Surprise funding boost for child cancer scientists

Adene Cassidy

Scientists at the Children's Cancer Institute in Sydney have received a surprise funding boost - not from the government, but from charity groups and parents who have lost children to a devastating form of cancer.

A cheque for just under $190,000 was a surprise gift for the Children's Cancer Institute, which is trying to find a cure for a deadly illness.

The funding could help researchs trial drugs aimed at curing the deadly disease. Photo: 7 News

When Ren Pedersen's nine-year-old daughter Amy died from a brain stem tumour, he started an Australian branch of the fundraising charity The Cure Starts Now.

"Paediatric brain tumours remove more kids from our population than any other illness," he said.

"I lost a daughter in 2009 after being told she would only survive a matter of weeks.

"This is unacceptable."

With little government funding for research into this childhood cancer, Ren, along with the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, set to work raising desperately needed money.

They held a number of fundraisers from pub chook raffles right through to corporate events and gold days.

For the scientists at the Children's Cancer Institute, the extra funding will allow them to test new drugs to stop brain stem tumours.

Funding is often in short supply for the research teams. Photo: 7 News

"We have identified a number of drugs and we really hope to be able to take them to the clinic as soon as possible," Maria Tsoli from the Children's Cancer Institute told 7 News.

And for parents, who have been given the unimaginable diagnosis about their child, Ren Pedersen has this message.

"Understand that there's people working behind the scenes tirelessly for their kids.

"For the first time ever, there's hope."

You can donate to the cause at The Cure Starts Now website or the website for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.

Morning news break – October 23