Big brains & personalities dedicated to brain matters.
Virginia and Pippa Rea
In March 2015, Virginia’s daughter Pippa, aged 11, died of a DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma), the most aggressive form of paediatric brain cancer, which only occurs in young children. Initially diagnosed in June 2013, Pippa was the inaugural recipient of the RCD Foundation’s Yoga and Music Therapy programs and won a special place in our hearts. Pippa’s tumour was donated post mortem to the RCH Tumour Tissue Bank, resulting in the sharing of live cell lines across the world for research into paediatric brain cancer. A trust recognising this important contribution has since been established in Pippa’s name at the Tissue Bank. In recognition and memory of Pippa, RCDF are the major annual contributor to the trust and its work into paediatric brain cancer research. Virginia continues to be an avid supporter, fundraiser and advocate of the RCD Foundation.
Penny and Zoe Stanley
In March 2017, 5-year-old Zoe Stanley was diagnosed with a rare and incurable giant cell glioblastoma multiforme tumour. Zoe was an incredible and happy little girl – artistic, brave and obsessed with everything unicorns, butterflies and rainbows. After learning of Connor’s Run during a treatment at Peter Mac, Zoe’s family immediately formed the team ‘United Unicorns for Zoe’. The Stanley family and their friends rallied their local Geelong community to raise more than $50,000 for Connor’s Run and brain matters. Unfortunately, Zoe was too unwell to attend the day, and in December 2017, just nine months after diagnosis, Zoe lost her fight. Zoe’s mum Penny made a promise to her little girl she would do all she could to help others facing the same fight, we’re in awe of her strength and forever grateful for their support in changing the odds.
Marisa and Marcus Rosin
Marcus Rosin was just four years old when he was diagnosed with an ependymoma. For three years his family believed he was in the clear, but in 2012 Marcus relapsed with the tumour spreading to his spine. Obsessed with superheroes, Marcus’ parents say he was the real superhero. Despite years of gruelling treatments, Marcus never complained, always telling his parents not to worry, everything would be ok. But in 2014, at nine years old, Marcus lost his fight. Since losing Marcus, his mum Marisa has been working hard to change the odds for other families, taking part in Connor’s Run and founding the Marcus Rosin Fund through the Children’s Cancer Foundation. Marcus was treated by Dr. Jordan R. Hansford, and it’s now Marisa’s mission to fund one of Dr. Hansford’s biobanking projects, to improve the odds for future families.
Martin and Olivia Phelan
In January 2017, 15-year-old Olivia Phelan was diagnosed with an ependymoma. The shock diagnosis saw Olivia undergo major surgery, which unfortunately could not remove the entire tumour. Thankfully, the Singapore-based family were home visiting family in Melbourne during Olivia’s diagnosis. Meaning, Olivia was treated by Dr. Jordan R. Hansford – an oncologist RCD works with closely and was eligible to take part in the AIM Brain Project, allowing rapid access to the best and most accurate diagnostic information about her tumour. When Olivia’s dad Martin realised it was the RCD Foundation who funded the AIM initiative, he decided to take action. In March 2017 Martin organised a bike ride around the island of Singapore, raising more than $51,000 to support the RCD Foundation in continuing programs like AIM. Olivia has since completed her treatment and is back at school, enjoying getting back to normal life.
Kellie and Wyatt Crampton
Wyatt Crampton was diagnosed with an anaplastic ependymoma brain tumor a week before turning 1yo in early 2013. In the three years that would follow, Wyatt underwent four major brain surgeries and one spinal surgery to remove tumor. He received chemotherapy and 90 rounds of radiation. As a result of the surgeries and treatments, Wyatt suffered from respiratory issues, lost vision and hearing in his left side and had balance issues. None of this could stop him. Wyatt was never affected mentally, and his mum Kellie says he was a very clever boy with a love of building complex puzzles and lego. Wyatt even went to mainstream Kindergarten while still receiving treatment. Wyatt always wanted to keep fighting and was largely motivated by his big brother, Oscar, who is only 20 months older than him. Sadly, in 2017, two weeks before his fifth birthday, Wyatt lost his battle. Wyatt was one of the RCD Foundation’s first Music Therapy recipients, a resilient little boy who we’ll always remember.
Harry Dunn is a survivor. He has faced, as a teenager, one of life’s cruellest obstacles – a brain tumour. Harry is one of the lucky ones, his brain tumour was benign. He had a successful surgery and is now living his life, a different life, for sure. He has to deal with tiredness uncharacteristic for a young man and eyes that are much more sensitive. But his life is his to live. Harry could have moved on from this experience, hoping to put it all behind him. Instead, he has embraced our charity, enthusiastically taking part in Connor’s Run each year and amassing a large cohort to run and fundraise along with him. He is dedicated to giving back and helping other young people deal with the same cruel diagnosis but with a much crueller prognosis.