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Brainstorm for a Cure

Anna Riddel

I’m going to tell you about the biggest party in Canberra this year, but first you need to know why it’s being held.

I grew up in a house where brain tumours were a common topic. My uncle is a brain surgeon and as a child I would constantly hear about the brain tumours he had removed.

Constantly, not rarely.

Yet no one outside my family, no media, ever seemed to talk about brain cancer. Why? The brain seems to be taboo. It shocks people when you say it. When there is something wrong with the brain, it seems to become more personal. The disease takes over the place where you think. It’s not a limb for which we can make a prosthetic: you can’t cut off your brain.

This year at The Logies, Carrie Bickmore made a point of raising awareness of brain cancer by talking about it during her acceptance speech. Finally someone is talking about it publicly. It’s time to stop ignoring Brain Cancer. Once you read the statistics you’ll understand why.

Facts about brain cancer

Brain cancer kills more children than any other disease in Australia. Only 2 in 10 people will survive brain cancer for five years and that has been the case for 
the last 30 years.

Brain cancer costs more per patient than any other cancer. It receives a small fraction of research funding – less than 5% of NHMRC cancer 
research funding.

What if it were your child or mother or brother or husband? How would you react once you found out that this disease is the biggest disease killing children in Australia? Those funding amounts seem, well, rather small in comparison to the prevalence of brain cancer.

Brainstorm for a Cure was conceived in 2014 by then 39 year old Canberran, Sarah Mamalai, who lost five friends to brain cancer. Sarah has also personally experienced brain cancer and is one of the very few long-term survivors of the disease, which kills more people under 40 than any other cancer.

What Sarah did was change the conversation. She decided to make awareness about hope, instead of devastation.

“I’ve suffered and my family have suffered the impacts of brain cancer, it’s a deadly disease, but there is HOPE – the good news is that more people are learning about the horrendous statistics, and are inspired to DO something! The strength of community in Canberra may surprise people elsewhere, but I’m not surprised – I’ve experienced it with Brainstorm and am eternally grateful for the support we’ve received.” says Sarah.

Last year for her 40th birthday Sarah hosted Brainstorm for a Cure, a party night fundraiser for The Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. It was such a success that this year it’s back for round two, and it might just be the biggest party in Canberra this year.

Brainstorm for a Cure founder Sarah Mamalai at the 2014 fundraiser

Brainstorm for a Cure founder Sarah Mamalai at the 2014 fundraiser


Yes you get to wear a pretty dress. Yes you will get a seat at a round table; but don’t be deceived, it will be more fun than any fundraiser you’ve ever been to and you will end up dancing the night away.

Legendary Aussie rockers, Baby Animals, have named the fundraising event as their exclusive Canberra show on an upcoming national tour. The band, which cemented its name in music charts across the USA and Australia during the 90s (“Early Warning”, “Rush You”), will headline Brainstorm for a Cure’s second Party for Hope gala event on Saturday 8 August, in support of Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.

Joining them on stage will be acoustic soul band Tuchasoul, Canberran trio Kaleid, and 17 year old local singer, Ned Philpot, who is due to feature on high-octane Australian television series, The Crew Generation 2 later this year.

Sarah Mamalai at the 2014 fundraiser

Sarah Mamalai at the 2014 fundraiser

There is still time to get some friends together and buy a seat or put a table together or provide sponsorship, there will also be an auction on the night and a whole lot of dancing. So bring your dancing shoes and a heart full of life to party the night away.

To book a table go to brainstormforacure.com.au or call 1300 362 965. For corporate tables and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Amanda Fintan on 0407 934 067. Ticket sales close soon, so don’t delay!

the essentials:

What: Brainstorm for a Cure’s Party for Hope Gala Event
When: Saturday 8 August
Where: Australian Institute of Sport
How much: $185 per head or $1,750 per table of 10


Anna Riddel

Anna Riddel is a singer, director, keynote speaker and a passionate teacher. In 2012, her song Breathe, received a runner up position in the USA International Song Of The Year Songwriting Contest. Anna is currently a Voice tutor at NIDA, as well as a tutor in Music Pedagogy at UNSW. Her company Speak Don’t Talk consults on voice and communication across a range of industries. Anna is an avid Brumbies fan and a self professed coffee snob. Follow her on twitter @annariddel More about the Author

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