Bendigo Health

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Bendigo Health is a leading regional health service, with around 4500 staff and a catchment area covering a quarter of the size of Victoria.

Funds from the 2022 Dry July campaign will continue to support Bendigo Health’s Cancer Centre Wellness Program and the range of programs on offer. Bendigo Health’s Cancer Wellness Program along with the Gobbé Wellness Centre offer a place for patients to participate in wellness activities as well as a space where patients, carers or family members can retreat between or following treatment.

The Gobbé Wellness Centre is the new home of the Cancer Wellness Program, a purposed designed space for all patients needing to take time out in a quiet nurturing environment to reflect, relax and regroup. Our dedicated Cancer Wellness Coordinator oversees the comprehensive timetable of activities through our Cancer Wellness Program, connecting our patients with a range of supportive services and complementary therapies such as oncology massage, yoga classes, music and art therapy, pet therapy and mindfulness sessions.

You can help by raising funds for Bendigo Health this Dry July so that we can continue to offer these valuable services to our local and regional patients. The Cancer Wellness Program and Gobbé Wellness Centre would not be possible without ongoing donations and fundraising.

Latest Updates

Jodie's Story

Bendigo Health Oncology Unit Clinical Director, Dr Rob Blum quote: “Connectedness and positive experiences make you feel good about the world. The Gobbé Wellness Centre’s focus is about what things we can do to make someone feel better about their current situation”

Jodie Stirling was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2018 and a second primary cancer in 2019. Jodie underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment for a total of 14 months over a 2 year period, but she was able to stay close to home – her treatment was carried out in Bendigo. Jodie’s mother in law was not so lucky, 25 years ago she underwent treatment for cancer in Melbourne which she found quite draining and required support from family and friends to drive her to treatments and back - a stressful 8 hour day per treatment.

Jodie credits the Bendigo Health Gobbé Cancer Wellness Centre with playing a crucial role in her recovery, “the yoga was really beneficial for me to begin to find feeling in my feet and trying different exercises, it’s been amazing. I’ve also done the mindfulness sessions which is something I would never have got involved with until I was diagnosed a second time, then you really need to work on getting your head into the present. Not living about the past or future, but living for today”.

“In my world, I used to think that you got cancer, you did your treatments and everything was fine, not realising the side effects. People don’t realise that once you have your chemo or your radiation or surgery, it’s not over. The (Wellness Centre) program is about being able to go to yoga and mindfulness to help you to try to learn to use your feet again and to get back the strength into your body, and to do it in a supportive area where other people are going through the same thing, so we can laugh and help each other. This is one of the happiest places I go to”

“I would never have done yoga in a million years…….Now I see the benefits. You’d also never gotten me to do a mindfulness session in a pink fit. Now, every morning I do my meditation. It changes you. I understand why people don’t get out of bed while cancer consumes your life; to have something that helps you balance that is really good”.

Oncology nurse and Bendigo Health Cancer Wellness Coordinator, Jenna Sing has been with the centre for over 2 years now, with the funding for her position coming directly from Dry July fundraising. Bendigo Health Oncology Unit Clinical Director Dr. Rob Blum said that Jenna has an exceptional ability to cater to all the patients who use the wellness centre, with support and a listening ear. “She has great connectedness and energy and her compassion to people allows her to appreciate what they need. This is a place of safety and that’s really important”

Jodie is grateful for the Bendigo Health Gobbé Wellness Centre and the support she received through her involvement with the Centre. “You are continually inundated with requests for donations for lots of worthy causes, but the Dry July funds that are raised, they are used locally to provide support for people dealing with a cancer diagnosis”

Bendigo Health's Gobbe’ Wellness Centre increases its opening hours from 3 days in 2021 to 5 days per week in 2022

The calendar of activities that the Gobbe’ Wellness Centre is able to offer has increased 100% in 2022.

We now offer 2 yoga classes per week (previously only 1) and have added a new Tai Chi class each week, along with the existing Mindfulness class.

