AUCTIONING a pen of prime lambs created the attention Marg Nicholson had hoped in raising awareness for homegrown cancer research.
Grazier Rod Marshall donated the sale of the five-month-old lambs in Marg's memory, six weeks after her death from ovarian cancer. Marg, a former high school teacher, was 66 years old.
This was a move the couple from Morrl Morrl, north of Stawell, had spoken about. They wanted to generate interest and intrigue among the farming community for the work of Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute in Ballarat.
And Mr Marshall reckoned Marg would be "pretty chuffed" with the result from Miners Rest saleyards on Tuesday morning - the pen sold for $350 per head, raising almost $9000.
WATCH the auction below
"It's a special price for the occasion, a bit above market value. But I think the buyers made a bit of an agreement beforehand to make a special bid," Mr Marshall said.
"We hoped it was a novel way of doing a fundraiser so more people would know about the institute...We wanted to let people know there is a cancer research institute in western Victoria and it is the only cancer research institute in regional Australia.
"(FECRI) links up with other centres around the world and do so much for ovarian cancer research."
We hoped it was a novel way of doing a fundraiser so more people would know about the institute.Western district grazier Rod Marshall
Mr Marshall said he and Marg were aware there was cancer research being made in Ballarat but they only really became aware what kind of work FECRI was doing and how this fit into international research efforts once Marg was diagnosed a couple of years ago.
Until the auction, the couple had made private donations to FECRI but wanted to now go public.
Ovarian cancer is known as the silent killer for the subtle and varied ways it can take hold. Symptoms can range from tiredness, unexplained weight fluctuation, changes in bowel habits, persistent bloating, abdominal or pelvic pain, feeling full after eating a small amount and needing to urinate often.
Mr Nicholson said this made the cancer so hard to diagnose and once detected, often in late stages, the nature of the cancer made it hard to treat.
Ovarian cancer cells tend to develop resistance to chemotherapy, often after good initial responses to the treatment.
FECRI's team, led by Professor Nuzhat Ahmed, are working to find paths for a patient's immune system to attack the cancer and give women a better chance of fighting the disease for longer.
The five-year survival rate of ovarian cancer patients has remained unchanged, about 40 per cent, the past three decades. Each year 1400 Australian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and almost 800 women die from the disease annually.
Mr Marshall hoped the special auction would at least get more farmers talking about the disease and chipping in to help fight the killer with research.
FECRI has 11 senior scientific staff and nine PhD candidates from Federation University Australia. Other research achievements include discovering misbehaving bowel cells that promote bowel cancer, a new immune subset in histiocytic disorders and a new method for isolating new viruses.
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