Farewell and thank you from our CEO

After more than seven years as Chief Executive at the Children's Cancer Foundation, I have made the exceptionally difficult decision to move on. As I write this note – my last as Chief Executive – I reflect on all that we have worked towards and achieved over the years for our families, our hospitals and research institutes, and with the support of our corporate partners and fundraisers. I am so immensely proud of the Children's Cancer Foundation – who we are and what we do and how far we have come since 1992. I will forever value the shared work and achievements.

I have always believed that organisations are so much bigger than those who lead them and so the time has come for me take on new challenges. It has been an absolute privilege to represent and advocate for families, and hospital and research staff and to ensure we have a strong financial base for our ambitious program of research and hospital funding.

Highlights for me are the launch of the Hudson Monash Paediatric Precision Medicine Program in 2017 – a $6.5 million commitment which originated from a conversation with A/Prof Ron Firestein about ‘possibilities’ if only there was funding, the $6 million commitment to fund Melbourne’s first perpetually endowed Children's Cancer Foundation Chair at the University of Melbourne in 2020, the expansion of our funding across Australia and New Zealand to give children access to critical clinical trials, and the development of our extensive clinical research program which consistently delivers results and works towards better treatments for children. As an example of how far we have come, our project funding in 2012 when I joined the Foundation was $839,000: our budget for 2020 has distributions of $5.563 million to hospitals and research institutes and direct support for families.

The partnerships that we have established with corporate Melbourne, notably led by The Million Dollar Lunch Committee – a group of individuals who give so much without any expectation in return – and the generosity of our Cornerstone Partners, have underpinned our project funding. The many individuals who also donate their time and expertise to fundraise and volunteer year after year, including the Grants Committee which works tirelessly to ensure only the best projects are funded – I salute you. A greater group of committed individuals could not be wished for.

I will miss my board of directors who have been an absolute pleasure to work with, highly skilled, and wholly committed to seeing the day when children’s cancer will be gone. I have also worked with many outstanding staff over the years who have contributed in different ways to driving the success of the Foundation.

Rest assured, the Foundation will remain committed to improving diagnosis and health outcomes for children and young adolescents with cancer and tackle inequality in research funding between adult and childhood cancer. Jeff Darmanin, a director of the Foundation since 2016 and an accomplished executive, will step in as Acting Chief Executive. The Foundation will be in good hands.

 

Kind regards,

Aileen Boyd-Squires

Aileen Boyd-Squires