Perth Philanthropists raise $600,000 for children with cancer at Gold Series - Perth

15 November 2023 | Expected time to read: 2 minutes

Last night, Perth’s incredible generosity was on display when Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation raised an outstanding $600,000 for children with cancer. 

Gold Dinner is one of Australia’s most eagerly anticipated annual charity galas, and for the very first time, it expanded its impact into a spectacular series kicking off with Gold Series – Perth, co-hosted by the Children’s Cancer Institute.    

Together with Perth Children's Hospital Foundation (PCHF) and Children's Cancer Institute (CCI), $600,000 was raised for Perth Children’s Hospital and the Minderoo Children’s Comprehensive Cancer Centre - the first of its kind in Australia – which will change the face of paediatric cancer treatment. 

The exclusive invitation-only gala was held at the iconic Postal Hall in the heart of the State Buildings at Como, The Treasury. The theme for the event was Field of Dreams, inspired by a whimsical meadow of spring flowers. To compliment the magnificent architecture and high ceilings of Postal Hall, a series of ethereal lighting looks were designed to transform the space into a dream state, taking guests on a journey of light throughout the night.

MC Tim McMillan addressing the crowd at Gold Series - Perth

The event was hosted by Channel Seven’s Tim McMillan, alongside auctioneer Darren McAullay, with highlight guests including Joshua and Linda Penn, co-chairs of Gold Dinner, Bryce Sceresini, Perth entrepreneur and philanthropist, Tonya McCusker AM, and The Honourable Malcolm McCusker AV CVO QC, Former Governor of Western Australia, Luxe Listings, Monika Tu, and Elle Farrelly, co-founder of Triangl Swimwear.

Throughout the evening, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation and Children’s Cancer Institute shared their vision of the vital role philanthropy can play in creating innovative treatments, prevention strategies and cures to make the biggest impact on children’s health. Guests also heard from esteemed speakers, including Professor Nick Gottardo, Head of the Paediatric and Adolescent Oncology/Haematology Department at Perth Children’s Hospital, Western Australia, Professor Michelle Haber AM, Executive Director Children's Cancer Institute and Dr Richard Mitchell, Director Kid's Cancer Centre, Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick, on improving access to clinical care, researching new and novel approaches to treatments and ultimately improving patient outcomes for kids with cancer now and in the future. 

Kristina Keneally, Chief Executive Officer of Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation, says, “On behalf of Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation and the children whose lives are improved daily, I would like to thank the people of Perth for their generous contribution to the game-changing Minderoo Children’s Comprehensive Cancer Centre. This centre will change the face of paediatric cancer care around Australia, and will have a positive, lasting impact on the lives of sick children and their families.” 

Thanks to the support of key donors, sponsors and supporters, we will be able to help many kids and families battling cancer, families like Ka’ili’s. Ka’ili was a cheeky and affectionate four-year-old who gave her parents the shock of their lives when cancer was found growing in her kidney. 

Eight year old girl with no hair smiling holding dolls

While on a family holiday in Fiji, Ka’ili showed the first signs of illness, developing severe constipation. Her mother, Kristy, put it down to the foreign foods they were eating. However, on returning to Australia, she saw bright red blood in the toilet and realised that something was very wrong. 

Ka’ili was taken to hospital, where a scan revealed a tumour the size of a rock melon in her kidney. Here, Kristy was told her little girl had a Wilms’ tumour, a rare kidney cancer that mainly affects children. 

“They told me that treatment for this type of cancer had an 80% success rate, which gave me some relief,” says Kristy. “I was completely overwhelmed though … not only with a cancer diagnosis but with the uncertainty of the situation.” 

Ka’ili began chemotherapy at Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick, and Kristy accepted that this was going to be their new home.  

After eight weeks of treatment, Ka’ili’s tumour had shrunk to the point where it could be removed by surgery. For the next six months, she continued weekly chemotherapy before finally getting the green light to go home. 

Just short of a year after her treatment first began, Ka’ili relapsed. This time, she was to face six months of intensive chemotherapy, along with radiation therapy and a bone marrow transplant. 

Then, in March 2021, Ka’ili joined the Zero Childhood Cancer (ZERO) national clinical trial. The ZERO team was able to identify a drug capable of targeting Ka’ili’s cancer, and she began the new treatment straight away. After four months, Ka’ili was declared in remission. 

Today, Ka’ili is eight years old and in Year 2 at school. Kristy says Ka’ili’s journey has taught her many things, and she has a newfound appreciation for the simple things in life, including sleeping in her own bed, watching her children interact, and seeing Ka’ili put on her school uniform and go to school. 

Thanks to events like this, we can give hope to families like Ka’ili’s by improving access to clinical care, creating new and novel approaches to treatments and ultimately improving patient outcomes for kids now and in the future. 

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