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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Researchers acknowledged for helping to improve children’s lives

Local researchers have been recognised at a virtual ceremony this week for helping to make a difference to the lives of children and their families.

Doctors Matt Dun, Sally Fitzpatrick, Narelle Eather, and Felicity Park all took out awards at the Hunter Children’s Research Foundation (HCRF)’s Community Acknowledgement of Research Excellence (CARE) event last night.

Dr Dun was awarded the JSA Group Achievement in Research Award, while Dr Fitzpatrick received the Newcastle Permanent Research Mentorship Award.

On top of the award, Dr Dun and Dr Bronwyn Berthon were each given a $30,000 grant to support their research projects. 

Dr Dun, a researcher from The University of Newcastle and The Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI), wanted to thank all those who have supported him.

“Thank you to the community of volunteers who tirelessly campaign and fundraise to provide research teams like mine with the support necessary to do our best to improve the outcomes of children with the greatest health needs,” he said.

Dr Dun, who is dedicated to helping improve the outlook for children living with brain cancer, works with clinical and pharmaceutical industry partners to design tailored therapies.

His dedication to the cause is a very personal quest for him and his family after he lost his four-year-old daughter Josephine to brain cancer in December last year.

Apart from Dr Dun, Dr Eather won the nib Encouragement in Research Award, and Dr Park and the John Hunter Hospital Maternal Fetal Medicine Team picked up the Wests Group Achievement in Quality Improvement Award.

HCRF Chair Janelle Shakespeare paid tribute to local businesses and community members who contribute to the foundation’s work.

“Despite not being able to hold our annual fundraising events due to COVID-19, HCRF supporters have raised $60,000 to support the research grants” Mrs Shakespeare said.

“The funds we raise go directly to fund children’s research in areas such as asthma, cancer, cystic fibrosis, diabetes and sleep disorders – illnesses that can affect any family at any time.”

This year’s awards were livestreamed via Facebook.

HCRF was founded in 1996 to raise funds for research into children’s terminal and debilitating illnesses.