The Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute is one giant step closer to reaching its goal of establishing a new breast cancer research program in Ballarat, thanks to a generous contribution from a donor.
Businessman John Turner has gifted $100,000 to Ballarat Cycle Classic 2020 to help reach its ambitious $300,000 fundraising goal.
FECRI announced last week fundraising for the event would allow investment in resources, equipment, research assistants and PhD candidates that could dramatically change breast cancer treatment.
Mr Turner said when he heard funds raised from the Cycle Classic would be allocated directly to the new program, he wanted to propel the fundraising efforts early with an aim to surpass the goal.
"I whole heartedly believe when people have a capacity to give, one should. Especially to a charity such as the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute who are making a world class contribution in cancer research," he said.
Mr Turner, a cancer patient himself, said he wanted to see the community get behind the fundraising target and encouraged everyone to join together to achieve the goal.
"Research is expensive, but if those of us in the community who can spare some money direct it in an area that affects one in two of the Australian population, then we are working to create a better future for our loved ones, our neighbours, our colleagues," he said.
FECRI Director Professor George Kannourakis said he was delighted to accept this donation.
"To achieve the fundraising total will enable this project to hit the ground running. It is a great start to reaching our goal," he said.
"This donation is exciting and I hope this will help build momentum and encourage the community to work together to make a big difference to research in Ballarat."
I whole heartedly believe when people have a capacity to give, one should.John Turner
Professor Kannourakis announced a new 160-kilometre endurance ride to boost the Cycle Classic program on Friday.
The race titled the 'SPUD 100' will honour beloved AFL identity and FECRI ambassador Danny 'Spud' Frawley, taking riders up the notorious Mount Buninyong nationals climb, through the potato farms of Frawley's home district Bungaree, then Mollongghip and Dean and back to Lake Wendouree.
Community members of all ages can participate in a variety of events, on and off the bike, to support cancer research.
Events include 160km, 100km, 85km, 60km and 50km road rides, mountain bike challenges, a28km adventure ride, a Lake Wendouree ride and a family lake walk and run.
The breast cancer project is an extension of the world class research into immune cells and cancer currently underway at FECRI and is due to commence in 2020. An international researcher will join the team early next year.
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women with 20,000 new cases diagnosed in Australia each year.
It is the second most common cause of cancer related deaths in women with over 3,100 deaths per year.
It also affects a small number of men, and the incidence of breast cancer is increasing predominantly due to our ageing population.
FECRI is well placed to undertake research into the immunology of breast cancer with special reference to high risk breast cancers, such as triple negative breast cancer.
The research will try to determine protein targets on breast cancer cells that may be involved in evading the immune system, by creating a 'fog' around these cells.
By identifying these proteins FECRI hopes to produce antibodies that would "lift the fog" from these cells and allow the patients immune system to attack the cancer.
This work is currently being undertaken in FECRI in other cancers such as, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and ovarian cancer.
Community members can support this research by registering for the Cycle Classic at www.ballaratcycleclassic.com.au.
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