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Brain cancer charity CEO attempts first-ever South Pole trek in the name of brain cancer

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

[AUSTRALIA] No challenge is too intimidating for Lance Kawaguchi - not even curing brain cancer.

The Cure Brain Cancer Foundation CEO has announced he will be completing a trek to the South Pole in order to raise awareness and funds for cancer research.

The trek is the first time anyone has attempted a mission to the South Pole in the name of brain cancer. Kawaguchi is calling on donors and sponsors around Australia and beyond to help raise as much as possible ahead of this historic moment.

Kawaguchi will tackle the arduous South Pole trek this December, navigating sub-freezing temperatures, hostile terrains and inhospitable conditions.

He isn’t afraid to make his goal loud and clear: to end brain cancer for good.

“In Australia, a classroom of children dies every year of brain cancer. But the lack of funding for brain cancer research keeps researchers away from labs and discoveries and leaves patients devoid of new treatments,” said Kawaguchi.

The CEO is already partnering with charities across Australia, the UK, the US, and Hong Kong, including the Asian Fund for Cancer Research, the Glioblastoma Research Organization and the National Foundation for Cancer Research.

Cure Brain Cancer Foundation has chosen to work with these charities specifically because they have a female CEO or chairperson on their board, with gender equality, inclusion and diversity being important values for both the charity and Kawaguchi personally.

Other charities supporting the trek include The Wolfy Foundation, which was founded a decade ago after David Wolf lost his battle with brain cancer at the age of 23. Other supporters include Alysha’s Army and Aaron’s Wish, both community-based organisations honouring the loss of their children. All organisations have been working tirelessly to raise critical funds for brain cancer research.

Kawaguchi and Cure Brain Cancer Foundation are calling on more charities, not-for-profits, and investors to come together to raise critical funds for cancer research, with brain cancer being one of the most underfunded forms of cancer.

When Kawaguchi’s mother, Katherine, was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, her final words stuck with Kawaguchi, who had been working as a successful financier in London: “You’re very successful in finance and business, but I’d like you to carve out… some time… and I want you to give back to social impact.”

After much soul-searching, Kawaguchi decided to commit to doing good full-time.

He chose to focus on brain cancer after learning that it is the most common form of children’s cancer in Australia, accounting for around 40% of all children’s cancer deaths, with a low recovery rate of just 22 percent.

Kawaguchi joined Cure Brain Cancer Foundation in 2021, an organisation that aims to improve brain cancer survival by advocating for better patient care, funding world-class brain cancer research ($30 million has been committed to date), and improving awareness around a devastating form of cancer that is incredibly difficult to treat.

“For a selected few a trek to the South Pole is a test of their endurance, for others a milestone of their physical and mental accomplishment, but what if it were more than that?” said Kawaguchi.

“I want my trek to the South Pole to put brain cancer research on the global map, and create a force multiplier effect that will echo around the world. This is a fantastic opportunity for an Australian charity to rally others across the world and lead them to the pinnacle of Earth to raise awareness for people impacted by cancer.”

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