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Chris O'Brien Lifehouse

300 Supporters

$165,028.55 raised

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Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is more than a hospital; it’s a place of hope, possibility, healing and life.
Our achievements are possible thanks to our generous, compassionate and committed community of supporters. Funds raised through Dry July will help Chris O’Brien Lifehouse continue to provide truly integrated holistic treatment and cancer care to our patients.
Together we are changing the face of cancer.
We’re aiming to use this years funds to:

- Extend the Carterie program for inpatients
- Offer catering support to volunteer groups
- Refurbish patient and family waiting rooms on the wards
- Extend our patient transport

Latest Updates

Angie's story

“Cancer arrived and every creative fibre in Angie’s body left”

Meet Angie, a powerfully positive mum of two daughters, who couldn’t believe cancer had happened to her. Cancer was not in her family genes - in fact Angie used to joke with her daughters about how beautiful the genes were that she had passed down to them, right down to their perfectly-shaped eyebrows. Now, because of her treatment, Angie no longer has eyebrows.

In 2013, Angie was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and commenced her after which she was given the all clear later that year. She was done, she had beaten it, and left as a healthy, happy woman with a new lease on life.

However, in February 2016, Angie became ill overnight and a CT scan revealed her cancer had returned and was on her brain. Angie says: “It was like the whole floor was opening up and swallowing me.” She still maintained her positive mindset, however, and vowed that cancer was not taking over her life. Three days after diagnosis she saw her neurosurgeon and a week later underwent two major brain operations to remove her tumours.

Angie visits Lifehouse every three weeks for treatment. Before being diagnosed she dabbled in various art projects to release her creative flair.

She would often see Deb the Director of Arterie holding group workshops, running around with “Carterie” – small cart trolleys containing a range of quick and easy projects - and engaging with patients.

Arterie is an innovative inter-disciplinary model of art in healthcare practice, specifically designed to improve outcomes for Chris O’Brien Lifehouse patients, families, carers and staff by easing the side effects of cancer and its treatment such as stress, pain, fatigue, isolation and depression. Arterie participates in a way that fits with the patient’s treatment – it is non-invasive, inclusive and supportive.

Although Angie was a keen artist, she had lost her sense of creativity and passion whilst going through treatment, until one day she was having a particularly rough day and felt very unsettled in Lifehouse. Deb was quick to notice that she wasn’t seeming herself and encouraged her to attend a watercolour group workshop given by artist Margaret McKenna. Not only did she enjoy the art but the volunteer running the workshop was a listening ear and provided a perfect distraction to her rough day. Angie says that day will remain among her fondest memories, as she left Lifehouse feeling uplifted and said to herself as she walked home “hey, I’ve still got my creative flair”.

She has since participated in other various group workshops creating pieces of art for the hospital, and every time she walks into Lifehouse and sees those artworks hanging she thinks: “Yep, that’s a little piece of me in there”.

Angie says Deb and her Arterie team are not only an arts program, they create a sense of belonging, they are inclusive and non-judgemental.

Without the funding Lifehouse receives from Dry July we would never be able to continue to run these patient centred workshops, provide mobile arts studios (Carterie) or create the collaboration artworks to display in the hospital. So Thank YOU!


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Artist in Residence at Chris O'Brien Lifehouse

An integral part of the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse complementary therapy program, Arterie supports a holistic approach to cancer patient care through an innovative participatory arts program. Arterie’s mission is to improve outcomes for patients, families, carers, staff and visitors by easing the side effects of cancer and its treatment as well as providing a therapeutic distraction from treatment through art engagement and participation.

Dry July has helped with funding the Artist in Residence program at Arterie. The current program consists of the following: 

9 Day residency over 3 weeks making a variety of art forms

• August 2016 - Mary Burgess Weaver - ‘The Joy of Silk’

• October 2016 - Penelope McKweown + Annabel Mason, Sculptors,

‘The Happenstance Journey’

• December 2016 - Michael Bogle - Book binding

• February 2017 Lynne Sung - Paper artist ‘The Reef’

• April 2017 Helen Gauchat - Painter - Landscape acrylic painting

• June 2017 - Ro Murray

• AIR sit in the foyer of Lifehouse - its a high public and traffic area - with a performative nature of the art process. Most artists work slower than they imagine end work in their own time on the project that in most instances is gifted to the hospital.

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Carterie Program at Lifehouse

Part of the complementary therapy program at Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, the current Arterie 'Carterie' program consists of the following:

• Mobile Art and Craft studio - Delivered Tuesday Wednesday Thursday to wards and waiting areas. Each day between 1-5 Carteries are in use (volunteer dependent)

• Arterie provides approx 45 volunteers per month to the Lifehouse Program

• All Carterists are trained artists - with formal qualifications in art, design, art therapy, social science etc.

• Various art and craft packages are on board the cart and prepared by volunteer ‘pit-crew’

• Projects vary from traditional textile crafts such as embroidery and knitting to collage, colouring-in and assemblage

• All members of the Lifehouse community from patients, staff, volunteers and carers are welcome to participate.

• Projects are often installed in public areas of the hospital adding a level of satisfaction, fulfilment and pride to the participant. Arterie artworks are installed throughout the hospital.

• Pictured - Carterie celebrated International Womens Day - making and wearing all things pink.

• Carterie projects make a difference to people with cancer - it is a welcome, meditative and often fun activity to help fill the many hours that are involved in cancer care.

• The project is evaluated in the process of delivering - sitting and engaging with the Lifehouse community; and in the end results - dozens and sometimes hundreds of each small project. Sometimes these are displayed and installed in the hospital, at other times the patients takes the completed project.

• Carterie projects are constantly evolving, Potential projects are researched, designed and trialled for suitability + fun. Projects are discontinued after a certain period to ensure the projects are fresh and exciting for the long term participants.

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Arterie - art in health complimentary therapy

Some of the art projects delivered under this program, it is open to patients and carers alike of the Chris O'Brien Lifehouse.

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Supporting Lifehouse

Dry July 2016 funding will go towards continuing the Carterie program at Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, and toward an entertainment package for young adult patients.

Lifehouse's Arterie art therapy program supports the centre's holistic approach to cancer patient care through an innovative participatory arts program. Arterie’s mission is to improve outcomes for patients, families, carers, staff and visitors by easing the side effects of cancer and its treatment (stress, pain, fatigue, isolation and depression) as well as providing a therapeutic distraction from treatment through art engagement and participation. Carterie  is a mobile art studio manned by Lifehouse volunteers with pre-packaged activities considered and designed around neuropathy, fatigue and nausea that are delivered one to one during waiting and treatment. Costs covered by Dry July include displays, mobile trays and art materials. Carteries house up to 10 art/craft projects each term and the design, innovation, research and invention of new projects is ongoing.

Young adult patients' feedback has resulted in a request for individual CD players with a range of mindful meditation and relaxation CDs to help them cope with long chemo treatment. Audio books on CD provide an excellent way to escape from the reality of treatment and recovery. Kindles with pre-loaded books may also be provided. The idea is to be able to provide a comprehensive “entertainment” package to allow some respite from the long waits and even longer treatment times.