CRBF Mother’s Day Breakfast 2024

Amidst a week of incessant rain in Sydney, the 10th of May dawned with a spectacular sunrise, setting the stage for the annual CRBF Mother’s Day Breakfast held at the prestigious Park Hyatt Sydney. Despite facing several challenges with technical issues and roadworks adjacent to the hotel, the event eventually unfolded.

The day kicked off with Mitch O’Connor from Qantumhaus and his partner Stef Moss arriving just as setup began, equipped with video cameras and cameras to capture every moment of the event. Mitch has been an integral part of CRBF for the past year, and we owe a debt of gratitude to him and Stef for their professionalism and easygoing nature. Their dedication to documenting the event ensures that every precious moment was preserved.

Despite the setbacks, the guests displayed remarkable patience and understanding throughout.  Their unwavering support and cooperative spirit were instrumental in keeping the event atmosphere positive and uplifting.

Our host, Melissa Hoyer, graced the stage with her unparalleled professionalism and excellent reputation as a TV and radio commentator. With her grounded demeanour and warm welcome, Melissa effortlessly guided the event back on course, setting the perfect tone for the occasion. Melissa’s presence is indispensable for gatherings like this, as she embodies the spirit of readiness, always willing to roll up her sleeves and dive headlong into any task to ensure the event’s success. Her dedication and versatility make her the perfect choice for any occasion.

The melodies that filled the air as our guests arrived were courtesy of the exceptional talents of Jarrad Sapsford and Dr. Marc Chami. These two remarkable young musicians have been integral to the event since its inception, adding a touch of musical magic that captivates the hearts of all who attend. Their musical prowess and dedication to enhancing the atmosphere have become synonymous with the CRBF Mother’s Day Breakfast, enriching the experience for guests year after year.  Both Jarrad and Marc share a special connection with the event, having attended Sydney Grammar with Cooper, further strengthening the bond between the performers and the cause. Their parents’ unwavering support for the function each year is a testament to the collective commitment to making a difference.

The Park Hyatt Sydney team, whose meticulous attention to detail and unwavering commitment ensured the success of the event. Special thanks are due to Christine Haddad, Aoife Burns, Sophie, and Can for their outstanding contributions behind the scenes. Their dedication and expertise were instrumental in orchestrating a memorable experience for all attendees.  The delectable catering options provided by the Park Hyatt Sydney team included assorted breakfast canapés and beverages were served with elegance and precision, delighting the taste buds of guests and adding an extra touch of sophistication to the occasion.

Additionally, we express our gratitude to Sarah Banks from Encore for her valuable assistance and support of the audio-visual elements for the event.

The ambiance of the Guest House at the Park Hyatt Sydney was transformed into a breathtaking display of elegance thanks to the generous contribution of cream roses by The Little Fresh Group and the Lynch family. The Lynch family’s steadfast support for the annual CRBF Mother’s Day Breakfast event and our appreciation for this gesture cannot be adequately articulated.

Each guest was treated to a beautiful gift bag, generously provided  by our sponsors.  The Sapphire Group, under the thoughtful leadership of Dr. Warwick Nettle and Ms. Nicole Eckels, graciously provided a Glasshouse Fragrances 380g candle, ensuring that every attendee could indulge in the exquisite scents of sophistication and elegance. Mrs. Angela Cattana, together with the Taylor family, continued their annual tradition of support by gifting each guest a 750ml bottle of Taylors Wines Sparkling Chardonnay, allowing them to raise a toast to the occasion with the finest of wines. And let’s not forget the stunning touch of nature provided by the talented Anthony Tang, Director of Mr. Flower Sydney, whose beautifully curated bouquet of roses added a touch of timeless beauty to the event. We extend our deepest gratitude to our generous sponsors for their unwavering support and contribution to making this event truly memorable.

