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How CEOs can help cure childhood cancer by facing their fears

As CEO Dare to Cure returns for its fifth year, Children’s Cancer Institute is calling on business leaders to help end childhood cancer.

CEO Dare to Cure

Business leaders are a fearless bunch. After all, they didn’t get to the top of the corporate ladder without facing their fears and taking some momentous risks along the way. But would they dare to lie in a bath of snakes or shave off their eyebrows for a good cause?

For the past five years, Children’s Cancer Institute has been asking Australian C-suite execs to harness their power and courage to do just that. CEO Dare to Cure brings together some of the most influential business people in Australia to raise funds for Children’s Cancer Institute (CCI) in a bid to end childhood cancer.

CEO Dare to Cure 2022 is set to be the biggest edition yet. In addition to the award-winning Sydney event held on September 16, the inaugural Melbourne event is being launched on October 14. This year, CCI aims to raise an outstanding US$1.3 million (A$1.9 million) to beat childhood cancer.

“When you get together with other business leaders to face the dares, have a laugh, meet the children who have survived cancer and speak to the parents, it really hits home how important all of this is and the difference we can make.” – Chris Dutton, Founder of The CEO Magazine

You read that right: beat childhood cancer. Cancer kills three children every week in Australia – more than any other disease – and CCI isn’t standing for it. As the only independent medical research institute in Australia wholly dedicated to curing childhood cancer, CCI’s vision is to save the lives of all children living with cancer and improve their long-term health through research. As the people at CCI say, “It’s not if. It’s when.”

So, what can business leaders do to get involved? It’s simple: sign up, raise some money and tackle one of the exciting dares at the Sydney or Melbourne event. Chris Dutton, Founder of The CEO Magazine, has flown sky high on a trapeze, had his eyebrows shaved off and stuck his hand in a box of oversized spiders for Dare to Cure – and he’ll be back for more this year.

“Dare to Cure requires minimal time commitment,” Dutton says. “The event itself is a few hours on a weekday early morning. It’s incredible and so much fun. When you get together with other business leaders to face the dares, have a laugh, meet the children who have survived cancer and speak to the parents, it really hits home how important all of this is and the difference we can make. I just want to keep doing as much as I possibly can to help.”

Reasons to register for CEO Dare to Cure 2022

Need some convincing to snack on creepy crawlies or walk over fire and glass? (Find out more about the 2022 dares below!) Here are five compelling reasons to sign up for CEO Dare to Cure 2022 today.

  1. Help raise US$1.3 million to cure childhood cancer
  2. “My daughter Ella was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in February 2013,” Brian O’Sullivan, Director of Ellerston Capital says. “It was a tough time for our family of six, but Ella ‘kicked cancer’s butt’ and is currently completing her HSC. Now I feel like we need to give back and honour those who were lost along the way.”

  3. Inspire others to get involved
  4. “As a business leader, you have the ability to use your influence for good and strengthen the business community by pulling together for a common interest,” Dutton says. “Philanthropy can be contagious and inspiring, and giving back has mental and physical health benefits.”

  5. Take advantage of Dare to Cure’s unique CEO event program
  6. Rub shoulders with some of Australia’s most influential leaders during the series of networking and engagement events, including the launch networking event, virtual kick-offs and CEO Lab Tours.
    CEO Dare to Cure’s ambassadors include Chris Dutton (Founder, The CEO Magazine), Robert Kelly (Co-Founder, Managing Director and CEO, Steadfast Group), Monika Tu (Founder and Director, Black Diamondz Group), Paul Anderson (Former CEO, Channel 10), Zena K’Dor (Managing Director, House of K’Dor) and Jack Burgess (CEO, Sydney Zoo).

  7. Leverage media opportunities
  8. In 2021, CEO Dare to Cure achieved media coverage worth US1.3 million (A$1.8 million). With 47 pieces of coverage in national and local media outlets, including three TV features (The Today Show, Studio 10 and Channel 9 News) and a media partnership with The CEO Magazine, the event was a resounding PR success.

  9. Become a long-term partner
  10. You can support CCI by becoming a regular CEO Dare to Cure participant or even an ambassador. There are also several other fundraising opportunities outside Dare to Cure.
    “The people who work tirelessly at CCI are the true superheroes,” Monika Tu says. “I just bring a voice and awareness to raising much-needed funds so they can continue doing the fantastic work they do.”

Facing your fears: the 2022 dares

CEO Dare to Cure

“We put a poll out to our staff to choose my dare one year and 85 percent of them said, ‘Shave the brows!’” Dutton laughs. “I didn’t have a choice, but they eventually grew back. Another memorable time was when I stuck my hand in a box and saw a huge, hairy spider that was the size of my hand in the corner of it. I was very pleased the spider stayed in its corner – it did make me very nervous!”

