2018 Campaign funds and a top up grant from Dry July Foundation funds 13 11 20 support helpline
Thanks to funding received by the Dry July Foundation almost 1,000 callers to the 13 11 20 cancer council helpline will receive advice free of charge.
Cancer is not an easy topic to talk about, and the word itself can invoke a range of feelings and emotions that are often challenging. Whether this is for a person diagnosed with cancer, a carer, family member, friend or colleague, we are all in some way affected by the impact of cancer. We also know of the information, emotional, practical and financial needs that can change over a cancer experience.
Cancer Council 13 11 20 complements health services and aims to alleviate unmet needs by helping people throughout the cancer trajectory. This can be from diagnosis to living with cancer and end of life care. Over the phone or via email, Cancer Council nurses act as navigators, educators and therapeutic communicators to enable callers to better understand their situation and the support options available to them. Research of the service has shown enhanced confidence and competence for the caller to manage their own health and get the most from the healthcare team.
Most importantly, experienced and understanding nurses manning the phone lines are available for anyone who has any question about cancer at any time of the day. It can sometimes be difficult for people to address their supportive care needs in the hospital setting when time-limited consultations often focus on medical treatment. Although Cancer Council nurses do not provide individual medical advice, they can talk about the effects of specific types of cancer and explain what will happen during processes like chemotherapy, radiotherapy or other cancer treatments.
In addition to funding for the helpline, Cancer Council Victoria also received funding to translate information and support resources into Plain English and seven other languages (Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Tagalog and Vietnamese). These will include the most-used information resources: What is cancer?; Coping with cancer fatigue; Caring for someone with cancer; and How we help to support.
Dry July Visit to Cancer Council Victoria
Steve Bardwell of Dry July visited Cancer Council’s Melbourne offices in April. Cancer Council outlined their plans for the 2018 Dry July campaign and an update on the projects recently funded and made possible by our generous Dry July participants.
This is Cancer Council’s wig library funded by Dry July.
Dry July funds additional telephone counselling - positive feedback
Dry July funding provides increased access to telephone cancer counselling Services
Both service users and service providers report that this service is meeting a need that was previously seen as a gap in service provision for many people
;especially those living in rural, regional or smaller communities where service access is limited or nil. This also allows those experiencing financial hardship to access a service a no cost that they otherwise would not have capacity to pay for. “Thank you to my psychologist who provided a lot of support and gave me some excellent tools to use in rebuilding my ‘new normal’.
Greatly appreciated” - 35yo patient, female
“I really appreciated this service, especially as I could just make the phone calls from my own home. Everyone was great to deal with”
59yo carer, male
“The service has been a god -send for me as I try to get myself and my life back to what I want it to be. To have this service available is simply fantastic and to know I can organise further counselling as the journey continues is so helpful.
I have felt supported and encouraged by talking with the psychologist and Cancer Council Nurse initially when I first made contact with Cancer Council Victoria. We are blessed to have an organisation that has so much to offer to all people affected by cancer. Whilst it’s a journey I hadn’t planned on, knowing that there’s so much available has certainly been helpful for me. I am extremely appreciative of all I have received” 55yo patient, female.
Projects Funded at Cancer Council Victoria
The funds raised from Dry July in 2017 will go towards funding projects to provide information and support to Victorians affected by cancer, as well as their family and friends.
• Support for navigating the financial toxicity of a cancer diagnosis
A person’s finances can be impacted from a cancer diagnosis due to costs of treatment, and changes in capacity to work for both the patient and family members. We will develop education packages and resources to help people develop financial resilience. Funding from Dry July 2018 will help us complete the second half of this vital cancer support service.
• Empowering patients by providing access to credible information in Regional Victoria
People living in regional Victoria face the additional challenge to access treatment and information. These funds will be used to partner with three health services to create accessible information centres in regional health services.
• Increasing credible and up-to-date information and support via information displays
We provide a welcoming space for people to visit our offices on 615 St Kilda Road Melbourne. To create greater access to credible information about cancer and support services available, these funds will be used to set up information displays in our reception area.
• Time to talk – counselling services for people affected by cancer
It is natural to feel a range of emotions after a cancer diagnosis that can affect a person’s self-esteem and relationships with others. Funds raised through Dry July 2017 will help us continue to offer a counselling service by experienced medical practitioners who specialise in the impact of a cancer diagnosis.
“This service has been a god-send for me as I try and get myself and my life back to what I want it to be. To have this service available is simply fantastic, and I know that I will need to organise further counselling as the journey continues.” – Cancer Council counselling service recipient, 2017
Find out more about the programs and services Cancer Information and Support Service provide.
Wig Service and counselling room refurbishment
Thanks to the support and fundraising from 2016 Dry July participants, a refurbishment of our wig service library and counselling room at Cancer Council Victoria was funded through to completion at the end of 2017.
This program provides people undergoing cancer treatment the chance to come in and be fitted with a free synthetic wig by an experienced oncology nurse. A unique feature of our service is for a nurse to provide one-on-one support whilst the patient chooses a wig.
Losing hair as a result of treatment can be very challenging for many people. It is not only the emotions associated with the physical appearance changes, but there are considerable effects on self-confidence and self-image.
The benefits of our Wig Service is epitomised in this quote from a wig recipient: “Many thanks for your care and kind words, particularly for the enjoyment of trying on the wigs at a time when there wasn’t much fun to be found”.
Thanks to Dry July funding, we added beautiful beanies and cotton caps which help us provide a complete service, it also allows us to connect with other Wig Services and regional services as we are frequently supporting these external organisations with deliveries of excess beanies, scarves etc.
This room is now so inviting – it offers a private space for chats that might have been a little awkward to have in such a public space like reception.
Now the nurses are able to take anyone who visits (especially if they are upset and need a private space) to talk in a much more comfortable, welcoming environment, with easy access to a cup of tea or glass of water.