Busselton teenager Baxter Hutchinson has smashed his fundraising target to raise a massive $462,760 for brain cancer research.
Bolstered by contributions from Minderoo Foundation’s Eliminate Cancer initiative, Baxter raised the funds after walking 5 kilometres in the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation’s Walk4BrainCancer Perth. This was an impressive feat considering only seven weeks prior the 17-year-old was unable to feel his arms or legs, swallow or see after surgery to remove one of his two malignant brain tumours.
When Minderoo Foundation chairman Andrew Forrest learned of Baxter’s inspiring story and his journey with medullosblastoma – a common and often deadly form of brain tumour in children – he and the team at Minderoo’s Eliminate Cancer initiative reached out to support Baxter’s family.
His campaign, which kicked off in October, was given a strong start when Eliminate Cancer promised to dollar match the total raised.
The determined teenager fundraised an incredible $111,380 with the help of his community in the south-west, and the support of the nation, in only a few short weeks. Tour de Cure Australia generously donated a further $50,000, along with an additional $20,000 from Hills of Orange Charity Ride, taking Baxter’s fundraising total to $181,380.
And, because he achieved his $100,000 target Minderoo Foundation’s Eliminate Cancer initiative then donated a further $100,000 bonus, bringing Baxter’s overall total to a staggering $462,760.
Surprised with the news from Tour de Cure and Forrest on Channel Ten’s Sunrise program an emotional Baxter said he was overwhelmed to have reached his target.
“I can’t describe how much I can thank you in words to be honest, everything you’ve both done for me is massive,” Baxter said.
“I don’t know how to describe it but it’s just amazing and the fact that I’ve completed my goal has made me stoked.
“Andrew’s challenge gave me something to strive for each day, a goal to work towards and something to focus on, other than things like treatment and getting my own body better.
“I want to fundraise as much money as possible so that kids have an easier time going through any type of brain cancer in the future.”
Baxter’s mother Caz Hutchinson said there were no words to describe how proud she was of him.
“From the bottom of our hearts, thanks everyone for all their love and their support, because we couldn’t have done it without everyone backing us and supporting us, we’ve been so overwhelmed by everyone’s support,” she said.
Brain cancer kills more children then any other disease in Australia and more young adults under 40 then any other cancer. The five-year survival rate for brain cancer is just 22 per cent and in the last thirty years that figure has barely changed.
It’s not the first time Minderoo has teamed up with Cure Brain Cancer Foundation has to fight the disease. In 2017, Minderoo was instrumental in the establishment of the Australian Brain Cancer Mission – a landmark $105 million plan to double brain cancer survival in ten years and improve patients’ quality of life.
Minderoo also dollar-matched the fundraising efforts of young brain cancer survivor Jacob Trzecinski at 2017’s Walk4BrainCancer Manly, raising more than $300,000 for the cause.