As the sun rose over Sydney Harbour, creating the most spectacular sight, the remarkable team at the Park Hyatt Sydney were hard at work setting the tone for another CRBF pre-Mother’s Day breakfast. The Park Hyatt Sydney has supported the work of CRBF for many years, and we remain so very grateful to Christine Haddad, Mary-Ann Gichaga for overseeing yet another flawless event.
Floral arrangements generously supplied by The Lynch family, and The Little Fresh Group, crowned the superbly styled tables with cream roses and carefully chosen greenery crafted into bouquets in tall glass vases.
Bottles of Taylors sparkling wine lined marble plinths, and together with sage and lavender candles from Glasshouse, and chocolates from Lindt, formed the beautiful take home gift bags for our guests.
Cooper’s Sydney Grammar School friends, the incredible Jarrad Sapsford and Marc Chami provided their very special brand of musical performances as the guests arrived, for the fifth year of this event. I doubt we can ever thank these outstanding young men enough for doing what they do year after year, despite moving on with the fabulous lives that await them.
Melissa Hoyer was MC once more, and how fortunate are we that she was? Melissa has put her hand up for several years now, to help us out in arguably one of the most pivotal roles of this event. She is as professional as she is genuine – a rare commodity. As an aside, it is always the sign of a consummate professional who can step up to the challenge despite the absence of their notes (in no way her doing). We thank you from the bottom of our hearts Melissa for all you do for sarcoma in Australia.
Gretel Killeen, is a force of nature, and someone we regard very highly at CRBF. Once more, we were so fortunate her intense professional schedule enabled us to have her take the stage with pre eminent immigration law specialist the truly inspiring Carina Ford whose body of work with challenging immigration cases speaks for itself. Carina and Gretel spoke to our guests about a current case she is handling for a young sarcoma family. This case is emblematic of the special needs our patients and families face daily. It also impresses the fact that there are layers of the unexpected in a sarcoma diagnosis. We are deeply indebted to both Gretel and Carina for this beautifully structured, and extremely informative segment.
CRBF’s Mitchell Rice-Brading proved his adaptability by stepping up to cohost, and to bring levity to an otherwise very serious topic, in several roles throughout the morning. This was despite seriously compromising his inheritance by his very humorous but deeply unfounded recounts of his and his little brother’s upbringing in front of a television watching The Bold and the Beautiful reruns with his mother… Mitch is an integral part of our community at CRBF, and is proving repeatedly that psychology may not be his only calling.
Scientific power couple, Professor(s) David Thomas and Mandy Ballinger joined Mitch Rice-Brading for a “fireside chat” about the IL23 clinical trial preliminary results, and the remarkable findings from the ISKS (International Sarcoma Kindred Study). They also spoke of the imminent hope for the future surrounding sarcoma proving once and for all, the dial is finally moving. The Foundation’s association with Prof Thomas and Prof Ballinger spans back to when Cooper was treated by Prof Thomas in 2017. Cooper went on record to articulate his confidence and appreciation in not only their work, but the great sense of empathy and humanity both Mandy and David display to those who cross their paths.
The entertainment for the morning was provided by the exceptional Carly-Ann Evans and the extraordinary Daniel Tambasco. You could hear a pin drop when they performed. The recitals of The Prayer, and Ave Maria, simply defied words. Both performances were flawless and added dimensions to the event that cannot be adequately described. Please contact CRBF should you wish to engage the services of this highly professional and uber-talented duo, who selflessly lent their time and passion to this event.
This year, we highlighted an outstanding group of contributors who together have amassed over $600,000 over the past six months for sarcoma services in Australia. GWS netball star Amy Parmenter and crowd favourite Molly Croft led the interview, outlining the remarkable work of The Tie Dye Project in raising $130,000 in a matter of months, and speaking as to why they do what they do – paying homage to not only Molly who is an osteosarcoma survivor, but also Amy’s mum Gillie who passed away in 2013.
