The Stafford Fox Medical Research Foundation was established through the Will of Moyna Fox and named in memory of her late husband, James Stafford Fox.
Moyna was born in Albury, schooled in Balarat and was a radio announcer before she married Stafford. She was known for her swimming prowess and was a force to be reckoned with, if you swam in her pool without a bathing cap.
James Stafford Fox was a self-made man. As a Major in the Australian Army in the Second World War, he fought in the Defence of Darwin in 1942. He went on to lead a very successful business career, having risen through the ranks of BP Australia from a junior clerk to become the first Australian Chief Executive of BP Australia in 1971.
Both Moyna and Stafford Fox understood the power of philanthropy. The foundation’s parameters were kept deliberately broad, with the goal to support medical research in public hospitals or universities within Australia.
The foundation manages up to 10 grants around Australia, supporting a variety of medical research projects. It is administered by Foundation Trustees, Paul Brotchie, long-time friend and lawyer of Stafford and Moyna, and Ken Wallace.
Both Trustees have a passion to foster the development of early career researchers and post-doctoral fellowships in medical science. They believe that, by providing certainty of funding, researchers can develop their careers without necessarily having to travel overseas.
This has two-fold benefits:
Paul and Ken became aware of WEHI when Susan, Paul’s wife, heard lead rare cancers investigator, Professor Clare Scott AM, being interviewed about her research on the radio in 2014. They donated their first pledge instalment in September of that year.
The foundation now significantly supports four research areas:
“A major objective of this research is to recommend effective treatments for rare cancer patients using existing anti-cancer medications. Once a treatment for a rare cancer patient is devised, our researchers will monitor the success of the treatment and this information will guide future treatment recommendations.”
Paul states that the value he gains from the partnership with WEHI stems from the extent to which researchers focus on personalising medical interventions.
He has observed that WEHI values the individual and doesn’t treat people as just another number. This is exemplified by WEHI’s research into rare cancers, which may not otherwise have been supported due to low patient numbers.
Paul is proud of what the Stafford Fox Foundation has achieved through its support of WEHI and believes it to be a fitting honour for Moyna and Stafford, two generous Australians who were ahead of their time.