September is childhood cancer awareness month and G8 Education is partnering with the Children’s Hospital Foundation, to raise awareness for children’s brain cancer.

Brain cancer claims the life of one Australian child every nine days – more than any other disease.

One of Australia’s largest early childhood education and care providers, G8 Education, has rallied its 440 centres, 10,000 strong team and 50,000 families across Australia to help change that statistic and join the fight against children’s brain cancer.  

G8 Education joined forces with the Children’s Hospital Foundation to participate in a virtual marathon fundraising challenge, 42k Your Way. The national network mobilized, and set a goal to raise $150,000 for the Children’s Brain Cancer Centre – Australia’s only dedicated paediatric brain cancer research centre. Close to 250 centres across the network participated in the challenge, collectively walking, running, rolling, skipping and dancing their way to a total of 56,832kms this August.

The result? $181,252 raised for the Children’s Brain Cancer Centre, inclusive of a generous $20,000 corporate donation from G8 Education. This equates to just over 50% of the overall 42k Your Way fundraising revenue, doubling the impact of the campaign.

Children’s Hospital Foundation CEO, Lyndsey Rice said: “The Children’s Brain Cancer Centre unites the best of the best in paediatric brain research to bring new hope to children diagnosed with brain cancer. Despite advances in other types of childhood cancer, survival rates for brain cancer have made little progress over the past 30 years. The Children’s Brain Cancer Centre aims to change that. We are so grateful to G8 Education staff and families for their incredible support of 42k Your Way and their commitment to improving survival and survivorship for children with brain cancer.”

Cheque handover for 42k your way

Today, Parkinson World of Learning hosted a breakfast BBQ and welcomed G8 Education’s campaign Ambassador Isaac to join the celebrations.

Isaac was just four months old when his parents noticed he had shaky eyes. At his four-month check-up, doctors raised their concern about his eyes and the rapid growth of his head.

After many tests and scans, Isaac was diagnosed with brain cancer, he had a large tumour at the centre of his brain which was causing hydrocephalus which causes swelling in the brain. Isaac’s tumour is inoperable, but with treatment, including chemotherapy to shrink the tumour he is currently stable. However, unfortunately this could change at any time.

His proud mum Luarna says her son, who turned six this year, “hardly ever cried” through more than a year of chemotherapy, which shrunk his tumour by half. “He’s a beautiful boy. He made the hard times a lot easier to get through.”

Although the tumour – a juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma – has stopped growing, Luarna says Isaac’s future is uncertain.

Funds raised by G8 Education centres will give hope to families like Isaac’s for a future without brain cancer.

G8 Education, CEO, Gary Carroll said: “Our purpose is creating the foundations for learning for life and health is a vital part of this. We know many team members across our centres – and many Australians in general – have connections to this cause. It has been incredible to witness the commitment of our team during this initiative, and I am extremely proud we have exceeded our target and have raised $181,252 for the Children’s Brain Cancer Centre to help fund vital research.”

Jodie Elliott, Centre Manager at G8 Education’s Nurture One Kilmore, lost her four-day old daughter Hollee to brain cancer in 2018.

“I lost my beautiful daughter Hollee at just 4 days old from brain cancer”.

Hollee was born with an atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumour on her brain stem which doctors deemed inoperable.

“She was born and she was the most perfect little girl,” said Jodie.

“Looking at her you wouldn’t know there was this tumour growing inside her.”

Jodie, her husband and their son Harry made the most of the four days they had with Hollee.

“Hollee slept on my chest every night of her life, and it’s there she also went to sleep for the final time. I had dosed off, my husband woke me up and said she had gone. It was horrible.”

After her passing a biopsy of Hollee’s tumour was sent to the United States for further testing and to be used in research to help find a cure.

“Research is vital in improving survival rates in the future which is why I am so proud that G8 Education has gotten behind the 42k Your Way initiative,” said Jodie.

“The Children’s Brain Cancer Centre is helping support Australian children and Australian families.”

“You never think it will happen to you, until it’s happening to you. And it’s when you’re thrust into that situation that it’s comforting to know Australia is home to the best research and researchers in the field.”