Here are the seven dares you’ll have to choose from when you sign up for CEO Dare to Cure 2022:

  1. Athlete’s Ice Bath Challenge
  2. Slip into a bath filled with ice and relax – if you can!

  3. Walking on Fire and Glass
  4. You’ll find out how tough you really are as you make your way over this precarious terrain.

  5. The Brave Shave
  6. Are you ready to undergo an extreme makeover for a good cause? Choose between shaving your head, eyebrows or beard… or get creative with a mullet or mohawk!

  7. Snake Bath Challenge
  8. This dare is as slithery as it sounds and Monika Tu braved it a few years ago. “The snake bath was one of the hardest dares I’ve done!” she says. “When I do the dares, I shut my eyes and go to my ‘happy place’ which is at home with my dog Milo.”

  9. Walk the Plank Off an 80-Storey Skyscraper – Extreme Virtual Reality
  10. Face your fear of heights by taking a nail-biting walk on a virtual reality plank that juts off the edge of an 80-storey building.

  11. Extreme Fitness Challenge
  12. Designed by F45 Co-Founder Luke Istomin, this gruelling circuit-based workout can be tackled by individuals or corporate teams of six.

  13. Bugs for Breakfast (Sydney only)
  14. Fancy a latte with a side of crickets? Dig into a breakfast of crunchy delicacies!

CEO Dare to Cure’s past success

In the four years since its inception, CEO Dare to Cure has gone from strength to strength. From US$354,000 (A$500,000) in funds raised the first year to US$1.1 million (A$1.6 million) in its fourth year, the event has demonstrated exceptional fundraising growth. In recognition, Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA) presented CEO Dare to Cure with its prestigious Impact Through Events Award at the 2022 FIA Awards for Excellence in Fundraising.

Participation has also grown exponentially since the inaugural event. While 50 CEOs and business leaders participated in the first year, more than 200 are expected to take part across the Sydney and Melbourne events in 2022.

Facts about childhood cancer

  • Approximately 400,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year in children and adolescents worldwide.
  • Cancer kills three children every week in Australia – more than any other disease.
  • 70 per cent of children who survive cancer suffer long-term effects from their treatment.

CEO Dare to Cure 2022 FAQs

When and where are the 2022 CEO Dare to Cure events?

Sydney: Friday, 16 September, 6.00–9.30am, Fleet Steps, Botanic Gardens, Sydney
Melbourne: Friday, 14 October, 6.00-9.30am, The Timber Yard, Melbourne

Who can register for Dare to Cure?

CEO Dare to Cure is open to CEOs and business leaders (C-suite executives and heads of department) who dare to help cure childhood cancer.

Is it free to register?

Yes, registration is free.

How do I register?

Visit or email [email protected].

What should my fundraising target be?

The minimum fundraising pledge for all participants is US$3,500 (A$5,000).

Can I nominate my peers or colleagues to join me?

Yes, as long as they are eligible to enter the event.

Can I do more than one dare?

Due to numbers, each participant will be able to take on one dare only.

Do I have to do one of the seven dares on the website?

Yes, you will need to complete one of the pre-selected dares.

Are there sponsorship opportunities for the event?

The sponsorship window for 2022 is now closed but the team are open to discussing 2023 sponsorship opportunities with you. Email [email protected] for more information.

Are all donations tax deductible?

Yes. The donor will receive an automated receipt.

I have never fundraised before. Where do I start?

We will support you with email templates and toolkits to help you reach your goals.

Where does the money raised go?

Children’s Cancer Institute is the only independent medical research institute in Australia wholly dedicated to curing childhood cancer and pioneering less toxic treatments. The money raised helps fund critical research into childhood cancer. Visit to find out more.

Will you dare to cure childhood cancer?

“I’d encourage anybody to give a thought to children’s cancer,” Robert Kelly, Managing Director and CEO of Steadfast Group says. “What CCI has achieved over the last decade is amazing and what they will achieve over the next decade will be astounding – if they have the funds. Get involved.”

“I’d encourage anybody to give a thought to children’s cancer. Get involved.” – Robert Kelly, Managing Director and CEO of Steadfast Group

Jessica Yue, Founder and CEO of Polaris Media Group, also wants business leaders to get on board with this great cause. “It is incredibly meaningful to help raise funds for Children’s Cancer Institute so more children can be treated and more cancer can be prevented,” she says. “In Chinese culture, we value giving back. And as a public figure, it is an honour to utilise my influence to support those vulnerable individuals and spread more love.”

Join other business leaders in the fight against childhood cancer. Register for CEO Dare to Cure 2022 today at

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