Cervical Cancer Foundation “Exceeds Wildest Expectations”
8 December 2011 at 4:33 pm
A charity set up to provide free cervical cancer vaccines for girls in developing countries – the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation (ACCF) – says its first three years of operation have greatly exceeded even the wildest expectations of its founders.
The Foundation was set up by alumni and associates of the The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) based at QUT.
Co-founded by ACPNS Research Fellow Linda Lavarch and headed by ACPNS alumnus Joe Tooma, the organisation says it has a strong connection with the Centre.
Professor Ian Frazer, Australian of the Year in 2006 and several close colleagues including Mike Wille, OAM, Lenore Wille and Linda Lavarch (ACPNS Researcher) initially founded ACCF with the aim of providing free life-saving cervical cancer vaccine to girls in the developing world.
In places like Nepal, where cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women and the average income is only a few dollars a day, it is impossible for governments to introduce free vaccination, as is available for girls in Australia.
In early 2008 ACCF's Mike and Lenore Wille arrived in Nepal with 12 vaccines and the hope that one day it would be possible to vaccinate 1000 girls annually.
“Astoundingly, in the following three years, vaccination has been facilitated for 15,000 girls in Nepal, 55,000 in Bhutan and 3,000 in Kiribati. ACCF has won an award from Westpac in Brisbane for Business Excellence and international recognition from Public Affairs Asia Gold Standard Awards for the National Vaccination Partnership in Bhutan,” says the Foundation.
After graduating with a Masters degree from ACPNS, CEO, Joe Tooma became ACCF's first employee in 2008. In 2011 there are six paid employees and revenue has grown from $50,000 to $ 1million dollars per year without government funding.
Support for overseas programs and Australian awareness and support programs comes from diverse groups including Priceline Pharmacies, the Brisbane Broncos and Holding Redlich Solicitors.
“ACCF's most exciting innovation engages supporters in 'volunTOURing'. School groups or adult groups and individuals from all walks of life, can have a really life changing experience, raising funds for cervical cancer, then taking part in a hands-on community activity and be immersed in the culture of a developing country where ACCF works with local partners”, it says.