Christina and Trevor Kennedy – Hearing Loss
Trevor and Christina Kennedy have been involved with the Garvan for a long time – in Christina’s case, since its very inception. Her father, Sir Douglas Miller, was a famous neurosurgeon at St Vincent’s and made the case together with the renowned Sister Bernice for the use of the Hospital’s centenary appeal funds to set up the Garvan.
Trevor and Christina see continuing research as fundamental to advance a range of clinical treatments not just for diseases like heart disease and cancer, but also for distressing chronic conditions which impact the daily lives of a wide range of people – such as hearing loss. That’s why on two occasions they have chosen to support this area of research, once in 1999 funding a specific study on Meniere’s disease, and again in 2007 with a major gift of $1 million.
Among other things, this most generous recent gift has enabled the hearing loss group to recruit the skills of an ear, nose and throat surgeon to transplant mouse olfactory and tongue stem cells into the tiny cochlea of noise-deafened mice to test this as a potential method of restoring hearing.
Christina says: “Personally I cannot wait to get a stem cell transplant to enable some effective hearing! However, being realistic I am happy to think that in the future the one in six Australians affected with hearing loss may have access to such treatment.”
The Kennedys enjoy coming in to the Garvan to visit with the research team: “We are shown great welcome and respect. The scientists take time to explain the stages and the wins on the board and it is exciting to feel involved in such an incredible challenge”.