Finding cures for children's genetic diseases


Rugby-playing scientist plays Denim Round


A suburban rugby club from Sydney’s North Shore is getting behind one of its young players who is also a scientist at Children's Medical Research Institute – to ensure the next generation of kids can grow up healthy and become a Wallaby or Wallaroo.

27-year-old Steve Williams is a scientist working as part of the ProCan cancer research team on a major program that is looking to develop the ability to precisely tailor cancer treatment to each individual child’s cancer. He also happens to be a rugby player with the Northern Saints and had the great idea of uniting his two passions this month.

Steve and the Saints are holding a Denim Round on July 20 as a Jeans for Genes fundraiser for research dedicated to children with serious genetic diseases (including cancer) – with all the proceeds going directly to Children’s Medical Research Institute. The players will wear custom denim-inspired jerseys, sponsored by Ceerose who successfully bid for the rights at the Jeans for Genes Denim Dinner charity event in June.
“The club management committee backed the suggestion 100 per cent and all the players have seen it as a really positive thing for the club to be involved in,’’ Steve said.

“We want everyone to know that rugby is a sport that cares about supporting the health and wellbeing of future generations of our children. As such, the values and importance of the work done by Children’s Medical Research Institute, home of Jeans for Genes, are shared and understood by our club. This makes Jeans for Genes the perfect charity to partner with.’’
For Steve it is also about encouraging kids to consider STEM subjects as a path to an exciting and meaningful career, and that the wider community places an important value of investing in research – where government funding is not guaranteed.
“I hope that people will get behind the event to show their support,’’ Steve said. “So many advances in diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and epilepsy have already been made by medical research.

“Events such as this are an opportunity to initiate conversations about issues and outcomes in science, health, medicine and research and the investment required to make progress in the field so that everyone can reap the benefits in the future.’’

The Northern Saints have already held a fundraising comedy night but they are hoping that everyone on the North Shore will head to St Ives to raise money for their Denim Round – and other clubs may consider backing the cause.
“It is a great opportunity to promote the game we love in a positive light, highlighting there is great personal reward from playing rugby, besides the action on the field.

“Having the support of the community backing children’s medical research fills you with their trust and belief that the work you do is important and will make a difference and as that is why we do research – there is no greater motivator. Being a part of ProCan at CMRI is the best way I can think of to give back to the community that supports us.’’

The Northern Saints will play their Denim Round on July 20 at Hassall Park in St Ives. For full details visit The Northern Saints Denim Round Webpage