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Bendigo Health supports patients from across the Loddon Mallee region, with a catchment area covering a quarter of the size of Victoria.

Funds from our 2023 Dry July campaign will continue to support Bendigo Health’s Cancer Centre Wellness Program and the range of programs on offer in the Gobbé Wellness Centre and help us with the purchase of a new scalp cooling device that can prevent hair loss caused by certain chemotherapy drugs.

Fundraising will support our dedicated Cancer Wellness Coordinator to make available a range of activities to support cancer patients, including complementary therapies such as oncology massage, reflexology, mindfulness, yoga, music, journaling workshops and counselling services.

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 and provide a new scalp cooler within the chemotherapy department.

Latest Updates

Suzi's Story

​As a doctor of Chinese Medicine, exploring complementary therapies was a given when Suzi was diagnosed with breast cancer just months prior to her 40th birthday.

Now mid-way through chemotherapy, Suzi credits Bendigo Health’s Cancer Wellness Program as a pivotal ingredient in dealing with the side effects of treatment, especially managing impacts on her mental health.

Suzi describes feeling fortunate that physical her symptoms seem more manageable than others she has met, including patients in her own practice who are going through similar treatments.

Initially, Suzi visited the Gobbé Wellness Centre to consider wig options, “I had lost a lot of hair after the first round of treatment and was conscious of how I looked. I had decided early on in my diagnosis to be fairly private about how I was going to manage my appearance for my own mental wellbeing.” Suzie said.

“Talking to Jenna and Simone about what options were available provided a huge sense of relief and calm, but they also walked me through the Centre, showing me what else they could provide.”

Like 1,254 other patients who will use Bendigo Health’s Cancer Wellness Program this year, the range of activities on offer support patients both emotionally and physically. The staff who oversee a timetable of complementary therapies are equally important to the services they offer, including oncology massage, reflexology, mindfulness, yoga, music, journaling workshops and counselling services.

“As a cancer patient, there are many things you are told to be cautious of; limiting sunlight exposure, so walking outside during summer was challenging; wearing masks in public minimises social activities; and being conscious of what you put on your skin, using very mild shampoos, soaps and lotions. This has a huge impact on feelings of losing your sense of self, loneliness and isolation, even when I am blessed to have an incredible support network around me.”

Suzi describes her first oncology massage session as ‘magical’, providing relief and a sense of calm. “Having the oncology massage all of sudden gave me back a sense of normalcy, it felt ‘magical’ not just in that moment, but in the weeks following.” said Suzie.

Bendigo Health’s Cancer Wellness Program is available with the support of funds raised through Dry July.

Your 2022 Dry July funds are making a big difference for Bendigo Health

Bendigo Health’s Cancer Wellness Coordinator, Jenna Sing, was recently named as the Fundraising Champion of the Year at the Fundraising Institute of Australia‘s National Awards for Excellence.

Ms Sing, who works with Bendigo Health and oversees its well-regarded Cancer Wellness Program, said she was honoured to receive the award for her role in advocating for donations to support the work she is passionate about. “It is lovely to be recognised as the Fundraising Champion of the Year, however it is the generosity of our community that really needs to be acknowledged here.” Ms Sing said.

“I am fortunate to work in a role that allows me to work within the Gobbé Wellness Centre and help local cancer patients with complementary therapies such as oncology massage, reflexology and counselling. Both the Wellness Centre and services offered through the Cancer Wellness Program are 100% funded through fundraising and it’s only from donations, local grants and corporate support that we can offer these opportunities.” Ms Sing added.

Director of Bendigo Health’s Fundraising & Foundation Department, Rachel Mason said the organisation was incredibly lucky to have such a motivated and willing supporter of its fundraising activities, “Be it advocating for corporate support within her networks and at her local football and netball club, offering to speak at fundraising events or being the face of our Cancer Wellness Program, Jenna is helping to create a culture of philanthropy in our local community.” 

Bendigo Health execs get behind Dry July

Our Annual Dry July campaign was launched on 1st of July. Bendigo Health Chiefs Sarah McAdie, Andrea Noonan and Sally Harris have shown their support.

We have over 60 supporters already signed up and our fundraising tally is growing by the day. Thanks to everyone who is supporting Bendigo Health through fundraising, donating or sponsoring.

Bendigo Mayor joins Bendigo Health Dry July team

City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Andrea Metcalf has signed on with Bendigo Health for this year’s Dry July.

Cr Metcalf said she was pleased to support the Cancer Wellness Centre which provides activities to improve the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of cancer patients and their carers.

“It’s a great asset for our community and a place that allows someone with cancer the time and space to just be and not think about their diagnosis,” she said.

 “As a non-drinker, I’m going choc-free this July and in doing so am honouring my cousin and a neighbour who both lost their battles with cancer in the past 12 months.”

Bendigo Heritage Attractions Chief Executive Officer James Reade has also signed on with Bendigo Health’s Dry July team.

Mr Reade said becoming a Dry July Ambassador was an easy decision.

“As a Dad of three boys under five, I feel it is important to role model and demonstrate positive choices and behaviours that don’t necessarily involve alcohol,” he said.

“As a family, we have often used the services of Bendigo Health and are consistently reminded how lucky we are to have such a high quality and first class heath system right here in regional Victoria. Dry July is perfect, as it combines the opportunity to make some positive choices with the opportunity to raise some important funds for Bendigo Health.”

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”

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