Paul Starick, Chief Reporter
30 May 2018
BALI bombing survivor Julian Burton is issuing a final farewell to his burns charity to focus on revolutionary artificial skin technology designed to treat diabetes and end painful skin grafts.
Issuing a thank you note to supporters yesterday, the 2010 South Australian of the Year revealed four charities would share in a final $1 million from the Julian Burton Burns Trust, which has raised almost $20 million during the past 15 years.
Mr Burton, a former Sturt footballer who suffered life-threatening burns in the 2002 Bali terrorist attack, will close the eponymous charity on June 29.
He will work with Royal Adelaide Hospital adult burns unit director and fellow Burns Trust founder Professor John Greenwood — also a former South Australian of the Year — on a biotech company developing world-first artificial skin technology.
The pair also is working with Professor Greenwood’s fellow RAH and Adelaide University specialist Professor Toby Coates, in another biotech start-up testing the artificial skin to transplant specialised cells used in the treatment of type-one diabetes.
Mr Burton said he had been inspired to give something back to those who supported him and the many others affected by the Bali bombing and would be forever humbled by the support for the Burns Trust.
“Together we have raised close to $20 million for the burns community, raised national awareness about burns prevention and first aid, funded much-needed care programs and supported those affected by burn injury across Australia and beyond,” he said in the thank you note.
The Burns Trust’s prevention, care and support programs will continue, with $1 million being shared by Kidsafe SA, Kidsafe Australia, Burnslife and the Australian and New Zealand Burn Association.
Mr Burton told The Advertiser his new roles in business development would apply his experiences as a burns patient and founder/executive chairman of a charity that grew from a start-up to national prominence.
“To have the opportunity to change the way that burns and type-one diabetes are treated globally is something that I’m very grateful for,” he said.
“We can do something to help people across the world and, at the same time, make a centre of excellence in South Australia.”
The Advertiser last July revealed Mr Burton would close his burns charity and help launch Skin Tissue Engineering, which is developing a product called Composite Cultured Skin, which takes a 10cm by 20cm portion of skin from a patient and grows up to 2.5 square metres in a specially developed bioreactor.