Life-changing research to be showcased at Telethon Family Festival 2021

13/10/2021 | 3 mins

As the 54th Telethon prepares to kick off in Perth this weekend, The University of Western Australia is preparing to give audiences a first-hand glimpse at some of the world-class research funded by the charity event.

Celebrating 10 years of Telethon funding, the Thriving in Motion afterschool program will be back at the Telethon Family Festival, running exercise activities for kids from 10am to 4pm this Sunday.

Thriving’s founding director, accredited exercise physiologist Dr Bonnie Furzer, said the program provided tailored and positive exercise experiences to young people in WA impacted by complex physical and/or mental health conditions that limited their ability to participate in community or school sport. 

“Without Telethon’s amazing support over the past 10 years, we wouldn’t have been able to fulfil this vital need within the community or reach the thousands of children and families whose lives have been so positively impacted by unleashing the power of exercise,” Dr Furzer said.

UWA and Telethon Kids Institute researcher Professor Jane Pillow will also showcase her world-first treatment for premature babies to reduce the risk of damage to fragile lungs. 

With many premature babies requiring respiratory support, Professor Pillow’s research explores the use of a nebulised surfactant spray to reduce the need for intubation. 

The innovative approach also reduces the need for expensive equipment and could be used in developing countries to save lives and improve health outcomes for premature babies globally. 

Professor Wendy Erber and Associate Professor Kathy Fuller, from UWA’s School of Biomedical Sciences, will also be at the festival giving visitors the opportunity to see what blood cancer looks like through their microscopes.

School-age kids will also have the chance to share their ideas and participate in a lucky dip at the Thoughtful Schools activation space. 

Led by Dr Karen Martin, the Thoughtful Schools program gives vulnerable children a voice in how schools can best respond to their stress and adversity and support their wellbeing, with findings embedded into a toolkit to help schools provide better support.

The Telethon Family Festival will be held at Optus Stadium on Sunday 17 October and Telethon will be hosted at Crown Perth over the weekend, broadcast live for 26 hours in a return to pre-COVID Telethon traditions.

(Image: Basil Zempilas, Dr Bonnie Furzer and Fat Cat. Credit: Viva Photography)

Media references

Liz McGrath (UWA Media Advisor) 0433 795 509

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