We then heard from Rebecca Minty and her mother Mary Lou who redefine the word inspiring. Rebecca lost her precious son Zac to sarcoma in May of 2022, is facing her first Mother’s Day without her son. She and her family have created a lasting legacy to Zac with “Bricks and Smiles” which has been created in his memory. It is a programme to provide Lego to all children undergoing treatment. A significant portion of the $38,000 amassed was raised by Mary Lou with bi weekly cake stalls. Suffice to say this story warmed the hearts of all in the room.
The microphone was then handed to Patrick Nekkan from Swing for Sarcoma who recently lost his beautiful mum to sarcoma, and saw his best friend Ed Clark diagnosed with this cancer also. Swing for sarcoma, including Tim Telan and Dr Simon Danieletto is an outstanding team of young men all with an unusual connection to sarcoma, who have raised extraordinary funding and plan to do it all again in November of 2023. We are without words to thank them for their amazing contribution.
Next up were the team from Macquarie Bank. Mark Yam, a dear friend of Cooper’s from his Sydney Grammar School days, headed the discussion, and joined by Maddie Waites – although it could have been Georgia as they are twins. This trio assisted by Emma Pechan formed the committee for the Macquarie Bank trivia night, which was predicted to raise a very respectable $8000 yet the final figure was $173,000! We thank this team of exceptionally passionate young individuals, together with Deputy Managing Director of the Macquarie Group, Greg Ward – a man with a deep personal connection to Cooper, for their immense support of this event.
Finally we heard from the boys from Poor Man’s Everest – the brainchild of the most incredible trio of young men, Lachie Mactier, Angus Joyce and Hunter Hordern. This fundraiser was in honour of Jack Gibson, who was to also compete with the boys in the Noosa Triathlon. Against the most unimaginable of odds, the Poor Man’s Everest team together with their magnificent support group of Jack’s close friends, Will Gyles, Emma Duncan, Hugh Jamieson, Shiv Shaw, Tom Molloy and Dylan Boakes competed in this gruelling event raising the outstanding amount for the Jack Gibson Patient and Family Support Programme. It is important to point out Lachie ran a half marathon earlier in the year to add gravity to this fantastic fundraiser.
Finally, we heard from Suzie Carlon. Suzie is Jack Gibson’s mother, and yesterday, faced her first Mother’s Day without Jack. Suzie chose to focus on acknowledging those mothers who make the world a special place for those (mainly children) who are living with sarcoma. Suzie’s beautifully chosen words resonated deeply with all present in the room – not only those who personally recognise the pain she lives with daily. Suzie’s words embodied courage and deep seated resilience. Despite the fact her heart is broken in a thousand pieces, her words comforted so many. She reminded us all – we are never alone. We are each united by the unspeakable road we travel. Suzie went on to read Jack’s extraordinary speech from December 2021, where he spoke of “hope”. This speech was a moment that will always remain suspended in time to those fortunate enough to be present, and Suzie’s courage in delivering this speech once more, was a moment that every guest in the room yesterday, will never forget.
So with another Mother’s Day Breakfast done and dusted, we must finish by recognising those who make these events possible – our sponsors.
For the past five years, many of the following have supported sarcoma services in Australia, and we would ask in return, our community considering supporting them for their loyalty.
The Autore family and Autore Pearls
Ange Cattana, Justin Taylor, the Taylor family and Taylors Wines
Dr Warwick Nettle and Ms Nicole Eckels – Glasshouse Fragrances
The Lynch family, and The Little Fresh Group
The Somerton Group and the Dreverman family
Park Hyatt Sydney
Bells of Killcare
The Magiros Family and The Macleay Group
Phillip Fikkers and Macleay St Bistro
Zinc Restaurant Potts Point
The Butler, Potts Point
The Potts Point Bookshop
Finally, we could not do what we do without you, our loyal supporters. It truly takes a village….