The stage then belonged to Carly-Anne Evans and Michaela Leiske, who left the audience spellbound from the very first note. With flawless renditions of iconic pieces such as “When You Believe” from The Prince of Egypt and the ethereal “Duet du Fleurs” from Lakmé,  O’mio babbino caro – Puccini and Con te partiro – Francesco Sartori, they set the perfect tone for the morning’s proceedings, captivating hearts with their sublime vocals and emotional depth. Their mastery of the opera performed without microphones  truly left an indelible mark on all who were fortunate enough to witness their talent, ensuring that the evening would be remembered for years to come

Professor Michelle Haber AM, the highly respected  Director of the Children’s Cancer Institute of Australia, delivered a captivating keynote address that left a lasting impact on all attendees. With passion and expertise, Professor Haber illuminated the ground-breaking work of the Zero Children’s Cancer program, highlighting its tireless efforts to combat paediatric cancer and bring hope to countless families. Additionally, she shed light on the invaluable contributions of the sarcoma biobank program, a programme funded jointly by The Sutcliffe Family Sarcoma Research Fund and CRBF, emphasising its role in advancing research and treatment options for this challenging disease. Professor Haber’s insightful speech not only showcased her dedication to the cause but also inspired everyone present to join in the fight against childhood cancer.

Following a sumptuous breakfast, the focus shifted to a thought-provoking forum shining a spotlight on individuals living with a sarcoma diagnosis over 30, delving into the distinctive challenges they face. Carmen Scheffer, Anne Pantazis, and Edward Clark courageously shared their raw and unfiltered experiences with our guests. Hosted by the insightful Mitchell Rice-Brading, the forum provided a platform for candid discussions, fostering understanding and empathy among attendees. Their stories served as powerful reminders of resilience, strength, and the importance of support in navigating life with a sarcoma diagnosis, and in particular where children, partners and careers are also part of the equation. It was a truly impactful segment that left a lasting impression on those in the room.

Dr. Richard Boyle, Chair of the NSW Bone Tumour unit, took the stage to deliver an enthralling overview of the ground-breaking Sarcoma Australia Foundation of Excellence for surgical research into sarcoma. With passion and expertise, Dr. Boyle unveiled this innovative project, which promises to revolutionize sarcoma surgery in Australia. The Foundation’s vision is to establish a Sarcoma Surgical Research Centre that serves as a beacon of excellence, providing state-of-the-art education, research, and technological innovation to provide an innovative and cutting-edge approach to sarcoma surgery signifies a significant step forward in the fight against this challenging disease. Dr. Boyle’s riveting presentation left the audience inspired and hopeful for the future of sarcoma treatment and research in Australia.

As the event reached its lively conclusion, the tone was changed with  the roving microphone, and the antics of Mitch Rice-Brading. With no one safe from his engaging approach, he lifted the mood in the room by approaching unsuspecting guests, sparking laughter and camaraderie throughout. Among those caught up in the excitement were Carmen Scheffer and Kaela Bowman-Graham, both undergoing active treatment for sarcoma and coincidentally sharing birthdays just two days apart—Carmen’s falling on the day of the event and Kaela’s on the 12th of May.

In a heart-warming gesture, our talented opera singers took the stage once again, leading a stirring rendition of “Happy Birthday” to honour Carmen and Kaela, creating a truly unforgettable moment.  It was a touching reminder of the strength and resilience of these remarkable individuals, and a testament to the supportive community that surrounds them.

The raffle was drawn at 0845 with the winners notified on the Raffletix website and at the event.

1st Prize – Autore South Sea Pearl earrings with white diamond detail valued at $6500 generously donated by the Autore family

Winner:  Dr Maurice Guzman – NSW

2nd Prize  – A Mudgee luxury weekend getaway package generously provided  by Carm and Craig Robson, Thistle Hill Mudgee, the Dalton family, Robert Stein Winery and Vineyard, Olive a Twist, The Butcher Shop Café Mudgee, OzChoppers Mudgee, and Energy Healing Massage Mudgee valued at $3690

Winner –  Sally Veenboer  – Queensland

3rd Prize – Park Hyatt Sydney luxury overnight package generously donated by the Park Hyatt Sydney, Qantas, and Marquis by Waterford  valued at $2000

Winner- Cameron McLean – NSW

4th Prize  – Oroton Inez Luxury Leather goods Travel Package valued at $1078

Winner – Tracey Neaverson – NSW 

 Lucky door prize – 12 bottles of premium wines and a hair styling package generously donated by Kirsten Martensen-Arms and Laurent David Bowral. Valued at $650

Winner – Alex Pantazis – NSW 

Book buyers prize – $200 gift voucher for dinner/lunch at the iconic Macleay St Bistro, Potts Point.  Generously provided by Director, Phillip Fikkers

Winner -Naomi Chun – ACT 

We wish to thank our generous donors and sponsors .  Without your generosity this event would not be possible as all raffle prizes and gift bag contents are donated.

