Members of ANZCHOG were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Audrey Evans at the age of 97, a pioneer in paediatric oncology research and patient care.
When Dr Evans first started her medical career in the 1950s, few children survived cancer. One of her first postings was with Sidney Farber at Boston Children’s Hospital, whose revolutionary work with chemotherapy was curing children with leukaemia. Dr Evans research focused on neuroblastoma, leading studies that would demonstrate chemotherapy could also combat solid metastatic tumours and showing the additive effect of radiation therapy. Dr Evans also created the Evans staging system for neuroblastoma (published in 1971), sparing children unnecessary treatment and the subsequent side effects. Dr Evans research underpins many of the concepts in neuroblastoma staging and treatment protocols used today.
In addition, as Dr Evans took on positions at University of Chicago and later at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, she promoted the concept of “total care”, allowing children to bring small pets into the hospital and recognising the need to provide emotional support patients and their families. She was instrumental in working with McDonalds, founding the first Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia, which led to the establishment of this program internationally (over 300 Ronald McDonald Houses exist today), providing low or no-cost accommodation options for parents near children’s hospitals.
ANZCHOG acknowledges the enormous and lasting contribution of Audrey Evans to the field of paediatric oncology.
Further information on Dr Evans’ achievements can be found here:
- Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/obituaries/2022/09/29/audrey-evans-cancer-ronald-mcdonald-house/
- Modern Heroes Meet Audrey Evans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hstjG19OjkA.
- An obituary is also on Children’s Oncology Group’s website (members only).