Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre (BRICC)

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Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre (BRICC) is the largest public provider of cancer treatment services in Western Victoria. We are a world-class centre, and host a number of clinical trials and studies. In 2022, we provided cancer care to over 300 public patients, over 3800 episodes of treatment.

Our care for cancer patients extends beyond treatment. Our BRICC Wellness Centre is designed as a welcoming retreat for patients and families. It is a place to rest and be supported, distinct from the more clinical hospital treatment rooms. We also provide a wide range of free support and educational programs to help people with cancer take an active role in their health and well-being. We are completely reliant upon community fundraising to continue to provide these free services.

Please help us to continue to provide world-class cancer care to our community by fundraising for the Ballarat Cancer Centre this Dry July.

Latest Updates

Lisa's Story

Lisa is a 51-year-old mum, who runs a theatre company in Ballarat.

In September 2022, she was diagnosed with gastro-oesophageal junction cancer – cancer at the base of her oesophagus where it meets her stomach.

Lisa’s cancer journey demonstrates the importance of advocating for your own health, of asking questions and gathering second opinions. In January 2022, Lisa was experiencing trouble swallowing. As a relatively young, active woman, Lisa’s GP put her symptoms down to reflux, and a follow-up CT scan did not reveal anything. However, her symptom’s persisted and Lisa found a new GP who was significantly worried. She was referred to a surgeon in early May, who also agreed that her symptoms needed to be addressed as soon as possible.

By July, Lisa could not swallow anything except liquids.

In August, Lisa presented to an Emergency Department where they discovered the tumour. She had a stent placed in her oesophagus, which helped ease symptoms, and her first round of chemotherapy took place between September and November 2022.

However, during this time in hospital, Lisa endured another significant blow. Her dad – with whom she ran the theatre company – passed away after a short illness, the first day she started chemotherapy.

Her dad’s death was a devastating blow, but ultimately led her to the Wellness Centre.

In the week of her dad’s funeral, Lisa’s hair fell out. Simone Noelker, manager of the Wellness Centre helped with a wig fitting. It was important to Lisa that she could attend the funeral looking like her ‘old self’ – she needed the funeral to be about her dad, without the distraction of her cancer treatment. The wig was so like Lisa’s hair that many people did not even realise what she had been going through.

Since this first appointment in the Wellness Centre, Lisa now regularly attends the Wellness Centre.

“The Wellness Centre offers amazing support – through the journey of losing dad and my own cancer journey – I can’t say enough for what they offer. Their friendship and support, and the programs they offer – they genuinely care for people.”

Lisa is a member of the Young Person’s Support group – where it has been great to connect with other people going through a similar experience. This support group allows Lisa to speak with others about their experiences, and challenges – particularly as a single-parent who has cancer and the responsibilities that come with that.

Lisa also regularly accesses oncology massage and shiatsu. These sessions help to alleviate her pain, but also finds the touch is comforting after the medicalised touching that comes with treatment.

Lisa also highly recommends the Look Good, Feel Better program. She describes how cancer radically changes your appearance and self-image, and this program is a way to help patients feel a little more like their old selves, so they can look in the mirror and feel a little bit special. She also found it very valuable to connect with other women on a similar journey. She is looking forward to starting Art therapy this month.

Aside from the programs offered, Lisa uses the Wellness Centre before and after treatments, where she finds it helpful to speak to Simone, the volunteers, and other patients – people who understand what she is going through.

Lisa describes the importance of having a welcoming space in the hospital to help deal with the emotional upheaval of cancer diagnosis and treatment. Lisa described the Wellness Centre like this:

“A place where you feel totally supported and cared for. If you need a chat or a hug, you know people are there for you, who understand what you are going through. Sometimes you can’t always do this with family and friends. It is an important place.”

Lisa is currently undergoing a second round of chemotherapy, which is hoped will shrink her tumour – and give Lisa and her son more time together.

Please support the Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre Dry July campaign.

Dry July 2022 funds are making a big difference for Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre

2022 was another busy year for the Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre.

Through the ongoing generosity of our community and support from the Dry July Foundation, we are able to provide Wellness Centre services and improved medical treatment to our cancer patients.

Our Ballarat Cancer Centre Day Oncology Centre conducted over 6,500 sessions, including chemotherapy, bone marrow biopsies and education sessions. Demand for its services is has grown at 5% p.a. since 2016/17.

Our Wellness Centre relies 100% on community fundraising to offer its support and education services, free of charge, to all cancer patients in our region. Dry July is our biggest single fundraising event of the year.