Autore Pearls

Taylors Wines

Glasshouse Fragrances

The Little Fresh Group

Mr Flower Sydney

The Park Hyatt Sydney

Secure Agility

Thistle Hill Mudgee

Macleay St Bistro

Kirsten Martensen-Arms

Laurent David

The Dalton family

 Robert Stein Winery and Vineyard

Olive a Twist

The Butcher Shop Café Mudgee

OzChoppers Mudgee

Energy Healing Massage Mudgee

We thank each of our guests for their patience with our technical hiccups, and for their love and support over many years, and for contributing  to the event in such a meaningful manner.

Special thanks to Carmen Scheffer for her outstanding work on the programme this year, whilst undergoing active treatment, together with Gloria Gapes, Dyan Comino and Runi Neilsen for their tireless help on the morning.

362 days until we do it all again.  We look forward to seeing you again in 2025!

Photo credits to Stef Moss from Visuals by Stef.

 

International Women’s Day 2024

My name is Kaela.

I am a Mother, nurse and veteran. I was first diagnosed with synovial sarcoma in February 2020. At that time, I had just finished working in oncology and thought I had a sports injury to my right thigh, however after multiple scans – it was made apparent it was much more serious. I heard those words ‘you have cancer’ … A very rare cancer at that, even as an oncology nurse it was one that I had never heard of. I was diagnosed with stage 3 Synovial Sarcoma.

I then had emergency surgery to remove the tumour that was almost wrapping around my femoral artery.

This was followed by :
Portacath insertion (surgery no2)
40 rounds of the harshest IV chemotherapy anyone can receive (ifosfomide and doxorubicin) – to which I suffered many complications, including grade 4 chemo toxicity, grade 3 mouth ulcers, pericardial effusion, myocardial effusion, febrile neutropenia requiring hospital admissions after all bar two chemotherapy rounds, extreme fatigue, and significant weight loss down to 47kgs.
2 months of radiation therapy 5 days a week (sustaining localised burns and fatigue) I was then “cancer free” for almost two years. I was monitored closely and alternated between a PET scan and CT scan every 3 months. I was on my last scan before they were going to stretch my scans to 6 monthly ….. when I relapsed with bilateral lung metastasis.

I then underwent:
Right side VATS surgery to remove the visible tumours with a wedge resection (surgery no3)
I commenced a different IV chemotherapy (gemcitabine and docetaxael) however this was unsuccessful as when I was scanned 3 months post op, my tumours were already back.


After these findings, I was told I am now inoperable and began an oral chemotherapy called Pazopanib (votrient) to which I take every single day. I heavily advocated for myself to have more surgery – just to try (especially given the genetic testing showed no clinical trials were a match). After pleading my case and advocating to my multidisciplinary team about wanting more surgery (given my healthcare knowledge really helped here) – I was told if I take pazopanib for 3 months and it keeps the tumours stable, that they would consider operating. My 3 monthly scans showed the pazopanib was effective, I begged for surgery once again and they listened. I then had:
Left side VATS surgery (surgery no4) to remove the sole tumour via a wedge resection.
Right side thoracotomy (surgery no5) with lower lobectomy (resulting in a 5 night ICU stay as my left lung collapsed and I required an extra drain for support).


Since then I have continued taking my oral chemo every day and will do until told otherwise. My last scan at the beginning of 2024 showed no evidence of disease. I now work as a nurse in the emergency department. One of my biggest passions is raising awareness for sarcoma. I also love educating about clinical situations relating to oncology and advocating, given my unique experience of being a cancer patient as well as an oncology nurse and now an emergency nurse – which is why I started my Instagram account called Sorareity, where people can hear about my story, education about sarcoma and oncology related conditions as well as finding a community they feel safe in.

The Dr Matthew Fisher Sarcoma Research Fund


Tuesday 27 February was a very special day for the friends and family of Dr Matthew Fisher, a day when Dr Maya Kansara from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research presented the preliminary findings of the IL23 sarcoma sub study at a hybrid  event attended by 110 international and local guests. 

It was particularly touching to have the Canberra Sarcoma MDT take time out of their busy schedules to attend the function, with Matt’s oncologist A/Professor Paul Craft attending in person and Ms Amber Wilson, the Sarcoma Specialist Nurse dialling in. 

The sarcoma research  fund bearing Matt’s name had significantly contributed to funding the IL23 trial through CRBF.

