House for children's charity raises $700,000 at auction

The house that love built has been snapped up at auction for $700,000 -- $50,000 over its reserve - by a young first home buyer family who are thrilled that their purchase will also help fund the battle against childhood cancer.

"It's a great feeling," says John Cole, 31, who was the successful bidder for the home in Sydney's south west that was built by volunteers with all materials donated by companies, on land given by a developer, so all the proceeds could go to the kids' cancer charity.

"It makes you feel good to be associated with such a fantastic cause, and the chance to support research into cancer. And at the same time, we're thrilled to buy such a wonderful house that's been so well built in such a good location."

The fully-furnished, two-storey, four-bedroom house at Appin is the third 'Build for a Cure' home, constructed in 28 days and now auctioned to raise funds for the Children's Cancer Institute. It was unveiled to the public last month by TV's The Block star Scott Cam, the ambassador of the institute's project Build for a Cure.

The buyer Mr Cole, an operations manager at Austral Bricks, one of whose companies supplied bricks for the house, plans to move in with his wife Hannah, 25, and two children aged four and one, as soon as possible.

Sitting in the front row of the crowd of 200 at the auction on Sunday, watching Mr Cole beat off five other bidders, were five children aged from five to 14, the grandchildren of Bill McDonald of the build company McDonald Jones Homes.

"That's the reason we work so hard for such a good cause," says Mr McDonald, who hopes to build five more homes for the charity over the next five years. "It's hard to believe that so many children are born with cancer which is just not fair. They're just children, they have never done anything wrong.

"I look at my five grandchildren sitting there and I would hate to see anything like this happen to any of them, so it's only right that we all do our best to help get rid of this disease in the future. I was very happy the auction raised $700,000; that's a lot of funds that will go into the institute."

At the Children's Cancer Institute, head of program Professor Maria Kavallaris says she was thrilled by the result. That money will now be used to fund seven senior scientists to continue their research into the causes of childhood cancer, the best treatments and the ways to prevent it in future.

"We are really excited that it raised $700,000, and we want to thank, from the bottom of our hearts, everyone involved," she says. "This will really increase the chances of giving the best treatment to the children with the worst prognoses, and improve the survival rates for all the 950 children and adolescents who are diagnosed with cancer every week in Australia.

"Three children a week die from the disease and lots suffer the side-effects of their treatment. So projects like the Build for a Cure do enormous good."

The house was built by workers from McDonald Jones Homes and subcontractors, on land donated by Walker Corporation at their community Appin Place, with fixtures and fittings supplied by Winning Appliances, Fisher & Paykel and Freedom, and real estate services by Di Mez Real Estate. Celebrity auctioneer Damian Cooley says everything came together to put a great house on the market that was beautifully furnished.

"I think quite a few people were elated at the result," he says. "There were a number of people at the auction who had children who'd been affected by cancer or who were coming out the other side of treatment, so there was a great atmosphere.

"It's extra special conducting an auction like this when you know every dollar is going to a charity like children's cancer. Everyone loves the chance to give back."

This story House for children's charity raises $700,000 at auction first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.