Chris O'Brien Lifehouse

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$198,165.56 raised

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For our patients and their families Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is more than a cancer hospital; it’s a place of hope, healing and life.

Our achievements are possible thanks to our generous and compassionate community of supporters. Funds raised through Dry July will enable Chris O’Brien Lifehouse to help lessen the impact of cancer on our patients and their families. Together we are working towards a cancer free future.

Latest Updates

Thanks to Dry July Foundation funding, the Lifehouse LivingRoom is able to offer a range of evidence-based complementary therapies

The Lifehouse LivingRoom is the home of Supportive Cancer Care and Integrative Medicine at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in Camperdown, Sydney. Over the last few years, Dry July has been an integral part in funding our Lifehouse LivingRoom in our patient complementary therapies. 

Kim Kerin-Ayres, one of our Livingroom Care Coordinators who works closely with our patients says “I think cancer can be really disempowering, so helping people regain some sense of control is probably one of the most important things we try to do. We integrate into their treatment regimen some of the therapies that are going to be helpful for them in the long run, or help keep them well. For some people, it's about managing their symptoms. For others it's about proactive wellness.”

Kim recalls one of her patients who came to her for help with side effects of chemotherapy.

“She thought that she was just supposed to feel awful, that feeling so unwell must be normal. We were able to get some things in place to help her feel a little bit better, to manage her fatigue for example. She was about halfway through treatment and she said “I don't think I can [continue chemotherapy]”, but it was really important for her to do so. So we got into mindfulness, we got her into some reflexology... And she got through her cycles of chemo which was really good.”

Chris O'Brien Lifehouse benefits from Dry July funding

Your fundraising for Dry July has enabled Chris O’Brien Lifehouse to purchase a scalp cooling system to help prevent hair loss during treatment, charging stations so families can stay connected, and vital physiotherapy equipment to help patients on the road to recovery.

They have also been able to continue their inpatient complementary therapy program, allowing patients to experience the healing benefits of reflexology and massage from the comfort and privacy of their own room.

Chris O'Brien Lifehouse uses Dry July funds to help support people like Pamela

Pamela's Story

"This photo was taken early last December after struggling through my second chemotherapy treatment and miserably obvious hair loss.

Our time for non-medical appointments was limited as we live in Orange and had only two nights accommodation near the Lifehouse so we hoped to see about a wig before returning home. 

The Lifehouse Living Room has a delightful encouraging atmosphere and when I requested a wig library visit within our limited time we learnt that it was closed and undergoing renovations (with funds from Dry July) and appointments were not being made for several weeks. However, the wonderful staff in the Lifehouse were most considerate and dear Karen, the wig specialist, arranged for us to visit before we drove back home. Karen made the wig selection a happy and enjoyable experience by firstly viewing on computer a selection of styles like my own hair, and then, matching the colour with one of her wigs. 

After two happy trials, “bingo” a perfect match for my normal hair. My husband enjoyed taking this photo of his greatly cheered wife. Karen was pleased for me and shared a happy and informative time with us about wearing a wig and caring for it. 

To top off this happy experience, as we were about to leave the Lifehouse a delightful scene met us in the lounge area. A singer with keyboard welcomed all to join in the singing (with words provided). We left (with the wig) to drive home singing “What a Wonderful World” 

I feel greatly blessed to be receiving my cancer treatment by my brilliant doctor Christian Bryant and the competent dedicated staff of the Lifehouse. I thank them all. “

Eighty Looms, Eighty Families

One of many community projects made possible by Dry July your generous support is the Weaving into Wellbeing project. In collaboration with the Australian Tapestry Workshop in Melbourne, Nicole and the Carterie team distributed eighty hand looms throughout the hospital. Patients and visitors set to work weaving colourful layers of thread and cloth into simple tapestries. Over a period of months, the looms were completed and delivered back—some in the mail from patients and families who had gone home—and the tapestries were assembled into wall hangings. For most of the participants, weaving was a new skill. Intricate and absorbing, it helps to focus the mind and keep the hands busy during waiting periods or hospital stays.

The simple, repetitive nature of weaving appeals especially to carers, many of whom come to appreciate Carterie’s visits during long or frequent visits. “We do a lot of projects with Carterie, but this one really touched me,” says Nicole. “One person, in particular, comes to mind: a carer who spent several months by her partner’s bedside in the ICU.”

“She said to me, this is my lifeline. To have somewhere to go every week, someone to talk to, a new skill to learn—it kept me going.” The weavings now hang in the waiting rooms for other patients and families to enjoy.

Chris O'Brien Lifehouse receives additional grant from Dry July Foundation

We're pleased to announce that Chris O'Brien Lifehouse has received an additional grant from the Dry July Foundation October grant round.

This grant will enable funding for:

• New wigs for the Wig Library to ensure all patients have access to free wig and scarf, correct accessories and professional fitting. This is a service that is crucial for supporting patients as often patients cannot afford a wig as they have stopped working and have large medical bills

• Living Well Bone Marrow Rehab Program: Introduce an 8-week personalised program of individual and group exercise, education, psychological support and nutrition support to help people restore wellbeing, strength and fitness after a bone marrow transplant for treatment for multiple myeloma, leukaemia, lymphoma and other blood cancers

• Purchase of Visitor Chairs for Wards to make friends and family more comfortable while they are supporting their loved one going through cancer treatment