The great and good of Sydney’s liquor industry gathered at the Belrose Hotel on Wednesday (9 November) to help raise money to support research into children’s cancer.

At the 22nd Annual Liquor Industry Trade Lunch, auctions (both silent and live) were run, as was a raffle – with prizes donated by companies across Australia’s hospitality and liquor trade.

On the day, $380,262 was raised to assist ‘vital research including funding towards senior researchers, critical genome sequencing of DNA & RNA, laboratory drug screening, cellular testing for detecting risk of relapse and more.’

The day’s donations took the total amount raised by the lunch since its inception to over $4m.

Kaine Bayfield was the MC for the day, while Wayne Bayfield once again played the role of celebrity auctioneer.

Kaine tipped his hat to the on-going efforts of his father: “Without him, none of us would be here today, and we wouldn’t have $4m more in the Children’s Cancer Institute. It’s because of him and his passion that we’re here.”

Glen Hill, General Manager Customer and Supports of the Children’s Cancer Institute thanked the trade for its ongoing support.  

“The whole liquor industry has been very loyal for a long period of time to the Institute, and we literally couldn’t have grown in the way that we have without the support of families like Bayfield.”

Dr Charley de Bock, a Leukaemia expert and Team Leader at the Institute also spoke to guests, explaining where their money would be used – particularly highlighting the brutal nature of chemotherapy, and the research and development of new drugs and techniques.

“These drugs which we use on kids today are over 70 years old in some cases, and you might rightly ask: ‘Well, if they work, what’s wrong with that?’

“And they do, they do to a degree, but they’re a fairly blunt instrument. I liken these drugs to you weeding your garden with a flame thrower,” Dr de Bock continued.

“It’s very effective, but causes uncontrolled damage to healthy tissue.

“As part of my research that I carry out with my team and the Institute, this is one of the questions we have: ‘How do we improve the outcomes for children with cancer, but still reduce the side-effects?’”

One way the Institute is working to do improve this situation is through tailoring approaches to each individual child.

“Just as all of us here are genetically different, we recognise that all the kids’ cancers are also different. We can’t do this one size fits all therapy,” Dr de Bock said.

“So what we do is we take these kids, we sequence their DNA, and we find all the mutations that drive [the cancers] and we try and tailor make that therapy, just for that child.”

This approach has proven more effective, however, it is not cheap, costing $10,000 for each DNA sequencing – which illustrates how important fundraising events like the Bayfield Lunch are.

Kaine concluded the event by setting the target for next year, saying: “We’re above that 380 today, it’s a record, and we’ve now got to break it next year. We’re going to get that 400,000!”

See some pictures from the day below.

Drinks industry leaders raise a glass
More than 200 people were in attendance

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