Shoot for the moon

even if you do not make it, you may still land among the stars*

This year marks the 50th year since the moon landing. A remarkable feat of human ingenuity and the result of incredible perseverance. But a lesser known fact is that a full seven years before Neil Armstrong took those famous steps for man and humanity, his 2 year old daughter, Karen, died of Brain Cancer. Unbelievably, in the 56 years since Armstrong’s daughter passed away there has been no material advancement in treatment for this particular kind of Brain Cancer.

Photo Credit – Kevin Gill of NASA – Software Engineer, planetary and climate data wrangler, science data visualization artist. You can follow Kevin on Flickr and Instagram

More broadly, the Brain Cancer survival rates have remained virtually unchanged since the 1980’s, with most patients dying within just a few years of diagnosis. Today, Brain Cancer kills more children than any other disease and more adults under 40 than any other cancer. It hits young adults in their most productive years and the outcomes associated with the disease are debilitating and often don’t just impact the patient, but have ongoing implications for their families.

In a recent article for Cure Brain Cancer Australia (which you can read here) Dustin Perry writes about his own daughter’s tragic struggle with the same type of paediatric Brain Cancer as Armstrong’s daughter. Dustin’s story is as heart breaking as it is astounding – how can there have been no change in this horrifying statistic? How can we have achieved so much during the intervening 50 years, but not even nudged the dial in relation to the treatment of this disease?

Setting a Target

In 2017 Greg Hunt (Federal Health Minister) announced a brave new plan – “to double survival rates of Brain Cancer patients over the next ten years”. The government has backed this with a $100m+ investment in research. This investment has been bolstered by additional contributions from hard working charities such as Cure Brain Cancer, Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer and Mark Hughes Foundation.

The target to double survival rates is brave and ambitious. Given that very little change has been achieved in the last half a century you might consider the commitment to doubling the 5 year survival rate (which is currently dismal, at just 20%) in a decade seems a bit… foolish.

But as an accountant and process efficiency expert, I find they are speaking my language –

  • hard targets
  • clearly articulated metrics, and
  • key performance indicators. 

This perspective draws me to consider my fundraising efforts with a less altruistic view, by shifting the conversation from donation to investment and I urge you to do the same. Don’t donate – invest.

Photo Credit – Kevin Gill of NASA – Software Engineer, planetary and climate data wrangler, science data visualization artist. You can follow Kevin on Flickr and Instagram

Don’t hand over your cash, collect your tax receipt and forget about us – consider it an investment into finding a cure. With the increased focus on Brain Cancer research we have an opportunity to make a ‘step change’, so invest today and be a part of a measurable outcome that could be witnessed in our lifetime (or better yet, my lifetime).

Thank you… again…

When I set off on my first Walk4BrainCancer last year I hoped to raise $5,000. But with your help, this little community has eclipsed my initial target by and has raised just under $25,000 across four events. I know that so many of you have already donated to these fundraising endeavours – and for that I am extremely grateful.

I am now off on another, slightly more challenging event. I will be partaking in the Worlds Toughest Half Marathon, the Point to Pinnacle supporting Carrie’s Beanies for Brain Cancer. This event also coincides nicely with my last round of chemotherapy – the end of which, I am very much looking forward to. For this event I will be joined by my sister, Julia, a very old friend from high school, Dave and some of his workmates and my new running buddy, Angela. Party Animals… am I right? 🤣

If you are inclined, you can sponsor me again at the below link. At the very least – please spare a thought for me on the day. It’s going to be one hell of a climb.

Or you could buy a T-shirt here – all profits to be donated to Carrie’s Beanies for Brain Cancer


* I know – it’s cliche, but its my blog and I’ll cliche if I want to


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