A Newcastle man and his two daughters have now raised almost $300,000 to support local people with breast cancer following last night’s (Saturday April 21) fourth Pink Frangipani Ball.
Andrea Rufo’s wife Sandra Rufo died of breast cancer in 2005. He and his daughters, Giordana and Jessica, have been holding a Pink Frangipani Ball every two years in memory of Sandra. The Pink Frangipani was Sandra’s favourite flower.
This year’s ball raised $80,000, the most of any of the balls to date, taking the total raised to $291,000 since the first ball was held in 2006.
Mr Rufo said that the funds raised from this year’s ball would be used for vital local research into breast cancer as well as to help improve breast cancer services locally. He said $50,000 would be used by Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) to offer research grants.
The other $30,000 will be used to establish a three-year scholarship to enable a nurse to train to become an oncology nurse practitioner at Newcastle’s Mater Hospital.
More than 400 people attended the Ball at Wests Leagues Club including cricketing legend Doug Walters and Australian golfer Craig Parry. Local MPs Tim Owen and Andrew Cornwell also attended.
At the Ball Mr Rufo said that thanks to the support of the organising committee, those attending the ball and local businesses he had no doubt that the lives of local women would be saved.
Mr Rufo’s employer, Greater Building Society, as well as Rankin and Nathan Lawyers, Alliance Insurance, Labour Co-op and McGregor & McGregor Chartered Accountants have been major sponsors of every Pink Frangipani Ball.
Sandra was just 29 years of age when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994. After a courageous 10-year battle, Sandra passed away on 24 April 2005, aged just 39.
“I made a promise to Sandra that her love, tenacity and courage would live on to help and inspire others,” Mr Rufo said.
Funds from the 2010 Ball supported HMRI research by Dr Kelly Avery-Kiejda, Professor Rodney Scott and Professor John Forbes to investigate a possible prognostic indicator in breast cancer, specifically p53 that is known to suppress breast cancer.
HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.