Matt was first and foremost a doting husband to wife Naomi,  and a much loved  father to Vivienne and Sylvie.  He was also  an avid sailor, a culinary expert, and a passionate and highly talented scientist working with the government agency, IP Australia.

It was Matt’s colleagues at IP Australia who arranged a GoFundMe page to raise funds for he and his family after his shock diagnosis with rhabdomyosarcoma..  Matt however was adamant this funds be directed to clinical research for sarcoma, and within a short space of time a remarkable $100k had been amassed by family, friends and his colleagues at IP Australia.  

This outstanding result included a $30k donation from the family and friends of Alex Rodham  who was diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma, and passed away one month after Matt,  Alex’s family from Bungendore, were determined to raise funds for others experiencing adversity in their community and to improve the lives of those living with sarcoma. The fund was also significantly supported by the Minty family from Canberra whose son Zac had also been diagnosed with sarcoma.  

As we continue to honour Matt’s legacy, let’s pledge to keep his passion alive and strive towards a future where sarcoma becomes a treatable cancer.   This incredible achievement is a beacon of hope for those living with this disease and a testament to the power of loved ones and an amazing community.

Matt’s family will continue to raise money for his fund when the opportunity arises. His parents recently topped up the fund to make it $100,000, and Naomi’s cousin, Louisa shaved her hair in October 2022 and raised almost $5000 for her efforts.

Special thanks to:

Dr Maya Kansara for the wonderful and insightful presentation.

Ms Kylie Bryant for the beautiful introduction and for her flawless work as MC for the event

Cassandra Mitchell and her team at IP Australia for event and venue organisation and Cassandra for closing the presentation

Senior Executives at IP Australia for supporting the event

IT and event support team at IP Australia

Associate Professor Paul Craft and Ms Amber Wilson from the Sarcoma MDT, The Canberra Hospital

The Minty family from Bricks and Smiles, The Zac Minty Legacy Project

Dr Mariana Sousa

Matt and Naomi‘s family, friends and colleagues, some travelling from interstate

International Childhood Cancer Day 2024

International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) 2024Awareness around childhood cancer is never limited to one day, however on this day each year, we pause to recognise the needs and challenges of young cancer patients & survivors worldwide.  It is also a day where we honour the cherished memories of those whose lives have been lost.  

Approx 40,000 children/adolescents worldwide are diagnosed with cancer each year, & 1000 of these are Australian.  Concerningly, three of these children will lose their lives weekly to cancer.   Despite significant advancements in medical research & treatment options, young cancer patients still face immense challenges & the impact extends far beyond those diagnosed.

ICCD serves as a poignant reminder of the urgency required to address unique challenges faced by children with cancer; a celebration of progress made in paediatric oncology; & renewed commitment to equitable access to quality care & support for all children affected by cancer.   This day also recognises & highlights those who through unimaginable adversity, continue to make a profound difference in the lives of others.   

One such family, is that of Zac Minty diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma at the age of eight – they are a shining example of resilience, courage, & strength, much like Zac himself.  

Bricks & Smiles: the Zac Minty Legacy Project, was established by this remarkable family in honour Zac, who passed away aged 11.    LEGO was important to Zac whilst undergoing treatment as it provided “a pastime, a rehab tool, a challenge, and an escape.” Despite his very young age, he aimed to support other kids going through cancer treatment by providing the opportunity to pick out their dream LEGO sets. He also wanted to help find a cure for cancer.  

Bricks & Smiles directs fund to:   Providing kids undergoing oncology treatment a $400 grant to pick out their dream LEGO set(s); Australian paediatric/AYA sarcoma research (including clinical trials)  

In honour of Zak & in recognition of the outstanding work undertaken by his family to ease the burden on other children, CRBF will double all donations made to Bricks and Smiles (up to $2000) To donate or read more go to the link in our bio

In Zac’s family’s words:

“Zac was 8 when he was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma in the orbit of his left eye. He bravely fought for almost 3 years, passing away in 2022, just after turning 11. He was in year 6 at the time. 

Zac was an aspiring soccer goal keeper, a mad Liverpool FC fan and a kind, generous, thoughtful kid – a beautiful soul. He gave so much to us, he had so much more to give – but sarcoma took that away.  He stoically battled through some incredibly harrowing treatment, always putting on a brave face and anxious to look out for those caring for him. 

