Ride For Lily To Support Children’s Brain Cancer Research

Murdoch Children's Research Institute

A team of dedicated parents and cyclists will ride 1000km from Melbourne through regional Victoria to support children’s brain cancer research at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI).

The 2024 Ride for Lily, starting at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) on April 1, aims to raise $300,000 for both MCRI and the Childrens’ Cancer Institute.

The annual ride is led by the Live for Lily Foundation, which was set up in 2014 to honour Lily Hester who died at age nine from liver cancer.

The ride, also known as the Vélo de Vic, is being ridden this year in memory of Alex Preston, who passed away from brain cancer at age nine. His parents David and Tanya Preston will be retracing the journey their family made when Alex was diagnosed.

The Vélo de Vic begins in Parkville and continues to King Lake, Mansfield, Bright, Metung, through the Dandenong Ranges and back to the Melbourne Children’s Campus.

A map of the Ride for Lily 2024 course

Image: The 2024 Ride for Lily course

Previous fundraising efforts for the Ride for Lily have established the Lily Hester Early Career Cancer Researcher at MCRI. This role is currently held by Dr Morgan Marshall, who was appointed in 2023 to study the inner workings of a deadly brain cancer known as Diffuse Midline Glioma.

“We see eight children diagnosed with Diffuse Midline Glioma each year and there has been little progress in terms of decreasing mortality rates in the last 20 years of research and treatment,” Dr Marshall said.

“We are working to eventually find a ‘molecular switch’ in DMG that would make the recurring tumour grow in a more accessible area of the brain after initial treatments, so surgeons can remove it more easily.”

Cancer researcher Dr Morgan Marshall in a Live for Lily beanie

Image: MCRI researcher Dr Morgan Marshall wearing her ‘Live for Lily’ beanie

Dr Marshall said she was honoured to work with the Live for Lily Foundation and support the annual Vélo de Vic.

“I feel lucky that I get to be ingrained in this process as a researcher and that I get to meet the riders, sponsors and operations team,” she said.

“Thanks to their support I am not just given every opportunity to do great science, I am networking with people and developing my soft skills, with the ultimate mission to see a world without childhood brain cancer.”

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