Cure Kids marks 2020 Red Nose Day by highlighting health research breakthroughs

Friday 31st July, 2020

Years of health research and significant breakthroughs are being celebrated as part of Red Nose Day 2020 on July 31, with the launch of a report by Cure Kids, the largest charitable funder of child health research in New Zealand.

The Our Breakthroughs Report by Cure Kids provides independent evaluations of the research projects it has funded throughout its nearly 50-year history, and systematically demonstrates measurable benefits to the health of children.

Cure Kids CEO Frances Benge says many dedicated researchers that Cure Kids supports devote their entire careers to finding solutions for an array of health issues, ranging from childhood cancers, inherited heart conditions and cystic fibrosis to sudden unexpected death in infants (SUDI), stillbirth, burns, and child and adolescent mental health.

“Cure Kids exists to help the thousands of children living with serious health conditions, and we are incredibly proud to support world-leading health researchers who work tirelessly to improve the way these conditions are diagnosed and treated.

Since 1971, Cure Kids funded researchers have contributed to a breadth of life- changing medical breakthroughs that are benefitting children in New Zealand and in many cases, around the world. These breakthroughs include:

  1. Prevention of 200 sudden unexpected deaths in infancy every year Cure Kids funded a study of risk factors for sudden unexpected deaths in infancy, leading to advice on safe sleep environments which has prevented 200 deaths every year
  2. Identification of risks to reduce stillbirth by 50% A study on maternal sleep position partly funded by Cure Kids led to advice which could reduce the risk of stillbirth by 50%
  3. Innovative treatment for brain injury in infants Cure Kids funding contributed to the development of a brain-cooling cap, to limit or reverse damage caused by brain injury in babies
  4. Invention of a patented car-seat insert Cure Kids funding for a study on babies’ breathing led to the invention of a patented car-seat insert to improve safety
  5. Demonstration that babies born at 23–24 weeks can survive Cure Kids funded a study that provided evidence that babies born prematurely at 23– 24 weeks can survive and thrive
  6. Generated full-thickness human skin in a lab Cure Kids helped fund a study to engineer full-thickness human skin in the laboratory, using the patient’s own skin cells, to enable treatment for burns or scalds
  7. Diagnosis of cystic fibrosis at birth, increasing life expectancy by decades Cure Kids’ founder, Sir Bob Elliott, discovered a blood test (newborn heel-prick) to diagnose cystic fibrosis (CF) at birth, enabling earlier treatment and therefore increasing the life expectancy for babies born with CF around the

Benge says this year the charity is facing significant funding restraints, with COVID- 19 having a huge impact on major Cure Kids events and retail counter opportunities that are traditionally critical fundraisers for the charity.

“2020 is a tough year financially for New Zealanders, businesses and charities. We wanted to share the positive impacts of Cure Kids’ funded research and let Kiwis know these breakthroughs have been made possible because of their donations. More than ever we’ll be relying on the generosity of New Zealanders to continue funding research that will improve the health outcomes of our children.

“This year’s Red Nose Day campaign features four Cure Kids child ambassadors who represent the research we are funding.

“Our brave ambassadors are an important aspect of how the public learns about our work, helping to put real-life faces and names to Cure Kids’ outcomes-driven research.

“They want New Zealanders to know that seeing lots of Kiwis with their digital red noses makes them feel like the country is getting behind them and helping to power the important research that will help them live longer and healthier lives.”

Red Nose Day ambassadors like 12-year-old Eva often develop strong bonds with the scientists who dedicate their careers to researching ways to improve the lives of babies and children with serious health conditions.

Eva, who was born with half a diaphragm and battles an ongoing struggle with a hospital-acquired MRSA bug, and microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles have developed a bond over Siouxsie’s fight to find answers for Eva’s condition.

In 2020, Cure Kids is embracing a digital-first response to fundraising, through a fun

‘Red Nose’ social media donation filter and text-to-donate platform.

To access the Cure Kids Red Nose filter, go to Donations can be made: