A brain cancer research fundraiser in honur of a former Dungog High teacher could become an annual event

GONE TOO SOON: Derek Kerry pictured in the last six months of his life with
eldest son Riley Kerry who was then nine years old in 2013.
GONE TOO SOON: Derek Kerry pictured in the last six months of his life with eldest son Riley Kerry who was then nine years old in 2013.

A fundraising day in memory of a former Dungog High School teacher has raised $20,000  for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation which is spearheaded by internationally renowned surgeon Dr Charlie Teo.

It has been almost four years since Derek Kerry died aged just 32 from brain cancer. Derek lived at Airlie for most of the last three months of his life whilst teaching part time at nearby Gloucester High School. He was a loving father of three children, a dedicated son, a fun loving older brother and a friend to so many.

The former Greta Public School and Rutherford High School student, Derek lived with his mother Suzanne and her husband James Landers at Bandon Grove while he was teaching at Dungog High.

Thousands of people took to Rawdon Vale on Saturday, July 1 for the first Airlie Homestead Day for Derek.

Mrs Landers said the event exceeded expectations and she was pleased by the community’s support.

“Many local people from Dungog attended the event and Dungog businesses sponsored many prizes for the various activities including an Auction by Ian and Thora Gollan, a chocolate wheel and a duck race on the Kerripit River below the Homestead,” she said.

Mrs Landers said it was exciting to have Professor Charlie Teo, the renowned neurosurgeon who operated on Derek, attend the event with his wife Genevieve.

“Professor Teo spoke  on the current shortage of funding and grants allocated to brain cancer research notwithstanding it is the biggest cancer killer of children and young adults like Derek under  40 years.”

Mrs Landers said there was a lack of cooperation and coordination of groups raising funds and undertaking research.

“Professor Teo and his  right hand man and acting CEO of the Foundation , Barrie Littlefield are trying to break through such barriers,” she said.

“Charlie’s’ team of researchers continue to work long hours to find means to extend the lives of victims of brain cancer and attempt to attain a cure,”

Other special appearances including Perth Wildcats captain and Gloucester native Damian Martin, Newcastle Knights player Nathan Ross and Assistant Minister for Health Dr David Gillespie. Ms Landers hoped to see the day become an annual event.

Day for Derek: Perth Wildcats captain and Gloucester native Damian Martin with Shaun, Charlize, Riley and Preston Kerry. Photo: Shaun Kerry.

Day for Derek: Perth Wildcats captain and Gloucester native Damian Martin with Shaun, Charlize, Riley and Preston Kerry. Photo: Shaun Kerry.