The ALIVE Charity Foundation, has been instrumental in raising a total of half a million euros for cancer research over its five years of fundraising. To celebrate this milestone, we spoke with WILFRED KENELY, CEO of RIDT, who explains what a difference the on-going ALIVE funding has made to medical research in Malta.
In 2013, a group of cyclists was seeking a good cause for which they could raise funds. After approaching Action for Breast Cancer Foundation (ABCF) and RIDT regarding the possibility of funding medical research, the cycling team agreed that any sum they could raise from the upcoming European cycling marathon would be supplemented by RIDT to fund a Ph.D. in breast cancer research.
Although the 34-strong cycling team had initially aimed to raise an estimated €40,000 via the hugely challenging marathon, they exceeded all expectations and finally presented €55,000 to ABCF and RIDT, money that would fund the first ALIVE Ph.D. scholarship received by breast cancer researcher Dr Shawn Baldacchino.
The success of this first fundraising event by the newly-established ALIVE Charity Foundation secured its target beneficiary as RIDT and its cause as medical research. With repeated marathons and fundraising drives, the continued donations by ALIVE to RIDT to fund medical research over the following five years would total, to-date, the unprecedented sum of half a million euros.
“The ALIVE Charity Foundation is the perfect example of how the community can come together to achieve incredible results such as this,” commented Mr Kenely. “There’s no way I can thank the team at ALIVE enough for their seemingly limitless sacrifice, dedication, determination and passion that they selflessly give, time and again, in the name of funding vital medical research.”
The current donation total to RIDT of half a million euros is an accumulation of five years of fundraising by the ALIVE team. Apart from the initial donation of €55,000 in 2013, a repeat of the European cycling marathon in 2014 raised €80,000, which funded another Ph.D. scholarship for Ms Jeannesse Scerri.
In its third year, a €100,000 donation by the Foundation paid for both a Ph.D. scholarship for Ms Giulia Vassallo and a Master’s degree in cancer immunotherapy for Mr Srdjan Tadic. ALIVE donated a further €70,000 in 2016 following a cycling challenge and, on 17th March this year, they presented RIDT with an additional cheque for €100,000.
The ALIVE Charity Foundation is also responsible for bringing medical research in Malta to the forefront of corporate funding. The Foundation has been supported over the years by a number of local organisations including RE/MAX, Maypole, Express Group, KPMG, Valletta Cruise Port and Multigas. ALIVE also approached HSBC to be a primary sponsor, resulting in the HSBC Malta Foundation financing a separate cancer research project at the University of Malta with a total of €84,114.
Mr Kenely continued, “ALIVE has managed to crystallise the idea of channelling philanthropy into research. Their intervention has meant that they have single-handedly put the subject of funding for medical research on the map. The University of Malta is producing some critical studies in medical research, most particularly in cancer research. Investment in medical research is vital in securing a sustainable and successful future. Our on-going success depends on the support of individuals, the private sector and community-financed projects, such as the ones raised by the ALIVE Charity Foundation. The substantial contribution made by ALIVE is greatly appreciated.”
The funds donated to RIDT by the ALIVE Charity Foundation have been raised almost entirely from their cycling team’s participation in gruelling annual cycling challenges across Europe, cycling thousands of kilometres through seven countries in as many days.
Mr Nicky Camilleri, Chairperson of ALIVE Charity Foundation, said, “As the first charity foundation to raise funds for medical research in Malta, and as part of the National Cancer Platform, the ALIVE Charity Foundation has always had a clear vision – that of funding the fight to prevent cancer in Malta through medical research. Through our annual cycling challenges, we have funded not only breast cancer and children’s cancer research but have also subsidised Maltese University graduates to read for a Ph.D. in specialised medical cancer research.
The sponsored research has already resulted in ground-breaking discoveries which have enabled more efficient identification of cancers in order to provide targeted treatment. This definitely means a lot to us because, within just five years since ALIVE was first established, we have made a difference by investing half a million euros in medical cancer research, by means of a sport, that of cycling.”
Furthermore, the ALIVE Charity Foundation will also soon be launching the ALIVE Cancer Research Programme. Working in collaboration with the University of Malta, the programme will facilitate Maltese researchers in the medical cancer field, increasing their opportunities to apply for funding with which they can reach their research goals.
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