Daniela and her husband Tony co-founded the Isabella and Marcus Foundation after their son, Marcus was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer – Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), which typically occurs in children under the age of twelve.
They co-founded the foundation with Isabella’s family, another child who passed from DIPG.
Daniela’s son, Marcus, passed away on 15 November 2009, just nine weeks after his diagnosis and surrounded by his family and friends. His tumour was donated to medical research in the pursuit to extend and improve the quality of life for children diagnosed with brainstem tumours. Brain cancer kills more children than any other disease in Australia and those diagnosed with DIPG, like Marcus, typically pass away within a year.
Brain cancer research in children is underfunded and underlies why there are no treatments for DIPG. The only option available is radiotherapy, which temporarily reduces symptoms. In order to address this the Isabella and Marcus Foundation is funding desperately needed research to develop treatments. Specifically, the foundation provides grants for basic research and is addressing the shortfall of scientists by funding PhD scholarships to train more young scientists and through symposia, it brings together leading researchers to discuss their ideas and latest research.
Currently, the foundation is funding ten PhD Scholarships in Australia. These Scholarships are named in memory of children who have sadly lost their battle with brain cancer. The foundation is also a major sponsor of research conducted in the Misty Jenkins Lab in WEHI, Parkville., with Dr Jenkins working on novel research to address treatments of brainstem tumours in children.
Through their work, the foundation is also increasing the general profile of brain cancer by actively lobbying government so children’s brain cancer becomes a priority. In 2023 they are funding a clinical trial which will run in all children’s hospitals throughout Australia to treat brainstem tumours with novel medications/radiation. This will be free to all patients.
Fundraising is the key to the work of the Isabella and Marcus Foundation and Daniela, along with her co- founders are passionate in driving the work of the foundation in their pursuit to extend and improve the quality of life for children with brain cancer and ultimately to find a cure.
Find out more regarding Daniela’s incredible work at www.isabellaandmarcusfoundation.org