Live for Lily Foundation partners with the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute to advance childhood brain cancer research

News at a glance:

  • The Live for Lily Foundation was established to honour the life of 9-year-old Lily Hester, who sadly passed away from a rare cancer in 2014
  • The Foundation expects to donate $300,000 over three years to fund a brain cancer researcher at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute
  • The announcement coincides with the 'Ride for Lily' annual cycling fundraiser, beginning 9th April, which this year sees passionate cyclists riding from Melbourne to the Barossa Valley to raise $200,000

The Live for Lily Foundation is excited to announce a new three-year funding partnership with the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI). The donation will advance research into a deadly form of brain cancer. Sadly, nine-year-old Lily Hester died in 2014 from another rare cancer.

The partnership will establish the "Lily Hester Early Career Cancer Research Award" at Murdoch Children's, to enable an early career researcher to work full-time on a deadly brain cancer, known as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).

The Murdoch Children's cancer research program is led by Professor David Eisenstat, a world-leading Paediatric Oncologist/Neuro-Oncologist. Professor Eisenstat was recently recruited to Melbourne from the Stollery Children's Hospital and Cross Cancer Institute, University of Alberta, in Canada.  

Professor Eisenstat said, "DIPG cancer mainly affects children, usually aged between five and seven years old. It makes up 10-15 per cent of all brain tumours in children, with about 25 new diagnoses per year in Australia. Incredibly sadly, fewer than one in 20 children are still alive three years after their diagnosis. 

"We still have very little idea about what causes DIPG, and current treatments are ineffective. By funding a dedicated researcher, the Live for Lily Foundation has made an important step towards making the new discoveries needed to develop novel therapies for this invariably fatal cancer, and we thank them profusely."

Lily's dad and Live for Lily Foundation co-founder Aaron Hester says, "We are extremely excited to be teaming up with the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and taking our quest to find a cure for childhood cancer another step closer.

"Lily would be so very proud to know that her battle wasn't in vain and that others, one day, won't have to go through what she went through."

Director of the Live for Lily Foundation Philip Martins says, "Being a Melbourne based charity, we felt strongly about supporting a locally based children's cancer research institute in addition to the support we provide nationally and are really proud and excited to be supporting some of the sharpest minds in this field at the MRCI right here in Melbourne."

It is expected that the new early career researcher will begin at MCRI within the coming months and the Live for Lily Foundation looks forward to sharing updates with all of its sponsors, supporters and followers on this exciting new partnership.

About the Live for Lily Foundation

Live for Lily raises awareness and funds that will go directly towards research that is dedicated to finding a cure for childhood cancers. It is a not-for-profit foundation that is committed to ensuring that we will see an end to childhood cancer having raised over $1.3M since its inception in 2016.

About Murdoch Children's Research Institute

The Murdoch Children's Research Institute is the largest child health research institute in Australia, committed to making discoveries and developing treatments to improve child and adolescent health in Australia and around the world. They are pioneering new treatments, trialling better vaccines and improving ways of diagnosing and helping sick babies, children and adolescents. It is one of the only research institutes in Australia to offer genetic testing to find answers for families of children with previously undiagnosed conditions.

Available for interview:

Aaron Hester – Co-founder, Live for Lily Foundation
Professor David Eisenstat, Group Leader in Cancer and Neuro-Oncology, Murdoch Children's Research Institute

Media Enquiries:

Philip Martins
Director and Chief Financial Officer, 
Live for Lily Foundation
[email protected]

Bridie Byrne
Media Manager, Murdoch Children's Research Institute