Perkins alumnus, Matthew Eton, is facing an important fight.
In May this year, Matthew was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma – a subtype of the rare bone and connective tissue cancer – for the second time in five years.
As a show of support while Matthew undergoes chemo, his partner Max Qua has shaved her waist long, uncoloured hair which had not been touched by scissors for over five years.
Both Matthew and Max have a background in medical science and recognise that ground-breaking research is the only way to find new treatments for disease.
Matthew has worked as a researcher with BRITElab, a biomedical engineering laboratory at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. He now works with Azure Consulting.
His partner Max is also a medical researcher and says she has seen first-hand how important medical research is for producing better outcomes for patients.
“When Matt was diagnosed, I did a big trawl through all the scientific literature I could find about this particular type of cancer. I realised that relative to many other cancers and medical conditions, the science of sarcoma is not too well understood, with comparatively limited research,” Max said.
“There are gaps that need to be filled, and a scarcity of funding available to fill them.”
Sarcoma is a rare type of cancer in adults, representing just 1% of all adult cancers while disproportionately affecting young people, with 20% of childhood cancers (ages 0-15) and 10% of adolescent cancers diagnoses (15-25) attributed to sarcoma.
During July, which is also Sarcoma Awareness Month, the pair announced that their fundraising efforts had netted a remarkable figure for sarcoma research.
“We’ve raised over $30,000 which is the annual scholarship of a full-time PhD candidate. We’re hoping this will help fund new research that could help improve diagnosis, treatment and understanding of sarcoma,” Matthew said.
“We’re astounded at the generosity that has been shown to support research into this rare group of cancers. We can’t thank our donors enough. Pursuing research like this will hopefully lead to treatments with higher response rates and fewer adverse side effects, so others don’t have to go through what I have.”
The pair are raising funds for Sock it to Sarcoma!, a charity that offers support and awareness and provides funding for innovative sarcoma research.
Sock it to Sarcoma! has supported sarcoma research at the Harry Perkins Institute through the work of A/Prof. Evan Ingley and his team, who have uncovered new sarcoma genes that offer hope as potential future drug targets.
To learn more about Matt and Max’s story, head to https://www.facebook.com/donate/260301718537415/270827650818155/