This has resulted in 16 more cancer participants being able to participate in classes each week. We have also added a weekly walking group and added an extra day of specialised oncology massage per month. Reflexology and Aromatherapy is also available.

The Gobbe’ Wellness Centre increased its opening hours from 3 days in 2021 to 5 days per week in 2022.

It is now open for participants to access classes and services Monday to Friday 9-4 pm. The increased opening hours allows us to offer more classes, increased patient and carer enrolments and patient walk-ins who can also use the general facilities, access to Kitchen and lounge areas and reading resources and relaxation pod.

More capacity in relation to access to services has resulted in increased options and offerings for patient wellbeing and relief from side effects and symptoms.

The Sleep Pod is one of the more popular options for centre users, with users popping in to access the sleep pod, as well as it being an adjunct to massage and reflexology treatments.

A Kitchen and dining area is available at the centre, where participants can access cooking, reheating, coffee/tea facilities, snacks and beverages, in a welcoming space. This helps participants who are on a specialised diet, and provides an alternative to the food court at the hospital.

A Music and Arts program provides a relaxing ambiance to complement the existing programs, and can be extended with more funding to include on a regular basis. We would love to offer a Music and Arts Therapist to participants in the future.

Our Cancer Wellness Coordinator, Jenna Sing, established a dog therapy program to support cancer participants, personally adopting a black Labrador named Sharlee and achieving her public access license for an assistance dog. Sharlee has been incredibly well received by participants and carers and is very happy to be back in the Gobbé Wellness Centre after her time away on maternity leave. 

The Gobbe’ Wellness Centre Cancer Wellness Program Newsletter is distributed quarterly to past and current participants and is packed full of information such as Wellness recipes, Cancer research information, Wellness Centre updates, book reviews and other interesting articles.

Your Dry July fundraising means Bendigo Health can run their Cancer Wellness Programs in Bendigo region

Bendigo Health’s Cancer Wellness Program provides treatments such as oncology massage, yoga, meditation & mindfulness, reflexology, music and arts, pet therapy and importantly a highly qualified oncology nurse as our wonderful Cancer Wellness Coordinator – Jenna Sing who connects our patients to the services that best meets their physical and emotional needs.

We continue to receive positive feedback from cancer patients about the benefits of these new wellness services.

The Cancer Wellness Program has given me some structure as part of my week to come to the appointments. I have done the reflexology for 3 or 4 sessions now and really enjoy that. It has increased my flexibility and my mobility which has then helped my physical wellbeing and mental wellbeing.” -Danny

We would like to thank you for your support and contribution to making a positive difference in the lives of people dealing with cancer in our region.

Dry July funds have expanded a volunteer Music & Arts Project at Bendigo Health

The Music & Arts project officially launched in February 2020, coordinating volunteer musicians to come into the hospital to play the piano or other instruments in the Cancer Centre. Now the project is expanding and is bringing creative activities to Bendigo Health’s Gobbé Wellness Centre thanks to funds received through Dry July.

The project aims to provide a calming environment for patients and help reduce anxiety during their hospital visits.

Volunteer coordinator, Sue Turpie, is excited to be Coordinator of the Bendigo Health’s Volunteer Music & Arts Project. Sue enjoyed an eclectic musical upbringing, influenced by grandparents and parents who were proficient in music ranging from the classically-trained to ‘learn by ear’. While early years were spent learning the piano, it wasn’t a career choice.

Sue chose to work in media writing about the arts, rather than being directly involved. But upon becoming a parent she made the transition to music teacher, working with students of different abilities. Sue was inspired to pursue further studies, which highlighted the important role music and art play in our lives both emotionally and psychologically. Sue has found her new role at Bendigo Health to be a wonderful challenge that draws on skills built up working in these diverse fields.

Thanks to Dry July funding, Bendigo Health's incredible Gobbe Wellness Centre is the new home of their cancer wellness program

The Gobbé Wellness Centre is the new home of the Cancer Wellness Program, a purposed designed space for all patients needing to take time out in a quiet nurturing environment to reflect, relax and regroup. 

Check out the virtual tour of the incredible Gobbé Wellness Centre here

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