One gift saved 20 million lives

George Frederick Carden imagined a future where there was a cure for cancer when he bequeathed 70,000 pounds (about $5 million in today’s money) back in 1945.

The Melbourne businessman and former Alderman (councillor) of Melbourne City Council, was lifelong governor of the Children’s Hospital. Mr Carden had wide business interests in the city and was connected with the motion picture industry in the northern suburbs. He supported many charities and was a life governor of the Children's Hospital.

He donated the money to Cancer Council Victoria (then known as Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria) for the purpose of research into ‘the cause and cure of cancer’ and it was earmarked to support a fellowship for a worthy medical researcher.

Mr Carden’s gift allowed one researcher to imagine a future with ground-breaking treatments and resulted in millions of lives saved worldwide.

This researcher was Professor Donald Metcalf. The Anti-Cancer Council Victoria spent years looking for a researcher worthy of Mr Carden’s gift. They settled on the young Professor who went on to spend most of his time discovering, isolating, and producing agents called Colony Stimulating Factors (CSFs), which are the naturally occurring regulators of bone marrow growth.

Research

Professor Metcalf was able to see his work in the lab translate into treatments for cancer patients. Licensed for general use in 1990, an estimated 20 million patients worldwide have received CSFs as part of their cancer treatment.

His painstaking and dedicated research over six decades contributed significantly to how we understand and treat cancer.

This all started with a Gift in Will.