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Maddie’s vision gets funding boost

The Victorian Government have announced a $2.4 million grant to fund Maddie Riewoldt’s dream, a world first research centre for Bone Marrow Failure Syndromes and a co-funded International Research Fellowship opportunity with the Victorian Cancer Agency.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Health Jill Hennessy confirmed support for the Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) in Bone Marrow Biology which will see experts from across Australia collaborate to develop a better understanding of bone marrow function.

“Maddie fought so hard and now her legacy will live on in a new world-class research centre. This is an investment that has the potential to change and save lives.”, says Premier Daniel Andrews.

Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision is dedicated to finding a cure for Bone Marrow Failure Syndromes (BMFS) and was founded by the Riewoldt family following Maddie’s tragic death in February, 2015. Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision has been a galvanizing force in elevating awareness and raising substantial funds towards purposefully identifying and supporting the best researchers in Victoria.

“Maddie’s Vision gives hope to families across Victoria that one day we will find a cure for this awful disease. We’re proud to be supporting them in this lifesaving work.”, says Jill Hennessey.

BMFS mainly affects young people, like Maddie, aged 17 to 40. About 160 young Australians are diagnosed with the syndrome every year. Sadly, more than half will die from the disease.

Nick Riewoldt, Chair of Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision says, “To date, we have raised $2.6 million dollars and committed to 9 research projects since we launched in June 2015. People talk about game changers, this is that very moment. This announcement is one that I know will go down in the history for Bone Marrow Failures. These funds will allow us to be global leaders in the research we need to undertake to find a cure. Maddie’s incredible battle means something more today.”

Bone Marrow Failure Syndromes have a complex pathophysiology, represent difficult diagnostic challenges, have devastating impact on patients and their families and is one of the most demanding diseases to treat in medicine. Little work was been done before Maddie’s Vision started.

Professor David Ritchie, Head of Bone Marrow Transplant at Royal Melbourne Hospital, says “Through a process of targeted and coordinated basic and clinical research there is huge potential to radically alter our understanding of bone marrow biology, design and apply new treatments and substantially improve the outcomes for patients with BMFS.”

The establishment of a CRE in bone marrow biology provides Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision the capacity to incorporate additional projects, complete the critical mass of researchers and complementary projects, provide additional infrastructure and the coordination of BMFS research required to find a cure for this disease.

Nicky Long, CEO of Maddie’s Vision stated, “The establishment of a CRE is our next logical step and will be undertaken with the same clarity of vision and probity that has guided the work to date. We have gathered together the core members of our research team and the coordination of the CRE will allow us to extend this core, provide critical synchronization of our current and future research opportunities to accelerate the research outcomes”.

Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision has been steadfast in adhering to its principles of ethical fund raising under the strict governance standards and funding only the highest quality research. The research work is only just beginning but the expectations of having an impact are high.

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