Charity has saved the lives of thousands of youngsters

By Martin Johnston

Profitable investments give Cure Kids the ability to provide money for research into cancers, heart disease

Weston Playcentre pupils Reuben Francis, Jack Hacquoil and Donny Houghton put on their Red Nose's in support of the appeal that raises money for Cure Kids. Photo / Jessie Waite
Weston Playcentre pupils Reuben Francis, Jack Hacquoil and Donny Houghton put on their Red Nose's in support of the appeal that raises money for Cure Kids. Photo / Jessie Waite

Cure Kids began life as the Child Health Research Foundation in 1975.

Chief executive Vicki Lee said its founders, who were from the Rotary organisation, wanted to do something to bring down New Zealand's infant mortality rate, which at the time was high for a developed country.

It has grown to become a significant funder of research into stillbirth, cancer, rheumatic heart disease and numerous other conditions that afflict children.

Last year it reported total income of $10.6 million, of which 8.9 per cent was spent on administration.

Income from public and corporate donations was $4.1 million and $6.5 million came from investments.

Cure Kids has built up investments of $32 million from commercialising intellectual property from research, such as from the A2 milk patent and from a children's asthma device with a ring-tone.

The charity says many thousands of children's lives have been saved, improved and extended - in New Zealand and around the world - because of research it has funded, including studies on cot death, abnormal heart rhythms and leukaemia.

It pays for research ranging from summer studentships, through to the projects of PhD candidates and three professorships at the universities of Auckland and Otago.

Ms Lee said the commitment was to support the three university professorial positions permanently, which was why it was important to build up investments.

Plans were being laid to establish two more professorial chairs, which would each require investment funds of $4 million to $5 million.

"We want to grow New Zealand talent and keep it here in research. If that means bringing some of the talent back to New Zealand we could play our part.

"The gap is in research fellowship funding.

"We want to play a more important role in that."

She highlighted the expanded project on reducing stillbirths, which Cure Kids has funded from the start of the first study that produced surprising findings on the potential effect of a pregnant woman's sleeping position.

- NZ Herald

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