The Hon. Martin Dixon MP, former Victorian Member of Parliament for Nepean
It is my great pleasure to support the Isabella and Marcus Foundation and I am honoured to be named as patron. As Minister for Education, and more importantly as a father and grandfather, I consider the health and wellbeing of Victoria’s young people a top priority. The brainstem tumour known as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) is most common among primary-school aged children and sadly remains one of the most severe and incurable cancers. That is why the Foundation’s vision to work towards a cure has my full support. I commend the Foundation for its extraordinary efforts to support much needed research into DIPG and to raise the profile of the disease in Victoria’s primary schools, and beyond. The death of a child is an unimaginable tragedy for any family. Combating this disease will require sustained work across a number of fronts, and it will require us to work together. I commend the families of Isabella and Marcus for leading the way. The memory of these children is honoured through the work of the foundation and through the contributions we make to this highly important cause.
Andrew Bogut (Ambassador)
My early childhood seems so long ago now. My life was ahead of me and my personality and aspirations were developing. It’s hard to imagine it suddenly being taken away. A diagnosis of DIPG puts an end to any dreams and potential a young child may have. It doesn’t have to be this way. Developing an understanding of this cancer through research is the key. Isabella and I attended the same primary school; she was a part of the community that I grew up in. I feel a sense of sadness that her dreams will never be fulfilled. I encourage you to join me in supporting the Isabella and Marcus Foundation.
Every child deserves a chance at life.
Paul Field, Managing Director, The Wiggles (Ambassadors)
My wife Pauline and I have been so fortunate to have five children. They are now adults and are making their own way in the world and continue to bring us joy. However, one of our children did not live for very long. Our first daughter Bernadette died at the age of seven and a half months of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and her death is a wound that will never fully heal. Our hearts ache to hear of the continued deaths of children by the currently incurable Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).
The work the Isabella and Marcus Foundation do to assist further research into paediatric brainstem tumours is both hopeful and invaluable. So many young lives are cut short by this insidious cancer and anything that can be done to slow and eventually stop DIPG should be supported.
Anthony Stevens (Ambassador)
If Isabella and Marcus were alive today they would be about the same age as my daughter and son. They would be young adults with their whole life still ahead of them. Our children are our most precious gift and we need to come together as a community to protect what we value most of all.
501st Legion, Knightfall Garrison - 'Bad Guys Doing Good'
The 501st Legion is an all-volunteer organization initially formed to unite costume enthusiasts from around the world under a collective identity with a penchant for Star Wars villainy.
Giving back to the community is one of the Legion’s highest priorities. We regularly participate in events to raise awareness of charitable causes, from walk-a-thons to blood drives and are always looking for opportunities to brighten the lives of the less fortunate and to bring awareness to positive causes on both a local and global scale.
Knightfall Garrison look after the State of Victoria, and are delighted to announce the Isabella and Marcus Foundation as our focus Charity with many of our members having their own personal reasons for wanting to give back to the community, anything that affects children in this way touches our heart strings. The opportunity to help raise funds and awareness of this currently incurable disease could not be passed by.
Our Number 1 Supporter, Forever
Miette means “Sweet Little Crumb” in French. Like Isabella and Marcus, she was diagnosed with DIPG when she was 5 years old. She remains an inspiration to us because she chose to fundraise for the Isabella and Marcus Fund so that children like her will one day have access to treatment.
Miette created beautiful hair accessories, including clips and bands and sold them online via her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Sweet.Little.Crumb. She donated 50% of her proceeds to the charity. Thank-you Miette.
Miette passed away on March 27th, 2013 at only 7 years of age. A song was composed in her memory by De Greer-Yindimincarlie.
In honour of Miette, we established a scholarship fund in her name: 'The Miette Skiller Scholarship Fund', which provides for PhD scholarships to research DIPG.
