Salesforce for Sarcoma…

It all started with the CRBF Sarcoma Awareness Video…

Geovanna Pazmino, Lead Solution Engineer (Non-Profit)| Salesforce shared the video with colleagues who knew Celso and one of them, Jason Ghasson responded by asking what they could do to help?  After brainstorming a few ideas, they quickly realised that a target of raising $10,000 would be hard to achieve alone. This is where the group grew from 2 to 5 with Selin Ozdemir Hatcher, Lorenzo Demos ,and Judy Fang joining forces!

In a matter of days and with regular WhatsApp calls during lunch and after hours, the wheels were well in motion. Each of them reached out to different people in the organisation to get support and to encourage managers to spread the word in their team meetings. The response was immediate. People generously donated, with over $2,500 raised in the first few days. To amplify the message further, members of the engineering team created graphics for Zoom call backgrounds – just one of the many creative ideas used to drive awareness and raise funds as Sydney and Melbourne went into lockdown.

Many ideas were brainstormed (including possibly shaving someone’s head) and one that proved to be a great success was running 2 virtual exercise sessions: Zumba and Yoga. These sessions would help people stay active during the lockdown and keep their minds off of all of the crazy news that was going on.

How do we ever thank the team at Salesforce for their generosity of spirit?

First Nations Cultural Capability

We are delighted to welcome Kylie Tarleton to the CRBF team as Director – First Nations Cultural Cultural Capability..

Kylie is a proud Wiradjuri Woman from Orange in the Central West of NSW, who wears many hats .  Devoted wife, mother of two boys, one of her boys Cooper is a osteosarcoma survivor. Kylie spends her professional life Leading Aboriginal Education Strategy at TAFENSW and Kylie is also a renowned Aboriginal Aboriginal Artist. 

Kylie has agreed to oversee this fast growing and extremely important area within CRBF, to ensure we are delivering the best possible support and advocacy for our First Nations patients. 

If you or anyone you know could benefit from this service, please contact CRBF directly https://www.crbf.org.au/contact/

or by telephone 0412239020.

Redkite & Coles Dare to Dream Scholarships

Redkite and Coles  believe that cancer shouldn’t get in the way of achieving goals.

Do you know a teen who has or has had cancer?

If so, they could be eligible to receive up to $5,000 with a Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream Scholarship.

What is a Dare to Dream Scholarship?
Each year, Redkite and Coles offer scholarships of up to $5,000 to help teenagers who have had cancer achieve a goal that’s important to them, no matter how big or small.

Who is eligible?
Teenagers (13-18) who have or have had a cancer diagnosis at any time in their life.

How to apply
Applications are accepted via the Redkite website. Applications close 1 August 2021.

What can the scholarship be used for?
The scholarship can be used on anything that will help them achieve their goal, including laptops, courses, travel, instruments, wellbeing programs, equipment, coaching and more. Inspiration can be found here.

In 2013, Coles joined forces with Redkite, to support children and young people affected by cancer, and their families. During the last eight years, Coles has raised over $38 million to help thousands of Redkite families, enabling essential practical, financial, emotional and mental health support to be provided during their cancer experience.

The Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream Scholarship was established to inspire young people affected by cancer to achieve their goals and ambitions. This scholarship, funded by Coles, helps young people build their future. The possibilities that the Dare to Dream Scholarship creates for young Australians are life-changing.

Together, Redkite and Coles have awarded 294 scholarships since 2013 worth over $651,350.

STRASS 2 clinical trial receives MRFF funding

Eminent specialist surgical oncologist Associate Professor David Gyorki, together with Associate Professor Anne Hamilton, and colleagues from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital led by Associate Professor Peter Grimison, Princess Alexandra Hospital led by Professor Andrew Barbour collaborating with the national scientific body for sarcoma, ANZSA, have received a sizeable grant from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) under the Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need (RCRDUN) scheme.

The grant is to run the international trial in Australia – “A randomised phase III study of neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by surgery versus surgery alone for patients with High Risk RetroPeritoneal Sarcoma (STRASS 2)”.

“Eligible Australian patients with retroperitoneal sarcoma at high risk of recurrence will be able to participate in this randomised controlled trial designed to answer the question of whether preoperative chemotherapy improves outcome for patients. The current standard of care for these patients is surgery alone. However, the risk of recurrence for many of them is 50% or higher.

The purpose of the STRASS 2 trial is to determine whether the administration of chemotherapy before surgery represents a better treatment compared to surgery alone and if the administration of chemotherapy before surgery is safe. It is also to assess whether specific chemotherapy can be used to reduce recurrence risk in a patient with either high-grade leiomyosarcoma or high-grade dedifferentiated liposarcoma. 

It is the first time a trial has studied the role of preoperative chemotherapy specifically in patients with retroperitoneal sarcoma, an anatomical location with unique challenges and disease patterns.” (ANZSA, July 2021)

The trial, led by the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) has participation from Europe, Canada, USA and now Australia.

