On Thursday 20 June 2019, the Cromwell Property Group Foundation (Foundation) announced Heart Research Australia, The Lady Musgrave Trust and the MND and Me Foundation as beneficiaries of its FY19 fundraising activities.
L-R: John Godwin (Foundation Vice-President), Paul Olds (CEO, MND and Me Foundation), Karen Lyon Reid (CEO, The Lady Musgrave Trust), Sarah Sullivan (MND and Me Foundation), Nicci Dent (CEO, Heart Research Australia) and Paul Weightman (Foundation President).
These causes, combined with Black Dog Ride, Pink Angels and Royal Far West, the charities supported throughout the Rotary Club of Dubbo South’s Destination Outback , take the Foundation’s total FY19 donations to a little over $250,000.
“The Foundation donates to organisations that fly under the radar, who may ordinarily miss out on the funding spotlight, but are able to provide a tangible difference with the funds provided,” stated Foundation President and Cromwell CEO, Paul Weightman.
“This is evident with our 2019 beneficiaries. I am incredibly grateful of the support we have received throughout the year, and proud of the difference the Foundation is able to make.”
The FY19 donation breakdown is provided below.
In a testament to the success of ‘An Evening at the Circus’, an additional $58,227 was pledged at the event. A portion of the funds went direct to the evening's three beneficiaries, while some was directed to the Foundation, where they will form part of its FY20 fundraising activities.
Heart Research Australia - $30,589
Heart Research Australia, whose mission is to support world class and emerging researchers conduct ground-breaking research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, have been provided $30,589. The organisation aims to reduce radiotherapy-induced heart damage in breast cancer treatment.
One in eight Australian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer before their 85th birthday, and despite breast cancer-specific deaths declining due to improved diagnosis and treatments, heart muscle damage and heart failure is a serious side effect of cancer treatments. As a matter of fact, it is not uncommon for the life expectancy of a cancer patient to reduce as a result of cancer treatment-induced heart disease, rather than by cancer itself.
However, Professor Helge Rasmussen and his team from Heart Research Australia are undertaking important research to combat this. Professor Rasmussen has focused much of his research on studying the body’s sodium-potassium pump, which simultaneously pumps sodium out of the cells, while pumping potassium in, a process critical to the survival of the cells.
This research yielded some remarkable discoveries, particularly relating to a group of proteins called ‘FXYD proteins’. In particular, Professor Rasmussen’s research revealed that one of the proteins in this group, ‘FXYD 3’, was protecting the sodium-potassium pump from oxidative damage.
Professor Rasmussen’s team also discovered FXYD 3 is overexpressed in some breast, pancreas, prostate and bowel cancer cells. In order to test this, they developed a ‘loss of function’ peptide, and applied it to cancer cells in test tube experiments.
These experiments found chemotherapy effectiveness was increased nearly tenfold when the peptide they developed was applied to the cancer cells. The sensitivity of the cell to the drug greatly increased, while its effects on the heart became much less pronounced, reducing heart muscle damage.
The next step is for trials in which this peptide is applied to tumours in mice, with the objective of progressing towards human trials. The funds the Foundation has donated to Heart Research Australia will be used towards funding this trial.
Heart Research Australia CEO, Nicci Dent, commented on the Foundation’s donation.
“We at Heart Research Australia are so incredibly grateful to the Cromwell Property Group for their generous donation. As we don’t receive government funding, we rely heavily on the support of donors to ensure we can fund our world class researchers to turn their ideas into reality and to achieve our objective of finding a cure for Australia’s leading cause of death.”
The Lady Musgrave Trust - $40,000
Established in 1885, The Lady Musgrave Trust is Queensland’s oldest charity, which provides life-saving services to vulnerable women and their children when they are facing critical homeless situations as a result of domestic violence, family breakdown and poverty.
The Foundation has provided $40,000 towards The Lady Musgrave Trust’s ‘Ending Homelessness for Older Women’ project. This project will create a resource platform for at-risk and homeless women, so they are aware of where to go for help.
There are several other outcomes to be delivered through this project. Firstly, and most importantly, the quality of women’s lives will be improved, and they will be empowered with information to manage their own personal circumstances.
Secondly, The Lady Musgrave Trust will raise awareness across the wider community as to the extent of homelessness in older women, and the range of solutions and preventative measures available.
Third, after undertaking extensive research as part of this project, a guide for homeless women will be published, with 12,000 copies distributed to empower at-risk women, while providing information regarding vital and life-saving services. This will reduce homelessness in older women and in the number of younger women who may become homeless as they age.
Finally, the cost of homelessness to the community of approximately $35,000 per person, per year, will be reduced.
The Lady Musgrave Trust CEO, Karen Lyon Reid, stressed the importance of the work they undertake.
“ABS census data identified a 31% increase in older women’s homelessness over five years, which was alarming. As such, we knew we needed to take action to address this critical issue.”
“The Cromwell Property Group Foundation strongly believes in supporting community – it is these company values that will help us to make significant progress in our charity work and particularly this project. We are grateful to the Foundation for their support and collaboration on this project,” Ms Reid concluded.
MND and Me Foundation - $40,000
The MND and Me Foundation was established by Scott Sullivan, a husband and father, who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in 2010 at the age of 38. Sadly, Scott passed away in 2014.
However, the MND and Me Foundation continues to thrive, raising awareness of Motor Neurone Disease and its impact on the community. Scott saw a desperate need to assist people living with MND, along with their families, in order to maintain their independence and quality of life for as long as possible.
The MND and Me Foundation holds the straightforward mission ‘to care and to cure’, and works to reduce the burden and stress of living with MND by providing practical assistance to families, helping them cope with their challenges.
The Foundation has donated $40,000 to the MND and Me Foundation, facilitating financial support for MND sufferers over the age of 65. This support is significant on a number of fronts.
In 2018, there were roughly 350 people living with MND in Queensland, 42% of which were aged 65 or older. People who are diagnosed at this age are not covered by the National Disability Insurance Scheme, instead falling under the cover of My Aged Care (MAC), which has a capped funding allocation, and lengthy waiting periods to access the funds.
For those with MND, which can have large equipment requirements, the amount provided by MAC can fall short and result in lengthy waiting times, which is detrimental to quality of life.
The Foundation’s support of the MND and Me Foundation will be used to bridge this gap, by providing emergency respite grants to MND sufferers aged 65 or over. These grants will be used to assist those under severe financial stress and where there are no alternate options to access funding.
Paul Olds, CEO of the MND and Me Foundation, stated, “Our aim for this very generous support is to provide much needed assistance to our 65-year-old or older clients well before they reach a crisis situation.”
“Due to the progressive nature of MND and the inadequate MAC funding available, many people over 65 just cannot keep up with the pace at which their MND is advancing. Hitting a crisis situation often means a visit to the emergency department, which places a massive strain on the family care unit.”
“By working closely with our clients and understanding their future needs, this grant will allow us to hopefully prevent emergency situations from occurring.”
About the Cromwell Property Group Foundation
The Cromwell Property Group Foundation was established in 2014 to support charities or organisations that provide support to, or conduct research into causes relevant to the mature aged community. To date, the Foundation has donated $892,000 to 14 causes, resulting in significant change to countless lives.
Donations to the Cromwell Property Group Foundation of more than $2 are tax deductible. To donate, request a grant or seek more information, visit www.cromwellfoundation.org.au