When Barrie Littlefield’s ten-year old daughter Eloise began seeing double, the last thing he expected was for her to be diagnosed with cancer.
“She had her eyes tested as we thought she might need glasses,” Littlefield says.
“Her vision was perfect but the optometrist was concerned about ‘something in her left field’ and recommended that we see an ophthalmologist.”
Within a week, he was told his daughter had a brain tumour. A day after that she was operated on by neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo and about two weeks later it was confirmed as a Grade IV malignant tumour called a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). The prognosis was bad.
“We were told her chance of surviving for three years was less than 10% and that most people with GBMs survive less than 12 months,” her father explains.
“There were many difficulties and frustrations along what we constantly hoped was the road to recovery, but unfortunately turned out to be the death of our only daughter”.
Brain cancer kills more children than any other cancer but it receives comparatively little funding. Five-year survival for breast cancer and leukaemia is now more than 80%, but brain cancer has a mortality rate of up to 95% and this has hardly changed in 30 years.
“I hope that all the parents who may read this take away the appalling fact that more of our children die from brain cancer than any other cancer and that this is unlikely to change unless a lot more money is put into research,” Littlefield says.
Cure For Life Foundation is driving awareness of brain cancer in Australia and has developed a robust Research Strategy and a strong model for global collaboration. It was founded in 2001 by Dr Charlie Teo and its mission is to accelerate new treatments to patients and increase 5-year survival to 50% within 10 years.
Last year Australians spent $475 million on unwanted gifts at Christmas, so this year they are asking people to give something meaningful and donate to brain cancer research.
“We are aiming to raise $150,000 from this appeal for research projects in 2014, which is a drop in the ocean compared to the millions spent on unwanted Christmas presents” Cure For Life Foundation CEO Catherine Stace says.
“If people give a donation as a Christmas gift instead of buying a small present just for a laugh, we can reach that target.”
There are three ways you can give something meaningful this Christmas:
- Donate online (one-off or regular donations)
- Give a donation as a Christmas gift to someone
- Donate what you’ll get back in refunds when you return your unwanted gifts in January!
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