The sun was shining and the stars were out for the Sony Foundation’s River4Ward event in Melbourne on Thursday. An annual event that raises vital funds for You Can youth cancer centres around Australia – including the centre on level one at Peter Mac.

A three-course lunch was served on board a floating pontoon on the Yarra River as dozens of generous benefactors from prominent Australian businesses dug deep and raised a record $770,000 for the Sony Foundation’s youth cancer program.

Premier Daniel Andrews, who opened the You Can Centre at Peter Mac in 2016, said the River4Ward event was the best of Melbourne and Victoria on display for the worthiest of causes.

“The Peter Mac is the only single dedicated hospital anywhere in the country that is solely focused on the treatment, prevention, cure and research for cancer and it’s something that all of us as Victorian’s are proud of,” Mr Andrews said at the event on Thursday.

“Having been associated with the delivery of the comprehensive cancer centre, I’m humbled to be thought of as a friend to the Sony Foundation and the You Can centre down there.

“Knowing and seeing first-hand the difference that that centre makes in the cancer journey for young and adolescent Victorians – we are blessed in Victoria to have that centre.”

The star-studded event hosted by Eddie McGuire and Livinia Nixon included performances by Sony Music artists including international act, The Script and home-grown stars Amy Shark, Dami Im and Samantha Jade.

But the biggest stars of the day were some of Peter Mac’s young patients who helped make the day a massive success by backup dancing, singing and drumming-up support for the Sony Foundation’s work which has made a difference in all of their lives.

Peter Mac patient Marcus Michienzi, 20, said he couldn’t be more grateful to know that he’s one of the lucky ones that had access to a You Can Centre.

“The centre is a separate, special space away from the wards just for young people, where I was able to meet many other patients my age, some on and some off treatment,” Marcus said.

“These connections helped me to continue to stay positive, knowing there were other people like me and that things do get better.”

A fantastic day was had by all and Sony announced some of the funds would be used to fund Australia’s largest Virtual Reality research grant ($350,000), for using the technology in an innovative approach to youth cancer care.

The Melbourne You Can Centre was opened at the Peter Mac in 2016 thanks to a $1.5 million donation from Sony Foundation. Last year alone, nearly 500 patients visited the centre to access the ONTrac youth cancer services team of specialised doctors, nurses, social workers and exercise physiologists.

The foundation has funded four centres to date (Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane) and aims to have a national network of You Can Centres by end of the year.

For more information on Peter Mac's youth cancer services: ONTrac at Peter Mac