Imagine if doctors knew more about prematurity, could reduce its complications and increase survival rates?  

That’s what the parents of the more than 1000 premature babies born every year at The Royal wish for. And so do the doctors and nurses who fight to keep these tiny babies alive, 24/7, 365 days a year.

Brain haemorrhages, chronic lung disease, heart defects, bowel disease and multiple infections. They’re just some of the serious challenges these tiny, but brave babies face. Sadly, even the most experienced neonatal specialists can’t prevent them. But that could all be about to change. 

Having raised $1 million for life saving equipment for premature babies, we at RFPB now focus on fundraising for prematurity research. In 2015 we raised $230,000 for research projects at the hospital and in 2016 we aim to raise another $200,000.

These funds are being used by the Royal’s Neonatal Research Team, led by Associate Professor Kei Lui, which is recognised as one of Australia’s leading research and academic departments. 

Dr Tim Schindler and Dr Kee Thai Yeo

Dr Tim Schindler and Dr Kee Thai Yeo

With our fundraising focus now on clinical research, it’s exciting to know our team is directly enabling research fellows to develop new and advancing knowledge in the care of sick newborn babies. 

2014 research fast facts

Our inaugural year of fundraising for research raised a staggering $230,000!! This money funded two special Research Fellows, qualified neonatologists Dr Tim Schindler and Dr Kee Thai Yeo.  Dr Tim was a member of our 2014 team and will run again this year! Now that really is living, breathing, working and running for premature babies!

Here’s a sneak peak at what our Research Fellows have been working on with our team’s support.

Dr Tim Schindler

Tim’s amazing list of ongoing research projects cover everything from a PhD research project on Fractional Moving Blood Volume, to causes of death in premature infants across NSW and ACT, and examining outcomes for extremely premature babies based on days within each gestational week. Tim’s list of papers submitted for publication and the presentations delivered in Australia and across the globe are incredible. He is a very busy doctor, and that’s what we love to see.

Dr Kee Thai Yeo

Life is just as hectic for Dr Kee Thai Yeo. His completed and ongoing research projects are extensive and fascinating. As well as keeping busy with these projects, in 2014 Kee has submitted three research papers for publication and has delivered one presentation in Perth in 2014 and has submitted three other joint papers for presentation at conferences in 2015. 

Help us reach our 2016 goal

In 2016, we aim to help keep the research momentum going. After all, most research has a long-term focus. So, by helping us raise $200,000 in 2016, we’ll be well on our way to achieving this goal.

The funds you raise will enable our team to:

•    Continue to support The Royal’s Research Fellowship program – Dr Tim Schindler will be completing his PhD.

•    Support a cutting edge clinical research project on very premature infants – using advanced genomics approaches to compare the micro biota development in extremely premature babies who are provided with probiotic supplements in their breast milk, with breastfed full term babies. This will involve using next generation genomic technology, including DNA sequencing, shotgun mega genomics, and high performance computation infrastructure. 

•    Create a part-time Post Graduate Research Fellowship position – enabling a post-doctoral research fellow to pursue a clinical and research career.

We’ll keep you updated throughout the year as the research and its outcomes progress, so you can see where all of your hard work, sweat and funds raised have been invested.

One thing’s for sure - our funds will help doctors solve the many mysteries surrounding prematurity to give these tiny babies a much better chance at survival. 

So join Sophie’s 2016 team. Run in the SMH Half Marathon on Sunday 19 May (alone or as a relay with a friend). And help her raise $200,000 to support prematurity research.