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By Brendan Rees

A spectacular night of 1920s elegance and jazzy revelling was embraced by 220 guests at a ‘Great Gatsby’ themed ball held at Bunjil Place on Saturday 14 April.
The event, organised by cancer victim Effie Atkins, raised $65,000 to help boost the number of patients to undertake Monash Health’s Clinical Cancer Trials.
There was plenty of fashion and styles with guests arriving in vintage cars before being welcomed with canapes and champagne.
Head of the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (Monash University) Professor Eric Morand and Latrobe MP Jason Wood were among the special guests.
Ms Atkins said she was overwhelmed by the generosity of all the sponsors and the community’s support.
“We knew we were fighting for a worthy cause but have been so humbled by all the help that has made this event such an amazing success,” she said.
“A very special thank you to our major sponsors, Mercedes Benz Berwick, Melbourne Racing Club and the wonderful team at Harcourt Real Estate Berwick.”
Ms Atkins also hosted a High Tea fundraiser at Wilson Botanic Park in Berwick last November which raised $10,000.
Ms Atkins turned her life around after undergoing an experimental trial at Monash Hospital – a new form of cancer treatment that mobilises a person’s immune system to fight the disease.
Her daughter Kerry Georgiou said they hoped to raise $135,000 per year over the next three years.
“This will help Monash Health employ an extra oncology fellow that will in turn add over 100 extra people to these clinical cancer trials,” she said.
“Incredibly, over 80 per cent of patients on these trials are responding. That means their cancers are decreasing size, resolving and walking away in remission. Even more incredible, the side effects are very minor and in some cases non-existent,” Ms Georgiou said.
Director of Oncology at Monash Health and Monash University Professor Eva Segelov said “By funding more Clinical Trials fellows, with a particular emphasis on genomics (understanding the specific DNA changes in the patient and their cancer), we hope to see many more patients have remarkable and durable responses to cancer treatment, with minimal side effects, just like Effie.”
Member for Gembrook Brad Battin said the Great Gatsby function was a huge success.
“It was a tribute to the great work in Cancer Research. Effie and her team do so much for the local community and from all of us we want to say thank you,” he said.
Latrobe MP Jason Wood said the money raised was an amazing achievement.
“I congratulate Effie and the committee for the event. To try and raise $135,000 and to be half way of reaching that mark is really kind and generous,” he said.
If you wish to donate to the campaign, please visit https://mhfcreate.everydayhero.com/au/drhopedinnerdance.

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