Robert Connor Dawes Foundation

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Sandringham, Victoria, Australia
CBTN Executive Council


Why did you start your foundation?

Inspired by a big heart and brain, the Robert Connor Dawes (RCD) Foundation was created in June 2013 in the memory of American-born Robert ‘Connor’ Dawes, who at just 18 years of age, lost his 16-month battle with brain cancer. The RCD Foundation works tirelessly to support brain matters projects in the areas of research, care and development – to fund the science to end pediatric brain cancer and support patients in the meantime.

The foundation operates in Australia and the U.S., where brain cancer kills more children than any other disease. RCD fund crucial research projects to improve treatment options, support young patients with at home rehabilitation like music therapy, and inspire and fund the next generation of brain cancer practitioners and researchers through development initiatives.

Brain cancer kills more children than any other disease, yet remains critically underfunded. Few new effective treatments mean that 80% of children diagnosed with high-grade tumours still lose their battle within five years. Survival rates have barely changed in 30 years and we think it’s time to change those odds.

What are your foundation's goals?

Our goal is to help change the odds for young people with brain cancer, by funding innovative new research, clinical trials, forging international collaborations and helping educate the next generation of researchers.

What is the focus area of your efforts?

Our foundation focuses on pediatric brain cancer projects in the areas of research, care, and development.

We’re contributing funds to pediatric brain cancer research to enable researchers to further understand and more completely treat brain tumours, including earlier detection, surgery and post surgery treatments.

We support families by organizing and funding emotionally invaluable rehabilitation therapies and home assistance. During treatment, Connor had weekly music and yoga therapy on top of his standard rehabilitation. These programs, which give comfort to both the patient and the family, are often not covered by insurance.

We aim to inspire the next generation of brain cancer practitioners & researchers. Through awareness programs, PhD scholarships and youth engagement activities, we’re putting brain matters on the map.

In which ways do you support the brain tumor community?

Besides funding research and development projects, we’ve created an unofficial community for families who have children with brain cancer, and we provide support to these families where we can. We also provide music therapy grants for children and young adults under 25 years of age.

We continue to collaborate with other likeminded charities and have recently announced our Impactus initiative. Impactus is an independent, coordinated, collaborative initiative of the Robert Connor Dawes Foundation. Bringing together like-minded charities, philanthropists, stakeholders and the research community, Impactus aims to understand and track the status of pediatric brain cancer research in Australia and how it connects globally.

The foundation is proud to partner with a well-respected, multi-institutional research program such as the CBTN. We believe global collaboration is vital for progress to be made to one day find a cure for pediatric brain cancer.