The Hon. Martin Dixon MP, Minister for Education
It is my great pleasure to support the Isabella and Marcus Fund and I am honoured to be named as patron. As Minister for Education, and more importantly as a father and grandfather, I consider the health and wellbeing of Victoria’s young people a top priority. The brainstem tumour known as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) is most common among primary-school aged children and sadly remains one of the most severe and incurable cancers. That is why the fund’s vision to work towards a cure has my full support. I commend the fund for its extraordinary efforts to support much needed research into DIPG and to raise the profile of the disease in Victoria’s primary schools, and beyond. The death of a child is an unimaginable tragedy for any family. Combating this disease will require sustained work across a number of fronts, and it will require us to work together. I commend the families of Isabella and Marcus for leading the way. The memory of these children is honoured through the work of the fund and through the contributions we make to this highly important cause.
My early childhood seems so long ago now. My life was ahead of me and my personality and aspirations were developing. It’s hard to imagine it suddenly being taken away. A diagnosis of DIPG puts an end to any dreams and potential a young child may have. It doesn’t have to be this way. Developing an understanding of this cancer through research is the key. Isabella and I attended the same primary school; she was a part of the community that I grew up in. I feel a sense of sadness that her dreams will never be fulfilled. I encourage you to join me in supporting the Isabella and Marcus Fund. Every child deserves a chance at life.
Miette means “Sweet Little Crumb” in French. Like Isabella and Marcus, she was diagnosed with DIPG when she was 5 years old. She remains an inspiration to us because she chose to fundraise for the Isabella and Marcus Fund so that children like her, will one day have access to treatment.
Miette created beautiful hair accessories, including clips and bands and sold them online via her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Sweet.Little.Crumb. She donated 50% of her proceeds to the charity. Thank-you Miette.
In honour of Miette, we established a scholarship fund in her name: 'The Miette Skiller Scholarship Fund' which will provide for PhD scholarships to research DIPG
To friends in the community
Though I now spend most of my time as a faculty member at the University of Melbourne School of Medicine, I still have some research activity ongoing at St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where I worked full-time for many years prior to returning to Australia. St Jude is a leading pediatric cancer hospital and research institute that, apart from competititve grant funding, attracts more than $US 500 million a year in philanthropic donations. That extraordinary public largess contributes massively to the quality of both the clincial and invesigative programs within this intellectually outstanding, caring institution.
Along with our own excellent and recently rejuvenated Royal Children's Hospital, St Jude is a member of the global Children's Oncology Group. What is discovered here, and what is found at St Jude, is shared across our small world to feed ulitmately into the diagnostic and therapeutic approaches that help catastrophically ill children. That is why I give my enthusustic and unqualified support to the Isabella and Marcus Pediatric Brainstem Tumour Fund that will be used to provide an Endowed Chair and associated research laboratory in Pediatric Oncology at the University of Melbourne. There could be no better target for your benevolence than to support an activity that will help very sick children.View letter
Peter C. Doherty AC, FAA, FRS
Nobel Laureate for Medicine
Thank-you for meeting with me to explain the reasons why you are both so passionate about raising funds to endow a Professorship in Paediatric Neurological Cancer Research at the University of Melbourne and the Royal Children's Hospital.
Your visit brought home to me what a precious gift we have in our children and grandchildren. Your journey with Isabella through her illness and subsequent death is one filled with love and tinged with the tragedy of having to standby when all avenues of treatment fail to halt the progress of a tumour. When this happens to one so young as Isabella, one is left with the memories of her life with you and the unfulfilled dreams of what her life could have been.
It is only through research that, with time, treatments can be found that will prevent other familes having to endure the sadness that you have experienced. I congratulate you on your commitment to raise money, together with the family of Marcus who died from a similar tumour, to enhance the research effort that is needed.
I commend your appeal to the community and to your friends to assist your efforts in raising the money to ensure that other families can be spared the challenges that you have faced.
Professor David de Kretser AC
Dr Charlie Teo
It gives me great pleasure to offer my support and congratulations to the IAMPBTF. Brainstem tumours in children account for a significant percentage of all primary tumours found in the brain. Given that many of these are diffuse and truly inoperable, they are responsible for a much higher percentage of deaths from brain tumours than any other type. Even some of the focal brainstem gliomas, despite radical surgery, result in early death following diagnosis. Research into this deadly disease is sparse and poorly funded. I endorse any charity that has identified brain cancer research as desperately needing funds. Specifically, diffuse pontine gliomas, are often neglected by scientists even when they are studying brain cancer. There are several reasons for this but the 2 important ones are the often nihilistic or pessimistic attitude associated with such a terrible disease and secondly, we as neurosurgeons don’t usually provide our researchers with tissue with which to study the genetic codes, molecular make-up etc. The diagnosis is made on the MRI characteristics of the tumour.
The families of Isabella and Marcus need to be congratulated on their efforts and I support them 100%.
