Medical Oncologist Doctor Matthew Burge has been awarded the Fundraiser of the Year Award by the Australasian Gastro-Intestinal Trials Group (AGITG) for his incredible fundraising for Gastro-intestinal (GI) cancer research. With the support of his patients and their families, Dr Burge has raised over $47,000 this year for non-profit clinical trials finding better treatments for GI cancer.
As a medical oncologist, Dr Burge sees how important research is for his patients every day. Dr Burge leads clinical trials himself, and is aware of the improvements they can make to patients’ outcomes. He is currently the Study Chair of the MONARCC trial, investigating whether a ‘lighter’ form of chemotherapy could be more tolerable for elderly colorectal cancer patients.
Despite his busy workload, conducting research and treating patients, Dr Burge has made time to raise funds for vital clinical trials. He partnered with the GI Cancer Institute, the community arm of the AGITG, and has raised $47,240 this year as part of the ‘Gutsy Challenge’.
100% of the funds he has raised will go towards the Innovation Fund. This fund provides a grant of up to $200,000 each year to a researcher conducting new research in GI cancer with the potential to change medical practice.
His incredible achievements this year were not his first foray into fundraising. He climbed Argentina’s Mt Aconcagua in 2017, the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere, for his first Gutsy Challenge team adventure.
“Taking on my first Gutsy Challenge in 2017 was life changing and one of the best things I’ve ever done,” says Dr Burge. “I’m very humbled and very thankful to my patients and their families that have supported me. It is because of them that my achievements are recognised by this award. I will keep pushing forward and fundraising into the future as much as I can, and I’m looking forward to the next Gutsy Challenge when COVID finally settles down.”
Chair of the AGITG and GI Cancer Institute, Dr Lorraine Chantrill says, “Dr Burge has shown incredible commitment to GI cancer research and his patients through this fundraising. Our research would not be possible without the support of the community through fundraising. We are proud to have Dr Burge representing us as both a researcher and a dedicated fundraiser.”
Dr Burge’s fundraising efforts are so important because GI cancer research is often neglected and underfunded. This is reflected in the five-year survival rate for GI cancer, which on average is just 51%. In comparison, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 92%, and for prostate cancer is 95%.
For more information visit: gicancer.org.au
The Australasian Gastro-Intestinal Trials Group (AGITG) is a multidisciplinary collaborative research organisation that conducts clinical trials and related biological research. Membership encompasses a wide range of medical specialists, scientists, nurses, allied health professionals and consumers involved in all aspects of gastro-intestinal (GI) cancer research.
It is the only Australian not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving the health and quality of life of patients with GI cancer by developing and conducting impartial and collaborative multi-disciplinary research.