IHMRI team at Great Illawarra Walk 2020

More than 700 walkers helped to raise over $125,000 for VWMD

The Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI) has received $125,544 from this year’s Great Illawarra Walk.

A total of 736 walkers trekked from Shellharbour to Austinmer, with all registration fees going towards Vanishing White Matter Disease (VWMD) research at IHMRI. 

IHMRI’s lead researcher into VWMD, Associate Professor Lezanne Ooi, said these funds keep her team working towards potential treatments.

“Rare disease funding is difficult to attract, as they may only impact a small part of the population. Chloe Saxby and Holly Burns from the Illawarra-Shoalhaven, both live with VWMD. Without support from the local community, no Australian research would be carried out into this devastating disease.”

Professor Ooi said donations from the Great Illawarra Walk have helped fast track their research.

“We found some potentially promising drug treatment options for Vanishing White Matter Disease. We will now have the financial security to continue this critical research phase over the next 12 months.”

“To be part of the Great Illawarra Walk and to see the strong support amongs the community is just incredible,” she added.

A testament to the community

Chloe Saxby’s mother Nyree, said the local generosity was even more important this year, given the recent bushfire crisis on the NSW South Coast.

“We know that people had already been through so much over the summer with the fires. They probably had fundraising fatigue trying to support their communities, but still people found that little bit extra to support vital research for Chloe and Holly.”

Great Illawarra Walk organiser Chris Lovatt said the community once again demonstrated their commitment to supporting local health and medical research.

“Walkers all enjoyed another great event supporting research into VWMD at IHMRI.”

“We recognise and thank local businesses, especially the Bendigo Bank for their generosity to this cause,” he added.

“We are also very excited to announce that we will continue to fund research into VWMD at IHMRI at the 2021 event. Registrations are now open online,:

Watch the video of the virtual cheque handover below.

Media contact

Louise Negline, Communications Coordinator

t: 4221 4702 m: 0417 044 867 e: louisenegline@ihmri.org.au

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