Fiona Elsey – Location, Ballarat New Cemetery, Lawn H, Section 15, Grave 41, (BCN-LWNH-15-101-41-01)
Fiona grew up in Ballarat and attended Ballarat High School. In 1990 at the age of 13 she was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma. Fiona underwent treatment at the Royal Children’s Hospital, where she was treated by Ballarat paediatric oncologist and haematologist Dr George Kannourakis.
Ewings Sarcoma at that time had a survival rate of only 5%.
Despite treatment Fiona’s disease had unfortunately progressed. Fiona during this time asked George why cancer was only being researched at capital cities. Fiona then dreamt of a regional research centre so that other people would not have to suffer like she had.
Although Dr George Kannourakis remained hopeful while trying to outwit the disease unfortunately Fiona’s condition would deteriorate and Dr Kannourakis provided care for Fiona during her final stages of illness.
Fiona lost her fight for life in 1991, aged 14, but she inspired all those around her, including her local community. The community had raised the initial funds to support the establishment of what was known as the Ballarat Cancer Research Centre.
In 1998, In Fionas memory, the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Laboratory was officially opened.