Krista Barrie with her mum, Kim. Krista started surGICure to fight gastrointestinal cancer. SurgiCure gearing up for first fundraising ball this Saturday at Newcastle City Hall. Picture: Jonathan Carroll SIMON WALKER: Bright Side archive
WARNERS Bay teen Krista Barrie is proud to be helping local people battle gastrointestinal cancer with her charity surGICure.
Krista set up the fundraising vehicle for GI research last year, when she was only 14 years old, inspired by the tireless work of surgeons at the John Hunter Hospital who helped save her nan’s life after she was diagnosed with stomach cancer. At the time, surgeons were paying for research out of their own pockets.
Through various fund-raising ventures this year, surGICure has enabled the Department of General Surgery at the John Hunter Hospital to partly fund a research nurse position.
‘‘We’re not funded for any of our clinical research, so the salary for the research position and gear we need, like software and computers, is assisted by this charity,’’ said Stan Chen, who was Krista’s nan’s surgeon.
‘‘Gastrointestinal cancer is anunsexy cancer in terms of funding, even though GI cancer is widespread. Bowel cancer, for example, is the second most common cancer in Australia and the incidence of pancreas and liver cancer is growing at an alarming rate,’’ Dr Chen said.
‘‘We deal with a lot of sick patients who need major surgery and we’re researching into ways to optimise surgery and patient care.
‘‘Krista’s charity is helping us do that – there are very few charities in GI cancer that I know of – so we’re very lucky.’’
Krista’s nan, Agnes Orr, made a complete recovery from her surgery and bounced back so well she’s since travelled to Scotland to visit family.
‘‘She’s a good girl,’’ Agnes said proudly of her grand-daughter in a broad Scottish accent.
‘‘Not many 16-year-olds will do what she’s been doing, so it’s great.’’
Krista’s mum, Kim, has been the ‘‘official adult’’ in the charity because Krista is so young, but their efforts are literally helping people have more life.
‘‘It’s not the most glamorous of cancer and the treatment is quite cruel for the patients,’’ Krista said yesterday, on her way to a babysitting assignment.
‘‘We became aware of the research from nan’s surgery and now we’re encouraging anyone going through the treatment to donate their information to the research.
‘‘All you have to do is tick a box when being admitted to the hospital.’’
If you want to get involved in surGICure, attendance at events and sharing experience will ultimately broaden awareness and promote the means for local research and local funding.
As part of ongoing fundraising activities, surGICure will hold its first annual ball, an ‘‘Evening of Elegance’’, at Town Hall on September 12. A number of musicians are donating their time and talents to the entertainment, including Sydney GP Geoff Darvas, who’ll get the house rocking with his band Triple Grip.
A number of other musically inclined medicos, including Dr Chen, Ajay Iyengar and Sarah Maclean, as well as Nigel Goddard and Hannah Murray will play a support spot during canapes with the inimitable ‘‘Barbarians’’ wind quintet.
If you want to attend the ball or get involved with surGICure, email [email protected]上海夜网m or visit www.facebook上海夜网m/surGICure or ring 0249471520