Professor Peter Doherty
To friends in the community
Though I now spend most of my time as a faculty member at the University of Melbourne School of Medicine, I still have some research activity ongoing at St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where I worked full-time for many years prior to returning to Australia. St Jude is a leading pediatric cancer hospital and research institute that, apart from competititve grant funding, attracts more than $US 500 million a year in philanthropic donations. That extraordinary public largess contributes massively to the quality of both the clincial and invesigative programs within this intellectually outstanding, caring institution.
Along with our own excellent and recently rejuvenated Royal Children's Hospital, St Jude is a member of the global Children's Oncology Group. What is discovered here, and what is found at St Jude, is shared across our small world to feed ulitmately into the diagnostic and therapeutic approaches that help catastrophically ill children. That is why I give my enthusustic and unqualified support to the Isabella and Marcus Foundation that will be used to provide and Endowed Chair and associated research laboratory at University of Melbourne. There could be no better target for your benevolence than to support an activity that will help very sick children.
Peter C. Doherty AC, FAA, FRS
Nobel Laureate for Medicine
Professor David de Kretser
Thank-you for meeting with me to explain the reasons why you are both so passionate about raising funds to endow a Professorship in Paediatric Neurological Cancer Research at the University of Melbourne and the Royal Children's Hospital.
Your visit brought home to me what a precious gift we have in our children and grandchildren. Your journey with Isabella through her illness and subsequent death is one filled with love and tinged with the tragedy of having to standby when all avenues of treatment fail to halt the progress of a tumour. When this happens to one so young as Isabella, one is left with the memories of her life with you and the unfulfilled dreams of what her life could have been.
It is only through research that, with time, treatments can be found that will prevent other familes having to endure the sadness that you have experienced. I congratulate you on your commitment to raise money, together with the family of Marcus who died from a similar tumour, to enhance the research effort that is needed.
I commend your appeal to the community and to your friends to assist your efforts in raising the money to ensure that other families can be spared the challenges that you have faced.
Professor David de Kretser AC
Luke Donnellan MP, Member of Parliament, Victoria
As a father of two young sons, I empathise with the loss of a child to cancer. Too many children tragically die from brain tumours in Australia every year and few people realise that it is the leading cause of cancer deaths for children in this country. There is no cure for DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma) and this in an untenable situation. Research drives treatment and currently research into brainstem tumours is limited, so the work of The Isabella and Marcus Foundation is vital. The Charity’s mission is to establish a permanent laboratory in the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, to study this disease and develop treatments. I am pleased to be a supporter of the Isabella and Marcus Foundation.
My family is the most important thing to me. I cannot imagine life without them. In Australia each year, families have to deal with the diagnosis of a brainstem tumour in their young child. Particularly devastating is a diagnosis of DIPG, which is incurable. What is hard to accept is that there is no medicine that can save their child’s life or at least provide some hope for a cure. Radiotherapy may give them precious months but the tumour will eventually grow back and continue to grow unabated until they die. I support the Isabella and Marcus Foundation in their endeavour to provide for a laboratory to research brainstem tumours and develop treatments, so that one day children are offered a chance at a full life, in the same way that many other paediatric cancers that were once considered incurable are now treatable.
Letters of Support
University of Melbourne, Australia
Australia's leading university ranked as the 9th leading Clinical, Pre-clinical and Health University by the 2018 Times Higher Education World University Rankings
Associate Professor Kate Drummond
Dr Kate Drummond is a neurosurgeon, Director of the Neuro-Oncology Tumour Stream at the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre and Deputy Director of the Melbourne Brain Centre. To view her letter of support, click here.
Harvey Norman Springvale
As a father of 2 children aged 5 and 7, I am particularly saddened by the fact that young lives can be cut short, so suddenly, with no hope of survival.
Through organisations like the Isabella and Marcus Foundation, born out of such tragedy, we can hope that in the future a diagnosis of DIPG is not terminal. Research into the prevention of such deadly diseases is costly, but this cost is insignificant when compared to the lives of children.
I am extremely grateful of the work organisations such as the Isabella and Marcus Foundation do, and I am pleased to offer our support as the Franchisee of Harvey Norman Springvale.
Harvey Norman, Fountain Gate