Mortgage franchise forms partnership to help end childhood cancer

While already providing great service to their clients, Nectar Mortgages wanted to make a lasting and meaningful impact to the wider Australian community. In mid-2017, after searching for an organisation that aligned with their values and who they could support in the long-term, the mortgage franchise formed a partnership with the Children’s Cancer Institute.  

Speaking to MPA, Nectar Mortgage general manager Stephen Harris explained that most people are not aware that childhood cancer and adult cancer are distinct. The former occurs in different tissues and behaves differently, and so requires tailored treatments.

“Historically, large pharmaceutical companies generally haven’t focused their research on drug discoveries for childhood cancers, concentrating instead on the larger adult cancer market,” Harris said.

"That makes Children’s Cancer Institute’s work vital...it’s up to them to make sure that discoveries are progressed into new treatments for kids as quickly as possible."

Life is short
Established in 1976 by a group of parents and doctors of kids with cancer, the Children’s Cancer Institute is the only independent medical research institute in Australia that’s wholly dedicated to eradicating childhood cancer.

Guided by the motto “Curing children cancer. It’s not if. It’s when,” the institute, under the executive directorship of professor Michelle Haber AM, depends on some government funding and the community’s support in order to ensure the continuity of its life-saving work.

Researchers at the institute hail from various countries, making their medical breakthroughs beneficial not only to Australian children but to kids all over the world. Through their research, the survival rate of cancer-stricken children is now around 80%.   

“Life is short, children are incredibly strong, and the world is full of amazing people,” Harris said.   

Nectar Mortgages supports the Children’s Cancer Institute in several ways, which include mobilising franchisees to host fundraising movie nights, organising bowls and golf days, participating in endurance events and donating commissions splits.

A large portion of Nectar’s contribution comes from the generosity of its customers. Upon the settlement of their home loan, Nectar clients are offered one of two gift options: a six- to 12-month magazine subscription or a $50 donation on their behalf. With over 60% going for the second choice, Nectar generates over $1000 per month for the institute.

The real heroes
Although grateful for the institute’s brilliant researchers, Harris considers the children the real inspiration. Able to fight something sinister with grace, without any real understanding why they must, kids battling cancer, ironically, often become the source of strength for their parents who struggle to get through from one day to the next.

Working with the Children’s Cancer Institute makes Harris incredibly grateful for his life and the healthy children he has been blessed with. Professionally, it makes him realise that although helping people achieve their dream of homeownership and financial freedom is important, there is more to life.

“Our partnership with the Children’s Cancer Institute helps mould us into a better, more socially conscious people, and as a business, it brings us together as a team,” Harris said.

“The institute gives us an added reason to strive for business growth, because the more we can grow, the more we can help them. It’s truly a win-win relationship, and one that we are proud to support.”