Finding cures for children's genetic diseases


Today Show host speaks at Mother's Luncheon fundraiser

The annual highlight of the Hills Fundraising Committee’s event calendar, The Mother’s Luncheon, was held on Friday with guest speaker and Today Show host Deborah Knight revealing how tough her new role in the spotlight has been.

More than 400 women gathered at The Hilton to celebrate Mother’s Day and hear from Children’s Medical Research Institute about the latest work that the committee is funding. Guests included Professor Dame Marie Bashir.

Leader of CMRI’s newest lab, focusing on Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine Dr Anai Gonzalez Cordero, spoke about moving from the UK to join the team at Westmead.

“When I say I produce mini retinas, people think it’s strange,’’ she laughed.
“I use stem cells to recreate disease in a dish. Now I want to generate cells to transplant into a patient to restore vision.

“I made the move to CMRI, and I’m very happy; it’s a real family. For me it is remarkable how there are so many different aspects of science at CMRI and how well they all work together.’’

The featured mother for the event was Deborah Knight, who recently joined The Today Show on Channel 9, as co-host with Georgie Gardner. As the first female duo on breakfast TV, Ms Knight said they had copped a lot of criticism.

“I like to be authentic and honest; you can’t put a mask on TV. We cop it on social media, but I just roll with it,’’ she said.

Ms Knight told MC John Mangos about losing her father as a baby and growing up in public housing with her single mum as a great influence over her life decisions. She also detailed how she went through years of IVF to produce her two eldest children, before falling pregnant naturally with her third.

“I do sometimes take on too much, but I roll with the punches. The over arching theme of my life from losing my dad in my early life is to make a virtue from the circumstances you face. It is a juggle, but everyone does it.’’

CMRI’s Head of Fundraising, Andrew Kelly, thanked the Hills Committee, led by president Patti Payne, for all they do for the Institute and acknowledged the Australia Day Award for best Community Group in their local area.

“This event is a tremendous tribute to the work they put in each year – all for the future health of our children.’’