The Rathbone Family Advocates for Cancer

Ann and Doug Rathbone AM have been fundraising and advocating for childhood cancer since their son Matthew was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 1979 and was the first successful Australian recipient of a Bone Marrow Transplant. 

“The wards were so different then. There were only two isolation rooms which weren’t child friendly. Matthew had to spend weeks on the ward and all the parents slept on camp beds,” Ann recalled.

In 1998 they established the Children's Cancer Foundation to help achieve this goal. Doug was instrumental in launching the Foundation’s Capital Appeal in 2002 which raised $22 million to refurbish the Children’s Cancer Centre at The Royal Children’s Hospital and construct a linked research laboratory 2 years later. Doug stepped down from the Board in 2012 after 15 years of dedicated volunteer work.

Due to the radiation that Matthew received as a 3 year old, he developed a non-malignant brain tumour and underwent surgery and radiotherapy at 14 years, as well as further treatment in 2015 because the tumour had grown. 

About 10% of children that receive treatment develop a treatment-related cancer later in life. The Foundation not only funds neuropsychologists to enable the best outcomes post-treatment, but also supports new research that seeks to reduce this alarming statistic.

The Rathbone family own Rathbone Wine Group which includes Yering Station, Xanadu and Mount Langhi Ghiran. According to Ann, Matthew “is known to have one of the best palettes”, and that palette is put to good use in selecting which grape varieties are blended. It’s not just Ann and Doug who champion the cause, but also their sons Darren and Brad. In October 2015, the family held a lunch at Yering Station, where they hosted Vue de monde’s Shannon Bennett and raised over $20,000 for the Foundation.   

We thank the Rathbones for their 35 years of advocating  and fundraising for childhood cancer and all they have done to lift the standard of care for children with cancer and ensure that Melbourne is at the forefront of paediatric oncology clinical care and research.

Rathbone Family