New South Wales' sickest kids receive eight-figure gift at Gold Dinner 2024

Monday 17 June 2024 | Expected time to read: 3 minutes

Gold Dinner 2024 Committee members with SCHF CEO Kristina Keneally and SCHF CPO Colin Allen

Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation (SCHF) received an extraordinary $10 million pledge from the Kids with Cancer Foundation (KWCF) at the prestigious Gold Dinner 2024. This remarkable gift, the largest ever made by KWCF, is set to transform the Cancer Centre for Children at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, ensuring that Sydney’s sickest children receive the highest standard of care.

The generous donation from KWCF will significantly enhance the Cancer Centre for Children, providing the resources needed to meet contemporary demands and deliver comprehensive care to young patients. The centre will support a wide range of services, including new cancer diagnoses, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, bone marrow transplants, clinical trials, and long-term follow-up. This investment will not only impact the present but also shape the future of children's cancer treatment and care for generations to come. 

KwCF Executive Director Peter Bodman and SCHF CEO Kristina Keneally speaking on stage at Gold Dinner 2024

The revamped Cancer Centre for Children at The Children's Hospital at Westmead will cater to both in-patients and day treatments, featuring a new 24/7 virtual care service for outpatients. The design includes dedicated family and parent spaces, increased room numbers and sizes, access to outdoor areas, and facilities for parents to work from the hospital, ensuring that families can stay together during in-patient stays. 

In addition to the transformative gift to Westmead, KWCF has committed $500,000 to Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick. This funding will be used to develop the Oncology family lounge, outdoor area, and overnight facilities at the new Minderoo Children’s Comprehensive Cancer Centre. 

Kristina Keneally, CEO of Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation, expressed her gratitude for KWCF's continued support, stating, “The Cancer Centre for Children at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead provides such an important service to the children living with a cancer diagnosis and their families. The KWCF and SCHF partnership goes back over 25 years, and over those years, KWCF has provided over $18 million in support to SCHF for Randwick, Westmead, and Bear Cottage.” 

“SCHF has been working closely with KWCF since October 2022 to ensure that philanthropic support and the best possible care for children with cancer is realised in the redevelopment of Sydney’s two children’s hospitals.” 

She emphasised the transformative impact of this donation, “A gift of this size has the potential to create giant strides in the research and treatment of childhood cancer and will have a significant impact on the outcome of kids’ health now and for years to come. The new Cancer Centre for Children at Westmead would not be possible without the support of KWCF.”  

Todd Prees, CEO of Kids with Cancer Foundation, highlighted the foundation’s dedication to supporting children with cancer, “We have had a wonderful working relationship with SCHF and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead over 25 years and work with terrific oncologists like Dr Luciano Dalla-Pozza to help place critical funding where it is needed most.” 

He added, “When we reviewed the plans for the new Cancer Centre at Westmead, one of our Board members, whose child – William Smith, died from cancer in 2018, said immediately, ‘this will make all the difference for the families.’ We knew then we had to do it.” 

“At Kids with Cancer Foundation, our mission is to make today easier for kids with cancer, and we do this through direct financial support to families, Care Packs, Wigs4Kids, funding research, and funding hospitals and oncology staff at all children’s hospitals around Australia.” 

 “A huge thanks to all of the supporters of Kids with Cancer Foundation, for without our incredible network of fundraisers, donors, volunteers, corporate partners, lottery ticket purchasers – and our wonderful small team, this major capital works pledge would not be possible.” 

Dr Luciano Dalla-Pozza, Director of the Cancer Centre for Children, highlighted the importance of integrated care, “In Australia, there are approximately 1,000 children who are diagnosed with cancer every year. It is clear that the incidence of cancer in children is slowly rising, and whilst we’ve made significant advancements in the treatment of children with cancer, there is still a way to go.” 

He underscored the need for a collaborative approach, “We need research. We need education. We need providers of care. All three are absolutely essential and need to be housed close together, where they can collaborate, share ideas, and communicate more effectively with each other, providing the children with every chance of cure.” 

The tremendous support from the Kids with Cancer Foundation is a testament to the power of community and the collective effort to make a difference in the lives of children facing cancer. As SCHF and KWCF continue their partnership, the future looks brighter for young patients and their families, with improved facilities, advanced treatment options, and a strong foundation of support. 

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