Julie’s gift of hope for South Australians with MND

Posted 15 Mar 2021

Dr Julie Lawrence always understood the importance of medical research and care for patients.

A surgeon who worked at Flinders Medical Centre and across South Australia, Julie sadly passed away in 2019 from Motor Neurone Disease (MND) – a debilitating neurological condition that affects nerve communication between the brain and muscles.

But in a wonderful act of kindness and generosity, and with the support of her husband Steve and brother Graham (pictured above), Julie has left an incredible legacy to help other patients with MND now, and well into the future.

Thanks to the family’s donation to the Motor Neurone Disease Association of South Australia, together with generous donations from you, and a contribution from the FMC Clinician’s Special Purpose Fund, an MND fellowship has been established in Julie’s name.

Dr Kate Johnson has been appointed as the inaugural Julie Lawrence Fellow. She will soon begin research and clinical trials at Flinders Medical Centre, exploring new treatments for MND.

In the coming months, she’ll oversee an interstate clinical trial in South Australia investigating the effectiveness of a drug used to treat HIV in halting the progression of MND.

“Other research at Flinders also involves looking at genes in the blood of people with MND, compared with people without the disease, to identify any particular links to MND,”  Dr Johnson says.

“This could help us better understand MND and why it occurs, so that further down the line it might lead to tests or treatments that could be useful.”

Thank you for generously supporting MND research at Flinders, to help get closer to that much needed breakthrough.

“MND is a real bummer of a disease because it feels like there’s no hope. But the thing is, we can buy some hope,” Steve says.

“I know for this amount of money we might not be able to find a cure, but hopefully this can go some way to helping to prolong life, or at least give back a little bit of hope to people with MND – because that’s so important.”


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