We’ll never forget you

Did you know 75% of us support charities in our lifetime, but only 7.5% leave a bequest to charity?

Include a Charity Week (16th – 22nd September) aims to raise awareness of the impact a bequest can make. For one week, 140 Australian charities will come together to achieve what no single charity has been able to achieve on its own – change the way Australians think about including charities in their Will.

Bequests can change the world…

Sometimes they like to be known and sometimes not. Sometimes they leave a lot and sometimes a little. But every bequest has the potential to dramatically increase our research efforts to better understand diseases and illnesses in children. One such bequest was received by CMRI in 1995:

Before the late Mrs Claire Yass made her will, she reflected on the many positive things she might do with her estate. She considered gifts and bequests in various forms, appraising the work and worthiness of charitable institutes who are in constant need of funds to fulfil their important roles in society.

There was an area in which Mrs Yass was particularly interested – she knew she wanted to do something that would improve the lives of children. After her death in 1995, CMRI was contacted and advised of her $520,000 bequest.

In discussion with the executor of her will, it was agreed to use this generous amount to fund a post-graduate research position in perpetuity, and the Yass Memorial Scholarship was established in 1998.

The first student to complete his PhD as a recipient of this scholarship was Dr Christian Toouli, working in our Cancer Research Unit, whose studies on the enzyme telomerase have given new understandings into the causes of cancer. CMRI remains hopeful that this continued research will lead to new, less toxic and more effective treatments for cancer, and ultimate prevention of the disease.

The current holder of this scholarship is Ms Claire Deakin, working in our Gene Therapy Unit, who is helping to improve the long-term safety and efficacy of gene therapy treatments for SCIDX1 deficiency (where a single genetic change results in a child being born without an effective immune system). Clinical trials for this disease, conducted by the Gene Therapy Unit, are currently underway and Claire’s work will contribute to reducing side effects from the treatment.

The late Mr and Mrs Yass both came to Australia from Europe in 1938, and her husband, Mr Emery Yass, established Tennyson Textiles, a successful, local manufacturer of fabrics. It later became a publicly listed company and was eventually purchased by Dunlop. Mrs Yass has left a lasting legacy – a commitment to research is an investment in the future with the potential to ensure an improvement in the lives of many children affected by disease.

For more information contact CMRI Philanthropy and Community Development General Manager Stephen Ryall d: +61 2 8865 2903 e: sryall@cmri.org.au

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