Finding cures for children's genetic diseases


Sir Lorimer's family overwhelmed by CMRI today


The grand-daughters of Children’s Medical Research Institute’s founder, Sir Lorimer Dods, spoke at a special Honour Roll Wall ceremony held on Friday, stating that they believed he would be overwhelmed by what he saw being accomplished.

The Honour Wall consists of plaques at the entry and in the foyer of CMRI at Westmead and include the names of some of our most loyal supporters.

At this year’s official Honour Wall ceremony was Sir Lorimer’s two grand-daughters, Sally Morrison and Jane Robinsonk who have clear memories of their grandfather’s vision. Sally shared his speech from a fundraising telethon held in 1976.

“I feel this Foundation is firmly established and nothing can destroy it,’’ Sir Lorimer said. “ I’m full of hope that it’s really going to achieve something worthwhile, and that possibly it will be leading the world in some field of paediatrics before very long, and when it does that, it will become not only a research foundation but a centre of excellence, which is, after all, what we are trying to establish  and which I hope we have.”

Sally said she was sure her grandfather would be very emotional about what he saw.

“It’s now 60 years since the inception of the CMRI, and in my mind’s eye, if Grandfather was here today, he would be very emotional—but just so thrilled to see the centre of excellence it has certainly become.

“He would walk around to each and every one of you, shake your hand, and thank and congratulate you for your part in what continues to be a huge team effort.”

CMRI’s Director, Professor Roger Reddel, told the guests about the recent achievements including a publication in Nature, which is a “pinnacle for researchers’’, of the work being done in our ProCan lab, the extraordinary progress in gene therapy and the recent establishment of a new facility focusing on stem cell research. Prof Reddel said he was particularly proud of how all these accomplishments contributed to the world-wide effort in medical research.

CMRI’s President of the Board, Professor Frank Martin, thanked all those supporters on the Honour Wall for making this ground-breaking work possible.

“Children with previously incurable diseases are now being cured by gene therapy. Our knowledge of cancer is growing, filling vast databases with information that will help doctors choose the best treatment option for their patients, whether they are children or adults with cancer. And our cutting-edge research into embryology, stem cells and precision medicine is recognised internationally.

“All of this is because of you. On behalf of Children’s Medical Research Institute, and the future generations of children who will continue to benefit from this work - thank you.’’