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Frank’s legacy now fighting graft versus host disease

When Robyn Gray received a bequest from her late stepfather Frank, she generously supported the Leukaemia Foundation in his memory. 

“I felt that the best use of Frank’s hard-earned money was to help someone else with blood cancer to have a better outcome than he did.” 

Frank’s practical nature helped Robyn decide to fund research by the Centre for Blood Transplant and Cell Therapy (CBTCT). 

“Frank was a country boy at heart and pragmatic. He’d have liked the idea of research that made a real difference. I feel hopeful that the CBTCT, with its use of genomics, will produce real change for Australians with blood cancer in the near future.” explains Robyn. 

Powering research to save lives 

More than half of Australians with blood cancer undergoing stem cell transplants face graft versus host disease (GvHD), where donated stem cells attack the body’s cells. Sadly, it often leads to irreversible damage, and over half of people with acute GvHD will die. 

CBTCT is tackling GvHD head on, leading a key trial to prevent GvHD in people receiving stem cells from siblings. 

“It’s hoped that the experimental treatment being tested will reduce GvHD rates by half – a very significant development that would lead to immediate change in practice.”
 Professor David Gottlieb, CBTCT Principal Investigator, Westmead Hospital and University of Sydney 

Changing the future through Frank’s continued care of others 

“Frank had a huge impact on my life, particularly in the way he cared for my mum during her battle with motor neurone disease. I wanted to pass on his care of others by creating a legacy in his honour that would continue to express that care,” reflects Robyn. 

“I feel optimistic knowing that out of the pain Frank endured, his life is now helping to make promising research possible. It’s been good for the soul.” 

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