 Our family set up Bricks & Smiles in Zac’s name. He loved doing LEGO through his treatment, it was an escape and an opportunity to feel in control in a world where so much was out of his control due to cancer. He would do LEGO on the hospital ward, at Ronald McDonald House, or at home – there was always something on the go. With Bricks & Smiles, kids undergoing oncology treatment can apply for a grant to pick out their dream LEGO sets. They can build them where and when they like. 

It brought Zac joy to create, and it’s bringing other kids joy as they fight so hard against this cruel disease.  Bricks & Smiles has also been able to make a contribution to sarcoma research and will continue to do so – we must all work together towards a cure for sarcoma and other cancers. No less.  

Zac’s grandma Mary-Lou holds a cake stall every two weeks to raise money, zac’s mum and friends had their community sponsor their City to Surf run, Zac’s dad does the Bricks & Smiles website and his brother Elliott brought the school onboard to do SRC do fundraisers. Through all these little bits and pieces we stand up to cancer in Zac’s name. Granting the LEGO is us standing with other kids going through hard treatment. Bricks & Smiles also support the incredible work of researchers looking for a cure. 

On Zac’s birthday his family will gather together at Ronald McDonald House to sponsor and prepare a ‘Meal from the Heart’ in Zac’s name. This is a great initiative that community and corporate groups can support families staying at the house by cooking and serving a meal for them. Zac and family spent almost 270 nights at RMDH through his treatment and his family benefited from so many Meals from the Heart. Even when Zac wasn’t able to eat much he loved the Meals from the Heart nights, as it made everyone’s life easier. It made us all feel nourished as well as full. 

International Childhood Cancer Day is a day to support the children and adolescents that are battling cancer and their families, carers and communities. It is a day to support the amazing work of clinicians, medical and allied health staff, and medical researchers. It’s a day to commit to keep fighting this fight until we have a cure for childhood cancer. “

We urge you to support this outstanding initiative by going to www.bricksandsmiles.org

Gibbo’s Long Lunch to aid the JGSP&FP

Under a radiant sun and against a backdrop of lush emerald-green paddocks embracing the sparkling Manning River, Mansfield on the Manning became the canvas for a five-hour lunch experience like no other on Saturday, November 11th.

Hosted by the Gibson family, 220 invited guests gathered for a very special event.  “Gibbo’s Long Lunch” was held in memory of a remarkable young man.  A much loved son and brother, Jack Gibson. The event also served as a testament to Jack’s memory, legacy, and support for the Jack Gibson Sarcoma Patient & Family Support Programme (JGSP&FSP). On the eve of what would have been Jack’s 27th birthday, love filled the air, transcending into tangible moments shared amongst attendees.

Suzie, Jack’s mums’ poignant opening speech echoed the sentiment that “Jack brought people together,” setting the tone for a day where cherished memories were exchanged and new bonds were formed. The event surpassed expectations by raising an impressive initial figure of $250k,(and rising) a testament to the enduring impact of Jack’s story.

The Master of Ceremonies for the day was long-standing CRBF ambassador, co-host of the highly successful Fitzy, Wippa & Kate Breakfast Show on Nova FM radio, and Australian media personality, Michael “Wippa” Wipfli, who never disappoints with his unique brand of sincerity, warmth, professionalism & humour.  On the day Wippa managed to not only MC the event, but to slip out between sets, to secure two highly coveted Taylor Swift tickets on the day for auction.   These are concert tickets that sold out in less than 40 minutes of being released, and simply cannot be found, much less purchased.

Words cannot articulate our heartfelt thanks to Wippa for his monumental effort on Saturday in memory of Jack, and for the incredible work he has done for many years providing untold hope to those living with sarcoma. 

Suzie’s moving speech preceded a heartfelt video tribute covering Jack’s 26 years, evoking laughter amidst tears and encapsulating Jack’s essence.

Brother Harry and sister Lily, were simply flawless, as they took us on an emotional roller coaster, recounting so many precious, and often very funny memories of their big brother, while Neil, the patriarch of the family, delivered an impassioned speech impressing the importance of Jack’s Programme, and what it will mean to others walking this road behind him.

Mitchell Rice-Brading, CRBF’s patient support co-ordinator, spoke from the heart covering the evolution of JGSP&FSP, and Jack’s pivotal role in its formative phase, adding a stirring quote from nurse, veteran and sarcoma patient, Kaela Graham-Bowman who generously shared her raw and unfiltered thoughts on what it is really like to live with sarcoma.

