Finding cures for children's genetic diseases


2016 Excellence Ball

There was not a hair out of place, as some of Sydney’s most glamorous celebrities gathered in their formal attire, with other supporters of Children’s Medical Research Institute on Friday evening, to attend the 2016 Jeans for Genes Excellence Ball.

The star-studded event, attended by 300 guests and held at the Four Seasons Sheraton hotel in Darling Harbour, saw the likes of 2015 Jeans for Genes ambassador, Jodi Gordon, with her mother, Bronwyn Gordon; Sydney Swans player, Josh Kennedy, and his wife, Ana; actress, Emma Lung, and her husband, Henry Zalapa. Retired Olympic swimmer, Daniel Kowalski, was the master of ceremonies; and 2016 Jeans for Genes ambassador, and cancer survivor, Sally Obermeder, was also in attendance.

I’m a mother, I have been through a cancer battle. I remember when I was sick, I was thinking ‘my goodness, thank God this isn’t my child’ and then I remember thinking ‘thank God this isn’t any child’, and that for me is the most important thing – when you talk about children and sickness, it should just never be in the same sentence,” Sally said.

Sally held a touching Q-and-A with Paralympian, Ellie Cole, who shared her experience of childhood cancer and the amputation of her right leg, with the packed room.

The hardest thing I found with my cancer journey and being sick as a child was how my family were affected. My siblings were almost shifted to the side while I was going through my treatment….it was really tough. To know that CMRI is doing work to put an end to that is really positive,” Ellie said.

The 23rd Ball was also attended by a number of regular donors. Bernard Sankey, from Burwood Press, said the night’s live and silent auctions were a highlight. “The tone of the evening was upbeat, and hearing stories of people who have been helped and gone on to succeed is so insightful.” 

CMRI's Director, Professor Roger Reddel, spoke about the tremendous advances that have already been made through research which has prevented or cured serious illnesses of childhood, and how there are unprecedented opportunities to tackle the diseases that have been too hard until now.  "The stories we've heard tonight have been very moving", he said. "They not only illustrate how much has already been achieved, but are also full of hope about what research can do in the future. I think it's very important that these messages are heard.