$1.2 million reasons to support brain cancer research at UniSA

From left: NRF Vice President Dr Glenn McCulloch, Cosi (Andrew Costello), Provost and Chief Academic Officer Professor Allan Evans Uni SA

 In October 2017 the NeuroSurgical Research Foundation (NRF) set an aspiring target of achieving $1 million to support brain tumour research at the University of South Australia.

The NRF have now announced that thanks to the generosity of donors it has surpassed this goal and have raised nearly $1.2 million for UniSA since the launch of the ambitious fundraising campaign.

Donors and special guests at the NRF Gala dinner on May 26, were made privy to the exciting announcement that will enable the establishment of the inaugural NRF Brain Tumour Research Chair, a new memorial UniSA Research Grant, and vital new equipment.

NRF Executive Officer Ginta Orchard says the $1.2m will help support vital brain tumour research and new facilities at the UniSA Cancer Research Institute, as well as establish a $120,000 research grant in honour of former UniSA student Chris “Critter” Adams, who lost his fight against brain cancer in 2014.

“We are delighted that we have reached our fundraising target ahead of schedule, which will inject much needed funds into brain tumour research at the UniSA Cancer Research Institute, which actually specialises in finding solutions for difficult to treat brain cancers,” says Ginta Orchard, Executive Officer of the NRF.

Chris was diagnosed with a rare grade-three anaplastic astrocytoma brain tumour while studying a business degree at UniSA.

“Chris was a fit and healthy young man, so the diagnosis was a shock,” Ms Orchard says.

“He was captain of the Pulteney Football Club and worked out at the gym four times a week, while juggling a part-time job and his studies. He was in the prime of his life.”

Sadly, in November 2015, after almost a year-long battle with the disease, Chris passed away in hospital where he had been admitted for further surgery.

The Chris Adams UniSA Research Grant will award $120,000 to create a perpetual fund that will support an annual $5000 grant to an early-career researcher or research student at UniSA who is contributing to high quality brain tumour research.

“Chris was an extraordinary young man who was determined to fight his disease. He created a slogan to get him through his battle – ‘Strong Enough to Live’ – and he inspired many with his dedication and passion to not only raise awareness but also help others while undergoing his own treatment,” says Ms Orchard.

“Chris was taken far too early by a disease that has devastating effects on the lives of patients and their families and loved ones. This grant will support the very best brain tumour research at UniSA and help our research scientists change the outcome for people facing a similar diagnosis.”

UniSA Vice Chancellor, Professor David Lloyd, praised the NRF for its commitment to tackling one of the most aggressive cancers in Australia.

“They are doing some remarkable work to help progress important brain tumour research and improve the odds for people facing a diagnosis of this devastating disease,” says Professor Lloyd.

Around 1600 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour each year in Australia. Malignant brain tumours take about one life every seven hours, killing more adults under 40 than any other cancer and killing more children than any other disease.

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