Dialog Box

Rare Cancers Australia

Our Story

There is a simple story that describes the essence of Rare Cancers Australia.

A boy and his father are walking along the beach. They are met with starfish strewn as far as the eye can see. The little boy picks one up and throws it back into the sea.

“Don’t bother, son, there are too many, you can’t make a difference to them all,” says the father. 

The boy picks up another starfish, throws it into the sea and says, “I made a difference to that one.”

This story perfectly illustrates RCA’s approach to patient support; an approach that originates from co-founder Kate Vines.

Where it all began

Kate was diagnosed with medullary thyroid cancer in 1991. Her GP had never heard of the condition, didn’t believe she could be cured and told her she had three months to live. She was thrust unexpectedly into the world of rare cancer – like some 52,000 Australians each year. A world of helplessness, loneliness, and questions that nobody seemed to have the answers to.

That is exactly why she and her husband Richard Vines founded Rare Cancers Australia in 2012, a charity dedicated to rare cancers awareness and support. They had a vision that one day they might be able to provide support to patients across Australia so that they too didn’t have to go through their cancer journey alone.

Where we are today

Today, RCA is a trusted voice on best practice patient support across the Asia Pacific region, actively supporting over 600 Australians at any one time living with rare, less common and complex cancers.

Our team of qualified and experienced professionals understand the life-giving power that comes from knowing there is someone in your corner. Someone who genuinely cares, who is willing to listen, who may not have all the answers but will walk beside you every day until you find them, together.

At RCA, we are committed to placing each individual starfish back into the sea, one by one, for as long as it takes. At the same time, we bring people together to collectively work on raising the tide, inch by inch, so that every starfish may return to the sea, where they deserve to be.

Learn more about Our Impact.