Jack’s dear friend, Vince Umbers delivered a stirring and deeply moving musical tribute to Jack, as he did one year prior in the very same setting.  The lyrics of this magnificent song resonated deeply.

Angus Joyce superbly hosted a Jack-centric trivia, and Henry Clarke of Sydney University Cricket Club provided extremely entertaining insights into Jack’s cricketing prowess. Hunter Hordern and Lachie Mactier hosted a lively hole-in-one competition, encouraging the competitive golfing spirit in the room. Alex Grant and Harry Gibson rallied the troops for the races, and bidding was fierce.

Behind the scenes, Suzie, Neil, Harry, and Lily, alongside Anna and Geoff , Georgia,  Emma, Will, Kimberly , Tom, Amelia, Sally, Peter, Sandy, Stu, Cath, Nicky, Jen, Kim Alex, Meg, Rob, Shiv, Lachie and Lindy played instrumental roles from arranging flowers to photography, food prep, video production, catering, and everything in between.

Auction and raffle items for the event were premium offerings, ranging from 18 holes of golf for four at NSW Golf Club with Australian Cricket Captain, Pat Cummins, who generously supported this event.  The Racklyeft family donated 2 weeks at their ski lodge in Big White, British Columbia.  A superb Noosa package was donated by the Hordern and Marlow families; A Potts Point Experience, a luxury pamper package, a weekend at Manning on the Mansfield for 18, and an exquisite Prada handbag donated by Prada Executive Sophie Clark, which found a home with the very popular Sally Mactier.

Special thanks must go to Chrissy Hordern and Siobhan (Shiv) Shaw – Chrissy for her outstanding work in securing the best array of prizes and auction items seen at a charity event in a long time.  Shiv spent countless hours producing flawless work to market the items. Together Chrissy and Shiv made a very significant $100k contribution to the impressive fundraising total. 

Thanks must also go to Emma Duncan for her great work with the mammoth task of AV/IT, and Tom Molloy for capturing the essence of the day with his beautiful photography.

Finally events such as this one are not possible without the profound generosity of donors.                                                 

Avondale Golf ClubRock Salt Noosa
Camperdown Cellars Ross Hill Wines, Orange
Champion Sports (Bushnell) Scarborough Wine Co
China DinerSony Pictures Releasing
Cricket AustraliaSun Mountain Sports
Glasshouse Fragrances Teed up Golf
Hotel Challis Potts PointThe Chapman Family, Palm Beach
Hugo’s Manly The Dinner Ladies
Human Nurture Rose BayThe Dreverman Family, Bowral
Joh Bailey Salon The Holden Family, Blueys Beach
Locale Restaurant & Bar NoosaThe Hordern Family, Noosa
Macleay on Manning, Potts PointThe Marlow Family, Noosa
Macleay St Bistro, Potts PointThe Purbrick Family
Michael Smythe PGAThe Racklyeft Family, Big White
Prada Australia – Sophie ClarkThe Rice-Brading Family
Potts Point BookshopThe Vintage, Hunter Valley
Ricky’s River Bar and Restaurant Noosa

In celebrating Jack’s life, the “Gibbo’s Long Lunch” became a tapestry of shared experiences, a testament to the enduring impact of a young man who brought people together and left an indelible mark on the hearts of all who knew him.

Let’s all raise our glasses to the very essence of Jack and his remarkable family….

July is Sarcoma Awareness Month


Sarcoma awareness isn’t limited to a single month or day of the year—it’s something we need to consider 365 days a year.

However, in July, we have an opportunity to bring sarcoma into the spotlight and increase awareness of its sinister nature and the challenges it poses.  A time to direct the spotlight on those impacted by a sarcoma diagnosis—those living with it, their families, carers, survivors, and those forever missed who no longer walk beside us.

This month, CRBF is focusing on our young. Sarcoma affects all ages, but its impact on the young is particularly harsh. Throughout July, we will shed light on the heart-breaking reality faced by young sarcoma patients, driven by alarming mortality rates that show no signs of abating.

Sarcoma, a cancer that can arise anywhere in the body, is often misdiagnosed—especially young people, where symptoms are mistakenly attributed to growing pains, sports injuries, or the anxieties of adolescence.

Joining with us this July will be ten prominent Australians who reflect on their journey from childhood to success in their respective fields, and their immense contributions to Australian society.