“With aims to recruit 40 Australian patients, the STRASS 2 trial will open at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (VIC) as the lead site, with A/Prof Hamilton as the lead oncologist on the trial. The trial will also open at Royal Prince Alfred/Chris O’Brien Lifehouse (NSW) and at the Princess Alexandra Hospital (QLD).

About clinical trial

Please speak to your treating team about this clinical trial to see if you are eligible for it.

Remember that participation in a clinical trial is voluntary and that you should never feel forced to participate in it.

Before you agree to participate in a clinical trial, it is important to be as informed as possible. It can be helpful to write down questions you have before seeing your doctor.” (ANZSA, July 2021)

Please refer to the ANZSA website for further information by pressing the link below

https://sarcoma.org.au/news/news/successful-mrff-grant-for-strass-2-trial

Let’s talk “more” about sarcoma


Take 45 minutes out of your day to put your EarPods in, and listen to our latest Podcast, Let’s Talk More About Sarcoma, a collaboration between Sock it to sarcoma! and CRBF.

It may save your life or that of someone that you love.

In this episode we are delighted to have Dr Richard Boyle, eminent sarcoma surgeon, & the Head of NSW Bone & Soft Tissue Sarcoma Unit at RPAH, Dr Michela Sorensen, Dr Michela Sorensen, Medical Practitioner who has not only seen sarcoma in her practice, but has also suffered the unspeakable loss of a family member, and finally Merryn Aldridge, who worked as a physiotherapist for the Australian Athletic Team at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and once again has encountered sarcoma through her practice. This highly credentialed trio speak about the importance of symptom recognition, your rights as a patient, and the importance of timely referral to a sarcoma specialist.

An enormous thank you to Cathrine Mahoney & Darcy Milne, the stellar team behind this podcast series for the second season. Suffice to say without their professionalism and willingness to assist us with this very important project, this production would not be possible.

To listen, please press on the link below:

https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/lets-talk-more-about-sarcoma/id1521584488?i=1000527963130

Zero Children’s Cancer research grant


To mark the commencement of Global Sarcoma Awareness Month, it is our great pleasure to announce the “Wipfli Family Sarcoma Research Grant”, a $186,799 grant, made possible by the family’s incredible efforts throughout Celebrity Apprentice Australia.  But it doesn’t end there – joining with us is The Kids Cancer Project who have stepped in and doubled the grant.

All in all, $373,597 will be heading towards sarcoma specific research under the auspices of  the Children’s Cancer Institute of Australia  and the Zero Childhood Cancer Phosphoproteomic Study!

The study will be led by Dr Emmy Fleuren, the sarcoma research lead in the Translational Tumour Biology Group at the CCIA. Emmy is leading the way in the paediatric and adolescent space in Australia, and the future of sarcoma is all the better from having her expertise.

We need not remind you of the efforts of Wippa and Lisa to facilitate the money raised throughout Celebrity Apprentice.  They are an incredibly special family, and their efforts to grow Cooper’s legacy is inspirational.

The Kids Cancer Project, with a special mention to CEO Owen Finegan, have supported high level paediatric, adolescent and young adult cancer research in Australia for almost three decades.  Their commitment to funding research projects for all childhood cancers is as humbling as it is life-changing for those young patients who stand to benefit.

We extend our deepest gratitude to each of these outstanding contributors to sarcoma research in Australia.

Head to the Children’s Cancer Institute social media accounts to read more about the research!

July Sarcoma Awareness Month

What is the need for Sarcoma Awareness Month? 

Sarcoma is still considered to be the forgotten/neglected cancer, despite the AIHW predicting again in 2021 it would be the leading cause of cancer related death in the 10-24 year age group in Australia.

Efforts to fund research and drug development for sarcoma are more challenging due to a lack of awareness and understanding. It is difficult to raise funds for research if the community don’t know the nature of the cancer, or even worse, they have never even heard of it. 

During the 2021 Global Sarcoma Awareness Month, we aim to further highlight:
⁃ The critical need for early diagnosis,
⁃ Symptoms and ‘red flags’ to be aware of,
⁃ When you should see your medical professional, 
⁃ Your rights as a patient, and 
⁃ The need for timely referral to a specialist clinician/team.

It is also a month when we acknowledge those patients living with a sarcoma diagnosis and ongoing treatment, and those who have completed treatment and resumed their lives. And of course, remember those who tragically lost their lives to this insidious cancer.

We team once again with our colleagues from across the Nullabor, @sockittosarcoma to produce the national awareness campaign, which will include a powerful video, and our podcast season 2 – Let’s Talk More About Sarcoma.

We’d like to thank patients Mika, Margaret, Celso and Jack, along with experts Dr Antoinette Anazodo and Sarcoma Nurse Katie Thomson, for helping to create this moving yet informative piece.

We wish to thank the amazing team @by_enthral – in particular Jordan Laing & Emma Robertson for their creative direction, and for donating their time and all agency costs involved for the video. This meaningful production would not have been possible without their generosity. 

We also extend our gratitude to @cathrinemahoney and @darcymilneee for their outstanding work once more on the podcast for the second year running.

Help us this July, in spreading awareness about sarcoma, to help end the needless loss of lives. 

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