Why we Ride

Why we ride

The Townsville to Cairns Bike Ride was founded in 1999 by Selwyn Hardwick. Sel felt helpless when his sister passed away from cancer, and one of his grandchildren became ill with leukaemia. On a roadtrip coming back from Cairns, Sel came up with the idea of riding from Townsville to Cairns to raise money to give to Children's Cancer Institute. He felt that this was a way he could help his grandson proactively. He invited his son to join in the challenge and the idea was born.

While approaching bike shops in Townsville, Sel realsied that he hadn't done alot of riding for some time and knew that he would need some help. It was when Sel visited Andrew Abrahams at Better Bikes that the idea became a reality, with Andrew suggesting that he get invovled and they make it a ride for anyone to participate in. 

It was here that Townsville to Cairns Bike Ride as we know it today was formed. 

Originally founded by two fathers of children with cancer in 1976, Children’s Cancer Institute is the only independent medical research institute in Australia wholly dedicated to research into the causes, prevention and cure of childhood cancer.

More than 40 years on, our vision
remains to save the lives of all children with cancer and improve their long-term health, through research. The Institute has grown to now employ over 350 researchers, operational staff and students, and has established a national and international reputation for scientific excellence. Our focus is on translational research, and we have an integrated team of laboratory researchers and clinician scientists who work together in partnership to discover new treatments which can be progressed from the lab bench to the beds of children on wards in hospitals as quickly as possible.

By developing safer and more effective drugs and drug combinations, we aim to minimise side effects, giving children with cancer the best chance of cure with the highest possible quality of life.

Childhood cancer: The facts

  • Sixty years ago, cancer was nearly always a death sentence for a child. Today, more than 8 out of 10 children survive. 
  • Unlike many adult cancers, childhood cancer is not associated with lifestyle and nothing can be done to prevent it. 
  • Each year, over 1000 children and adolescents in Australia are diagnosed with cancer.
  • Every week, 3 children in Australia will die from cancer. 

Why our work matters

Children’s Cancer Institute is the only independent medical research institute in Australia wholly dedicated to curing childhood cancer. Cancer kills more children than any other disease, so our research is critical. With the brightest brains, cutting-edge facilities, and the greatest determination, we will get the job done.

Our Purpose

Children's Cancer Institute was established in 1976 by a dedicated group of parents of children with cancer and their doctors. Since then, we have grown to employ more than 300 researchers, students and operational staff and are recognised as one of the leading international child cancer research institutes. 

We have made great strides in that time. Sixty years ago, cancer was nearly always a death sentence for a child, but today eight out of 10 children will survive their diagnosis. But still, every week, we’re losing three children to cancer in Australia, more than any other disease. We won’t stop until every child can survive their cancer to live a long and healthy life. 

The power of medical research

Cancer used to be a death sentence for a child. Today, the overall survival rate for childhood cancer has risen to over 80%. This dramatic improvement is a major success story of modern medicine.

The more support we can generate for research into childhood canner, the more progress can be made. And the faster we get there; the more lives can be saved.

Zero Childhood Cancer

The Zero Childhood Cancer Program (ZERO) is Australia’s first-ever precision medicine program for children and young people with cancer. Led by Children’s Cancer Institute and Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, it is a true multidisciplinary team effort of researchers and clinicians and includes all nine of Australia’s children’s hospitals together with 19 national and international research partners. 

Conducting in-depth genomic analysis for each child, ZERO aims to improve survival, reduce side effects, and advance science’s understanding of childhood cancer for the benefit of all. 

ZERO is at the forefront of scientific and technological discovery, driving advances as quickly as possible from the lab into the clinic. These advances are not only benefiting children with cancer today, but are leading to a whole new understanding of childhood cancer that stands to revolutionise the model of care for all children with cancer in the future. 

Find out more at www.zerochildhoodcancer.org.au.

Childhood cancer in Queensland

On average, over 200 children are diagnosed with childhood cancer each year in Queensland. 

Regardless of where they live in Queensland, every child diagnosed with cancer will be referred to the Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane for treatment in a specialist oncology unit whose clinicians work directly with researchers at Children’s Cancer Institute. 

Since 2017, more than 120 children with high risk cancers who have been treated at Queensland Children’s Hospital, Brisbane, have been enrolled on the Zero Childhood Cancer national clinical trial. They have had a sample of their tumour sent to Children’s Cancer Institute for detailed genomic analysis and testing. The results have then been sent back to the child’s treating clinician, to help inform decisions around their treatment. For some children enrolled on ZERO, this has been life-saving. 

Now, with ZERO open to all children with cancer across Australia, every child diagnosed with cancer in Queensland will have access to precision medicine through ZERO. 

Get in touch

Do you have a question about our work? For any enquiries please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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