The Dansick family of Geelong, first became involved with fundraising for cancer research in 1993, when their healthy twelve year old daughter, Ainsley, was suddenly diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma (a muscle tumour).
Through friends and Ainsley’s school community ‘Crazy Hat’ and ‘Head Shave’ days were organised in support of Ainsley. Her good fortune at this time was to meet her dedicated and caring oncologist, Professor George Kannourakis, then at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital. The funds raised were initially directed to Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital; however, as plans for the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Laboratory took shape at Ballarat, funds were then donated to the C.I.C.A. (Cancer in Children and Adults) group at Ballarat.
In 1994, Rhonda Roguskyj, a close family friend, decided to organise a shopping tour to Melbourne warehouse outlets. 10% of the amount spent by the shoppers on the tour is donated to a nominated beneficiary. These tours continue to be an annual event raising much need funds for the Institute.
Ainsley and her friends formed a group, matching with her wonderful sense of humour, named ‘Hair Today, Bare Tomorrow’. School events began to raise thousands of dollars. Professor Kannourakis visited the school to speak at a School Assembly, heightening the awareness of the whole school community about his research. Following Ainsley’s passing in 2001, her family and friends have continued to organise events ranging from Dinner Auctions to Talent Extravaganzas and Fashion Spectaculars. Over $100,000 has been raised by ‘Hair Today, Bare Tomorrow’ and the group has gathered a band of loyal supporters, who continue to support many fundraising initiatives.
In 2009, in memory of Ainsley, and in recogintion of the Dansick family’s dedicated support, the Ainsley Dansick Cancer Research Laboratory was opened by Professor Kerry Cox at the old St John of God site.