When Barry and Joy Lambert made their $33.7 million donation to the University for research into medicinal uses for cannabis, they couldn’t have known the response it would inspire.
It wasn’t just that it was one of the largest donations the University has ever received. It was also the sense that the research was long overdue and could deliver real benefits for people on chemotherapy, in chronic pain, or dealing with dementia. Or people such as the Lamberts’ young granddaughter, Katelyn, who has been racked by thousands of epileptic seizures since she was born.
The story attracted intense media coverage throughout the country. “The Lamberts’ investment gives our cause enormous momentum,” NSW Premier Mike Baird said. “This is something that is going to reverberate around the world.”
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Dr Michael Spence, said it was a story about “love and hope”, and the Lamberts have certainly shown that.
Speaking to the media gathered in the Quadrangle for the official announcement, Joy Lambert said of Katelyn: “I never imagined she would make it to preschool. When you get to the end of the road you try desperate measures.”
Now the Lamberts’ donation means the lives of many more people may be transformed as researchers investigate about 100 different cannabinoid compounds that could make lives better. As Australian legislation is relaxed to allow research into medicinal cannabis, University of Sydney researchers are ready to get to work.
Read more in the AFR on why Barry Lambert invested in medicinal cannabinoid research.