Children's Cancer Institute Australia for Medical Research (CCIA) was originally known as The Children's Leukaemia and Cancer Foundation and was established in May 1976 by a dedicated group of parents and doctors of children with cancer.
For the Kasses family from Childers, Queensland, and the Lough family from Wollongong, NSW, 1975 was a very difficult year. Jack and Annette Kasses's daughter, Helen, and John and Margaret Lough's son, Robbie, had been diagnosed with leukaemia and life had been thrown into chaos. Helen and Robbie were being treated at Sydney Children's Hospital, Sydney.
While it was clear the doctors were doing all they could to cure the children in their care, it seemed that very little was being done anywhere in Australia to conduct research into the phenomenon of childhood cancer. The need for such research was clear. Hundreds of children were being diagnosed with cancer every year and only half were being cured with the treatments available.
Following the loss of his son, John Lough approached his club, the Apex Club in Wollongong to raise money for research into childhood cancer. The campaign became a national Apex effort, the "Help a Kid Make It" campaign with a target of $1 million to facilitate research into childhood cancer.
Today, CCIA remains the only independent medical research institute in the country devoted to research into the causes, prevention and cure of childhood cancer. Throughout our existence, our vision has remained unchanged – to save the lives of all children with cancer and to eliminate their suffering.
First established as a foundation that funded the few, small research projects then being undertaken, CCIA opened its own research laboratories in 1984. Since that time, the Institute has grown to employ more than 150 staff and students, and has established a national and international reputation for scientific excellence.
Prior to the 1960s, childhood cancer was almost always fatal. Today, as a result of enormous advances in medical research, the survival rate has risen to 70 per cent. However, three out of every ten children with cancer do not survive. These are the children that CCIA strives to save.
Learn more about the Institute's logo, inspired by a photograph of Joshua Barry, aged 16 months.
For details of our historical partners, click here.