Monday, 25 September 2023
Reception for Childhood Cancer Association
It is a pleasure for Rod and me, as joint patrons of the Childhood Cancer Association, to host you this evening.
Many of you joined us last year to celebrate the association’s 40th anniversary, and we are glad to be able to welcome you all back during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to mark the important work that you have done in the past 12 months.
It is heart breaking to know that, in 2023, 39 South Australian children have so far been diagnosed with cancer and referred to the Association for support, while a further 14 have relapsed or passed away.
Every diagnosis of cancer has a ripple effect on the child’s community – on family members of course, but also on extended family members, friends, school teachers and others.
The work of the Childhood Cancer Association is vitally important in offering a range of support services to children with cancer and their families.
Here in South Australia, families can rely on their child receiving world‑class medical treatment, but they also benefit greatly from services provided by your Association.
You can take pride in knowing you are the only service provider in Australia which offers one‑on‑one counselling by specialist psychologists to the child and their whole family, without cost.
The counselling support is available from diagnosis right through to survivorship, or sadly, bereavement.
With 70 percent of childhood cancer survivors experiencing long-term side effects from treatment, survivorship is the time when counselling services are most in demand, and we are very pleased the association is able to meet this need.
One can hope and expect that this percentage will be reduced with the opening in 2025, here in Adelaide, of Australia’s, and the Southern Hemisphere’s, first proton therapy centre, a therapy with considerably fewer side effects than traditional radiation therapies; but the need for patient support will remain and will, Rod and I are confident, continue to be met by your association.
The Childhood Cancer Association is currently assisting 400 children and their families through their cancer journeys, and this would not be possible without the support of everyone in the room.
We thank the Board and staff for their vision and dedication, and the ambassadors who raise awareness of the association’s important work in our community.
We thank the large number of volunteers for the time and energy they devote to multiple roles, from administration to event support and other activities.
And we thank donors their generous financial support – as a fully self-funded organisation, the association would not be able to function without your vital contributions.
We understand that the recent Gold Ribbon Gala, your major annual fundraiser, was a very successful event, and we congratulate everyone involved.
Since the establishment of the Childhood Cancer Association with the support of Dr Michael Rice, 41 years ago, much has changed in terms of cancer treatment.
What has remained the same is the commitment of the medical profession, and the Childhood Cancer Association, to supporting children with cancer to achieve the best possible outcomes for their health.
For the care, understanding and practical support offered by the association to its clients, Rod and I offer you our heartfelt gratitude, now and into the future.