Looking ‘Forward’ to Celebrate the Year Ahead
2023 LOVE IS IN THE AIR
One of our Foundation’s much loved expressions is “The Brain is Where the Heart Lives”. This expression feels especially apt writing to you on Valentine’s Day. We know that so much of what we have accomplished is because of the love you have shown young people with brain cancer. On this day (and every day) we feel it. Love is in the air!
We have begun 2023 with gusto. We are back in full swing and our calendar is brimming with activities-with both events (new and our favourites) and exciting new research initiatives.
April 20 this year will mark 10 years since Connor’s passing. It’s difficult for me to think it’s been 10 years since we had Connor-his smile, his hug, his humour and unique lens on life. I still feel him alive in me-and am awed by the energy and purpose he has given me. I’m so proud of him for what he has inspired. Read below on how we will “celebrate” this milestone.
This February we are “Rowing our Hearts out for Brain Cancer” all month, now in its 10th year Connor’s Erg continues to grow from strength to strength. We have over 12 universities in the US signed up for the challenge, with 400 student athletes participating. Many schools and gyms in Australia are also taking part. As many of you know, Connor was a keen rower at Brighton Grammar School and dreamed of rowing at an American university. He was starting his applications to Stanford and Wisconsin just weeks before his brain cancer diagnosis in 2011. While his dream was shattered others have stepped up-lending their heart and brawn to committing to an erg (stationary rowing machine) challenge. I’m taking part myself, erging 2km a day all February.
In March we are holding our inaugural Connor’s Golf Classic at the beautiful Victoria Golf Course in Melbourne. We have close to 100 golfers joining us for what we hope is a fun afternoon followed by dinner. Thanks to Brighton Suzuki for organising a Suzuki Jimny as a prize for anyone lucky (talented) enough to get a hole in 1 on the 4th. We are also pleased to have Drummond Golf, Titleist, Calloway Golf and FootJoy supporting us generously with merchandise and experiences.
Late April we will open registrations for our 11th Connor’s Run. Planning is well underway and we are excited to share with you this year’s poster and design-it looks amazing! We hope you and 5000 others will be able to join us here in Melbourne on the 10th of September-or Anywhere/Any day throughout September. We promise to continue to make “Fun on the Run” (or Walk) our priority and also looking to ensure your experience with connorsrun.com is easy and enjoyable.
To mark this occasion of Connor’s passing we are having a black tie ball. Friday 26th of May, at Metropolis Melbourne. A celebration of 10 years- changing the odds for young people with brain cancer. We feel 10 years is a significant milestone and worthy of recognition by doing something ‘extra’ special. We have started to pencil in tables and it’s looking to sell out quickly. If you are interested in booking a table or coming alone or as a couple, please let me know and we’ll do our best to accommodate (consider this a perk to reading my update!)
September brings Connor’s Run, yay! We are keeping our one day event in Melbourne on Sunday 10th and our YourWayAnyDay option all September. We will be reaching out to our favourite corporate teams, schools teams, our brain cancer community teams to join us again along with encouraging new teams and individuals too. It looks like our major partners: Coles, QMS, Belle Property, Salesforce and Suzuki are all back again this year. Talk about love! We are humbled by the ongoing love for Connor’s Run. We need an army to put on this event-please join us as a Volunteer, if you can!
We continue to use Connor’s initials R C D (Research Care and Development) to help shape our support. Under the tremendous leadership of Dr Kim Wark, our Research Manager, we are close to announcing two exciting initiatives. These are large projects with a bold vision-spanning across Australia and in partnership with key research institutes in the US. They bring promise of funding projects that WILL continue to make improvements for young people.
Last year we funded nearly a million dollars in projects, with more planned for this year. A highlight, announced this January was our AIM Brain program, bringing full methylation testing to every child diagnosed has gone through to NATA accreditation. Our Legacy Families are at the very heart of all we do, and we continue to work with families to ensure many of our projects are named for and in honour of children whose families and communities have raised exceptional money.
In addition, we are funding our second EpCam Conference (leading world ependymoma researchers) in Cambridge UK in June. We are also sponsoring several Australia conferences, including the annual ANZCHOG industry meeting. Our Travel Grant program has grown from strength to strength and we are pleased to help young researchers attend and often present their research at these meetings.
Our Music Therapy Program continues to thrive. We offer 10 at home music therapy sessions through an Australia wide referral program with the 9 children’s cancer hospitals. Connor loved his music therapy with Sarah Punch. Ten years on, Sarah is still with us, leading the MT program. “When the heart sings, the mind heals”.
I’m so proud of the talented team we have created-everyone dedicated and passionate about truly making a difference. We often talk about having many brains on the job to help kids with brain cancer-but we always try to lead with our heart.
We look forward to having you support us this year -in any way that works for you. We would be nothing without you by our side.