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Professor Rao, like many of our researchers, is inspired by a true story, that of her friend Melanie Swan (pictured right), who tragically passed away from metastatic breast cancer. Professor Rao, who joined QIMR Berghofer just this year, has dedicated her research to bring to the clinic new classes of drugs and non-invasive blood tests to improve immunotherapy and increase survival of patients with metastatic cancers.

Mel was just 38 years old when she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. She fought her disease bravely until she passed away, leaving behind her loving family and parents, David and Carol Swan, and forged a connection with a researcher dedicated to preventing others from suffering from breast cancer.

Listen to Professor Rao reflect on her inspirational friendship with Mel in the Podcast below:

Podcast with Professor Rao

Professor Rao’s friend Melanie Swan discovered a lump while breastfeeding her baby girl. Although this marked just the beginning of her shocking discovery, Melanie’s cancer was at that moment already Stage 4; advanced, aggressive and ultimately considered terminal.

Mel was just 38 years old when she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. She fought her disease bravely until she passed away, leaving behind her loving family and parents and forged a connection with a researcher dedicated to preventing others from suffering from breast cancer.

Read the Full Story

‘Shortly before Mel died I said to her, “You were here for a reason, because without you I would not have had the same momentum. I now have a purpose to succeed,“ said Professor Rao. ‘It’s because of her that we are here—we won’t let her down.’

We urgently need funds so that we can help cancer patients to give them more time with loved ones, family and friends. Mel and her family deserved more time together. Your generosity can give the gift of time to other families facing the loss of a mother, sister or daughter.

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