocacy and awareness-building remain critical to rapidly improving brain
cancer survival and ultimately finding a cure for this brutal disease. Now,
more than ever, we need your continued support.
Please come and celebrate the achievements of the powerful and passionate brain cancer community at our local gala dinner events:
- Brisbane Gala Dinner - Join us for an evening on exceptional entertainment, fine dining, and outstanding auction and raffle prizes at Brisbane City Hall on Saturday 11 August.
- Brainstorm for a Cure - Come and 'Party for HOPE' at Brainstorm for a Cure at AIS Arena on Saturday 8 September.
- Avant Garde - Immerse your senses in an evening of culinary exploration, unconventional couture and award-winning performance at Hordern Pavilion on Saturday 15 September.
- Walk4BrainCancer - Walk4BrainCancer is a series of walks taking awareness and funds for brain cancer research.
Share the growing spirit and love of the community and continue to spread the word about brain cancer. Tell your mates, inform you workplaces, and yes, twist some arms! We’re so grateful for everything you’ve done so far, but we still need your support to achieve our mission and make the future brighter for people living with brain cancer.
Head of Engagement,
Cure Brain Cancer Foundation