This year, the Wellness Centre was able to increase the number of programs we offer to 21 – the highest number of programs offered by a wellness centre in Victoria.

This included, but is not limited to:

- 816 massage appointments

- 10 group meditation sessions

- 48 group yoga sessions

- 40 walking group sessions

- 77 bra and form fitting appointments

- 70 Look Good, feel better appointments

- 40 financial advice appointments

The Wellness Centre continues provide comfort, support, education and practical help for our patients.

The Why Wait for Wellness Program is currently part of an evaluation study to determine the effects of early access to health education and support for oncology patients. This evaluation is investigating both face-to-face and virtual delivery of the sessions.

“My words for the Wellness Centre are support, relief, caring, understanding and education. Knowing the Wellness Centre is readily available is a great support and knowing that other people care and understand what I’m experiencing both physically and mentally is beneficial.” - Jenny, patient

In addition to support for our Wellness Centre, Dry July has assisted in the purchase an ultrasound vascular access device for our Oncology Unit. This equipment uses ultrasound and imaging technologies to help health care professionals visualise vessels, needle trajectory and final needle tip location. Use of a vascular access system can greatly assist cancer patients by reducing trauma – both physical and emotional.

Scientific research has demonstrated that using a vascular access system can result in the preservation of peripheral veins, less nursing time spent trying to gain vascular access, reduced delays in therapy related to loss of vascular access, shorter hospital stays, fewer emergency room visits and decreased infusion therapy costs. Each of these advantages reduces both the physical trauma to a patient’s vascular system, and emotional trauma by reducing delays in receiving treatment and reducing hospital stay length and potential emergency room visits.

The Ballarat and Grampians regions continues to face growing health challenges, including cancer. Our region has an aging population with more social disadvantage and higher smoking and obesity rates than the Victorian average. Support from our community and the Dry July Foundation helps us provide the best possible care to our cancer patients. 

With your help, we raised an astounding $34,986 for Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre

Thanks to your fundraising, you’ve helped support the world class Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre provide cancer care, treatment and research across the Grampians Region!

Funds raised through Dry July will ensure the ongoing provision of support and services offered by our Wellness Centre. Your efforts have also helped us secure a grant which will go towards the purchase an ultrasound vascular access device.

The Wellness Centre encourages all people with cancer to take an active role in their health and wellbeing. A number of educational programs, support groups and one-on-one sessions are offered. It is also a place to rest and be supported, distinct from the more clinical hospital-treatment rooms. With a home-like setting, the space offers comfortable seating, a warm space, refreshments, access to computers, a television, massage chair, library and so much more. The Wellness Centre Manager and a number of volunteer staff are always available to provide additional support and guidance as required. The additional grant funding will be used, with other community fundraising donations, to help us purchase an ultrasound vascular access device. Use of these devices can significantly reduce vascular trauma in cancer patients, leading to less nursing time spent trying to gain vascular access, reduced delays in therapy related to loss of vascular access, shorter hospital stays, fewer emergency room visits and decreased infusion therapy costs.

On behalf of Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre (BRICC), we would like to thank you for your support and contribution to making a positive difference in the lives of people living with cancer

Matching Weekend - Thank You!

A HUGE thank you to everyone who participated and supported our BRICC Wellness Centre our Dry July campaign!

Our Matched Giving Weekend raised an incredible $6942! We have now sailed past our goal of $34,500 with a total of $37,170!!

Simone Noelker, the Wellness Centre manager says "A big thank you to everyone who supported the Dry July campaign for the BRICC Wellness Centre especially the DRY July heroes who took the challenge to give up alcohol for the month – an amazing fundraising effort! Our work is made possible by your generous support as the money raised ensures that we can continue to offer the best supportive care programs to people living with cancer."

We hope that all participants feel refreshed and rejuvenated after a dry month, and very proud of their efforts to support our Wellness Centre.

If you have promised to donate to a friend, family member or colleague, or would just like to donate to support our Wellness Centre – it’s not too late. Please click the yellow button to donate now.

Dollar Matching Weekend!

From Friday 29th July to Sunday 31st July every donation that helps BRICC Wellness Centre reach its target of $34,500 will be matched through a generous grant.

That's right! We know that every dollar counts now more than ever, so as a big thank you for your generous ongoing support this weekend only your dollar will count double.

If you have been meaning to donate this Dry July now is the time to do it. Every little bit helps. We'd also like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has helped us come this far!

Donate to Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre (BRICC)