Founders Report - Winter 2018

Saturday, August 18, 2018
CoFounder and Director, Caroline Kelly

On the 1st of August we held our 10th annual ‘Best Things in Life’ dinner ever so kindly hosted as inprior years, by Woolworths. When Avner’s Fund (as it was known then) was launched at Woolworths head-office, in the weeks prior to Avner’s passing, few would have believed it was possible we would still exist 10 years later and that we would have raised $10m over that time. Avner’s friends and I had hoped we could possibly raise $1m, but it did seem like an almost unattainable dream and if it was possible, we thought it would take four or 5 years. It is with huge thanks to our generous, committed corporate and community supporters and volunteers across this country that has been achieved and I and the board of Avner’s Foundation share our heartfelt thanks to all those who made this possible.

Since we started we have invested in a clinical trial, genomics research, funded surgical and other workshops, funded 18 grants and seen many of those grant recipients leveraging funding on the back of the work we made possible. In fact more than $5 million has been added through this leveraged funding – which is a testament to the quality of Pancreatic Cancer research undertaken in Australia and our esteemed Scientific Advisory Panel who do a brilliant job in assessing each grant application and recommending those they believe have the greatest chance of success and impact on the disease. Currently the Scientific Advisory Panel, under the leadership of Professor Ross McKinnon, are assessing the grant applications for this year’s round. We are most grateful to Professor McKinnon and the entire panel for their work and for carrying out this work on a pro-bono basis. 

The 5-year survival rate has slowly moved forward from the 5% it was at the time of Avner’s diagnosis, to its current 8.7% (source: AIHW). While it is good to see progress being made, it is nowhere near enough and it is why we have even bigger goals to raise substantially more funds to invest in research and other programs. 91% of patients diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer should not have to face saying goodbye to their loved ones within 5-years of diagnosis – we owe it to them and their families to do more.

Thank you for your support – you are making a difference.