2019 BrainChild Ball delivers outstanding result, raising $402,000 in funding to underpin exciting new immunotherapy research at the Telethon Kids Institute

Record-breaking night sees Brain Child Ball reach $1 million in funds raised for childhood brain cancer research.

The Pirate Ship Foundation is pleased to announce that its 4th annual BrainChild Ball – the Italian-themed La Dolce Vita – raised a record $402,000 for childhood brain cancer research, taking the total amount raised since the ball’s inception in 2016 to over $1 million.

This year’s ball, which was held in the Grand Ballroom at Crown Towers Perth on Saturday 27th July 2019, saw 470 guests enjoy the food, entertainment and ambience that so unmistakably comes from one of the world’s most loved countries, cultures and peoples.

This year’s ball was backed by Star Sponsor True North Adventure Cruises, with generous support from a range of corporate and private sponsors and supporters.

Amongst the glitz and glamour, the crowd sat silently while listening to the heartwrenching story of 11-year old Bonnie, bravely shared by her mother Pippa.

Bonnie was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, the most common form of brain cancer and underwent gruelling surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy in 2014. Despite completing her treatment, the cancer returned in 2016 and Bonnie is now left with no viable treatment options for her growing brain tumour.


Top WA mining CEO’s set to Walk the Plank to raise funds for childhood brain cancer research.

Chief executives of several leading mining companies ready to don pirate garb and jump off the 5m high diving board at HBF Stadium this Friday

In what could be shaping up as the WA mining industry’s mini-version of the Big Freeze at the ‘G, this Friday will see a host of prominent local mining executives don pirate suits and take the plunge off the 5 metre high diving board at HBF Stadium – all in the name of childhood brain cancer research.

The chief executives of several of WA’s leading mid-tier mining companies have been nominated by their staff to take the plunge to help raise funds for childhood brain cancer research and increase awareness around the killer disease.

Childhood brain cancer kills more Australian children than any other disease, with over 200 children diagnosed each year. Survival rates have significantly lagged other cancers, especially adult cancers, where research funding has been prioritised.

Treatment options remain extremely harsh and damaging to kids’ still-developing brains and bodies, with the result that even survivors are left with severe and life-long impacts from surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.


We are very excited to let you know that funding has been secured for a major global clinical trial for a drug that was developed as a result of pioneering collaborative research at Telethon Kids Institute.

This trial is one of four childhood brain cancer clinical trials to be funded nationally as part of $4.5m in Federal Government and philanthropic funding.

The clinical trial, known as SJ-ELiOT, will be led by the St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the world’s biggest childhood brain cancer research centre in Memphis, Tennessee will test a drug whose potential application was discovered as part of a drug discovery effort at the Brain Tumour Research Program at the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth.

The trial is for children who have developed medulloblastoma, which is the most common malignant brain cancer that children can get, and will initially involve children who have relapsed with the disease who otherwise have very few, if any, viable treatment options.

Pre-clinical trials for the drug, which inhibits some of the protective mechanisms a cell can have when it’s been damaged by chemotherapy or radiotherapy, were commenced five years ago at Telethon Kids Institute. The promising results were shared early with international collaborators, including St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, so the results could be independently validated. These characteristics of the drug mean that it interferes with the ability of the cell to repair itself, therefore making chemotherapy or radiotherapy used in the treatment of the cancer more effective.

“SJ-ELiOT is a multi-institutional collaborative trial born out of Australian preclinical laboratory research that will be conducted in three continents including Australia, USA and Europe, inspired by and named in honour of Elliot,” Professor Gottardo said.

The potential benefits of this new drug are to make chemotherapy more effective – helping to cure more children on the one hand while also potentially allowing doctors to dial down the dose of damaging radiation and chemotherapy drugs.