What significance do these stories have to sarcoma? They provide a poignant contrast to the experiences of young sarcoma patients who we will also hear from. Far too often, their hopes, dreams, and aspirations are abruptly taken away. Lives changed irreversibly, leaving behind untapped potential.

By listening to these inspiring insights, we hope you’ll take a moment to reflect on the immense losses suffered by our young people diagnosed with this cancer. Loss of childhood, freedom, identity, friendships, time, and tragically, life itself. Sarcoma can alter the story at a crucial stage of physical, emotional, cognitive, and social development, disrupting regular milestones, hindering the dreams of our young.

Together, we can bring hope, support, and a renewed sense of purpose to those impacted.

Let’s rewrite the narrative—don’t let sarcoma end the story.

#SarcomaAwarenessMonth #Notgivingin #Curesarcoma #RewriteTheNarrative

CRBF Mother’s Day Breakfast 2023

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

Lindt Chocolates

Park Hyatt Sydney

Bells of Killcare

The Magiros Family and The Macleay Group

Phillip Fikkers and Macleay St Bistro

Zinc Restaurant Potts Point

Bistro Rex

The Butler, Potts Point

The Potts Point Bookshop

Qantas

Finally, we could not do what we do without you, our loyal supporters.  It truly takes a village….

 

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Double Donation April – June 2023


CRBF is thrilled to announce that for the months of April, May and June of 2023, all donations for sarcoma research made through CRBF, will be doubled, up to a staggering $200,000. 100% of funds will then be directed to an exciting & innovative sarcoma research programme to be announced very soon.
That’s right, every dollar you donate will be matched by a profoundly generous private donor, effectively doubling the impact of your contribution.
Sarcoma currently attracts less than 1% of government funding, and it is philanthropy that continues to ensure the dial is moving.

Every donation, large or small, can make a difference in the lives of those living with sarcoma. With this matching opportunity, your gift will go twice as far in helping CRBF achieve our mission.

Whether you’re a longtime supporter or just learning about our organisation, we invite you to join us in this exciting opportunity, and together we can help make the future brighter for those diagnosed with sarcoma.

IT for a Cause Charity Golf Day


IT for a Cause golf day raises $105,000…

A picture perfect day at the magnificently manicured course @StMichaelsgolf set the scene for the IT for a Cause annual golf day.

The CRBF team comprised of world leading paediatric transplant surgeon Professor Albert Shun, his colleague leading Australian paediatric oncologist and sarcoma specialist, Prof Geoff McCowage, a young man who is dear to CRBF hearts, Coops friend and NSW cricketer @Baxter_ Holt together CRBF Company Secretary, Colin Brading . Golf was however the winner on the day…

Outstanding leadership from David Abouhaidar, Jody King, Alana Hogan and the team at @SecureAgility who oversaw a huge undertaking for three very fortunate charities: @SaveOurSons Duchenne Foundation, @RMC_ Sydney and the Cooper Rice-Brading Foundation .

Our most sincere thanks go to the David, Jody, Alana and the Secure Agility team for this incredible opportunity. Thank you must also go to all sponsors, attendees and Simone, Jamie and the team from RMHC, and Ellie, Julie and the team from Save our Sons Duchenne Foundation.

Your support will make a profound difference to our work at CRBF with 100% of donations directed to patient support and high level research into sarcoma.

CRBF Support Kits for those living with sarcoma


When you are diagnosed with sarcoma, your world changes in the blink of an eye.  Life is suddenly filled with extreme angst and the unknown.

Our Patient Support Advocate, the late Jack Gibson knew this feeling all too well, and it was Jack who spent hours of his time thinking about those things that made a difference throughout his treatment.

With the exception of the rug he loved to take with him during his visits to hospital,(which we are yet to source) we have put together kits that reflect comfort, a little luxury and practicality.  Kits that provide momentary joy to those living with a sarcoma diagnosis.

Woolen beanies, lip balm by moogoo,  skin products crafted for those going through cancer treatment from Scout Cosmetics, exquisite product from Glasshouse Fragrances,  silk eye masks and sleepwear from Peter Alexander Sleepwear, The Tie Dye Project long and short sleeve apparel, silk/ satin pillow covers, are provided in the standard kit .

Kits are tailored to the needs of each patient, and we cater for all ages and gender.

We can only do this because of the exceptional generosity of the partners we have in place for this very important project.  Their participation and willingness to support our work has enabled this programme to expand exponentially over the past five years.

Suffice to say, this would not be possible without their support.