Charlie Teo AM
Conjoint Assoc. Professor UNSW
Director; Centre for Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery
Founder of Cure Brain Cancer Foundation
Luke Donnellan MP, State Member of Parliament
As a father of two young sons, I empathise with the loss of a child to cancer. Too many children tragically die from brain tumours in Australia every year and few people realise that it is the leading cause of cancer deaths for children in this country. There is no cure for DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma) and this in an untenable situation. Research drives treatment and currently research into brainstem tumours is limited, so the work of The Isabella and Marcus Fund is vital. The Charity’s mission is to establish a permanent laboratory in the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, to study this disease and develop treatments. I am pleased to be a supporter of the Isabella and Marcus Fund.
My family is the most important thing to me. I cannot imagine life without them. In Australia each year, families have to deal with the diagnosis of a brainstem tumour in their young child. Particularly devastating is a diagnosis of DIPG, which is incurable. What is hard to accept is that there is no medicine that can save their child’s life or at least provide some hope for a cure. Radiotherapy may give them precious months but the tumour will eventually grow back and continue to grow unabated until they die. I support the Isabella and Marcus Fund in their endeavour to provide for a laboratory to research brainstem tumours and develop treatments, so that one day children are offered a chance at a full life, in the same way that many other paediatric cancers that were once considered incurable are now treatable.
Letters of Support
University of Melbourne, Australia
Australia's leading Clinical, Pre-clinical and Health University and ranked 18th worldwide by the 2010 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The goal of the Fund is to establish an Endowed Chair to support a Professorial Fellow who will lead brainstem tumour research in Australia. An endowment will fund the position in perpetuity until there is a cure. In pursuit of this goal an in-principle agreement has been established with the University of Melbourne, backed by the Royal Children’s Hospital.
The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) is a state of the art cancer treatment and research centre currently in development in Melbourne, Australia and scheduled for completion in 2015. CCC’s are centres of excellence that foster synergy by bringing together the finest researchers and clinicians within world class facilities and the best environment to research poorly understood cancers such as DIPG.
The VCCC will form an alliance between the Peter MacCallam Cancer Centre, Melbourne Health, the Royal Children’s, Women’s and St Vincent’s hospitals, the University of Melbourne and the Walter and Elisa Hall Institute. This 1 billion dollar centre is jointly funded by commonwealth and state governments.
Dr Kate Drummond & Professor Andrew Kaye
Dr Kate Drummond is a neurosurgeon at The Royal Melbourne Hospital and Senior Lecturer at the University of Melbourne. She is the Head of the Central Nervous System tumour stream of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre. To view her biography, click here.
Professor Andrew Kaye is a renowned neurosurgeon and educator. He is the Director of Neurosurgery, Royal Melbourne Hospital and Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Melbourne. Click here for more...
As a father of 2 children aged 5 and 7, I am particularly saddened by the fact that young lives can be cut short, so suddenly, with no hope of survival.
Through organisations like the Isabella and Marcus Fund, born out of such tragedy, we can hope that in the future a diagnosis of DIPG is not terminal. Research into the prevention of such deadly diseases is costly, but this cost is insignificant when compared to the lives of children.
Harvey Norman, Springvale
Directors Bruce Kaider and Andrew Bogut support The Isabella and Marcus Fund by utilising their resources to promote awareness of DIPG and the charity.
Peninsula Training Zone owners Sonia De Rose and Chris Santas are long-term supporters and also host an annual Ball with proceeds going to the charity.
Each of our agents have families and we could not imagine losing a young one or the inexplicable grief it causes. Here at Glen Ross Properties, we are proud to support the Isabella and Marcus Fund and their research for a cure of this devastating cancer. We have chosen the fund as our office charity and plan on making this a long term relationship so we can continue to raise awareness throughout our local community.
As there is nothing more precious in the world than the life and safety of our children and loved ones, Berserk Apps are honored to be associated with and supporting the Isabella and Marcus Fund to assist in raising funds for research into paediatric brainstem tumors treatment and cure. We encourage everyone to support this worthy cause.
Fuji Xerox Australia's Victroia Branch has selected the Isabella and Marcus Fund as their 'Charity of Choice' for 2012. We thank FXA sincerely and look forward to a long and rewarding relationship
Individuals and companies
We wish to thank the following individuals and companies for graciously providing their skills and services in support of the fund:
- Julian Carson & Amanda Robertson – website design and development
- Tania Boron - for designing the logo for the fund
- Haviz Bakry – IT consultant, Harv PC Solutions,
- Wojo Signs Pty Ltd – Supply of t-shirts for Melbourne Marathon
- Blazeart – Printing on t-shirts for Melbourne Marathon
- Joao Garcia – Graphic Design and printing
- Camten Graphics - Printing (flyers, letterhead and envelopes)
- Modica Travel Service Pty Ltd
- Cut Price Kitchens
- Adidas - Contributor, ladies morning tea 2011
Thank you for taking the time to visit the website and sharing the vision of what the Isabella and Marcus Fund is out to achieve. This is the beginning of many positive years of raising much needed awareness into the plight of children diagnosed with brainstem tumours and we thank you sincerely.
Peter Doherty receiving the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1996 from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden
Click logo's to view letters of support