Chris O'Brien Lifehouse

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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

Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Patient Ambassador: Simone

Simone Georgiou has kindly stepped forward to support Chris O’Brien Lifehouse as a patient ambassador. Here Simone shares her story:

I was married in November 2013.

Nine months later, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Just over a year after walking down the aisle I have become the first patient to have major surgery at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and the first patient in the new Intensive Care Unit.

Bowel cancer, I have since found, is the second biggest cancer killer in Australia. If you get it early enough, it’s so much more curable. I think back, and if only I’d known the danger and the signs.

In my case, the signs were there. I first noticed warning signals during my honeymoon in Mexico – but they were disguised because I had managed to pick up a bowel parasite that was later treated successfully with antibiotics when we got home.

Then I fell pregnant, and with pregnancy you have even more changes with your bowel. But after I miscarried the problems continued. My GP got me to have a check-up and, even knowing my family history, everyone was saying: ‘Don’t worry, it’ll just be Crohn’s Disease or gastro or ulcers’.

When the diagnosis came, even my specialist was surprised, given my age at 39.

Immediately, my husband and I began a round of IVF, and now have three embryos frozen. We are waiting for the right time to be carried by a surrogate who has selflessly offered. Obviously I now can’t carry a child.  And it was overwhelming to have this offer. It’s just so… so big.

So I am now through the first round of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and the removal of my entire large bowel and a full hysterectomy to prevent any recurrence of the cancer.

Lying in my bed recuperating from surgery, I’ve had plenty of time to think. I think how, if I hadn’t lost my baby, I would now be dead. Sometimes good things can come from really bad things.

Going through this so young changes your outlook and perspective on life

I often hear people complain about their bad day at work or that they are unable to lose some extra kilos, and it’s sad that they don’t know how lucky they are, they have this amazing thing called ‘health’. I also used to take that for granted, but never again. It’s the little things at the moment that make a big difference.

So I’m looking at what I can do with my life that’s positive and the way my story might help others.

I want to urge younger people to have a check-up if they have a history of cancer in their family.

My grandfather and his siblings died from bowel cancer. My father would have been a carrier of Lynch Syndrome, which predisposes carriers to bowel cancer, but he died of melanoma. I always knew I would get cancer because my family has cancer on both sides, but not so young. I thought I would be older.

I want to do something to support other younger people who get cancer. Under 50, it’s not something you expect. If there’s a way I can make it a little bit easier, to make other people feel they’re not the only one out there, I want to do something, even if it’s just saving one person from this.

Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Patient Ambassador: Caroline

The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Dry July team is getting ready to put down their glasses to raise money for cancer support and treatment.

Their wonderful volunteer and cancer survivor Caroline is taking up the Dry July challenge again this year. “I’ll be having a glass of bubbly on the 30th of June to commiserate and another on the 1st of August to celebrate!” Caroline said.

Caroline began volunteering at RPA in 2007 after having treatment there for breast cancer. She now volunteers at both Lifehouse and RPA; “I feel like I’ve had a lot of help, I’d like to put a lot back in. That’s why I volunteer, and why I’m doing Dry July.”

Caroline met her partner John, also a cancer survivor and fellow volunteer at both Lifehouse and RPA Cancer Support Centre, at an RPA volunteers’ drinks event. John drives the Lifehouse patient transport car, which was purchased with funds raised through previous Dry July campaigns.

After Caroline’s champagne-free month, she and John will be celebrating by flying to Cairns for a holiday on 1 August.

For more information about the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse team and to track their Dry July adventures, check out the team page at:

Transport Vehicle at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse

The Lifehouse Volunteer Program provides a broad range of services for patients, designed to make their visit as easy and positive an experience as possible. Volunteers offer information, comfort and reassurance, as well as a friendly face. Program services range from assistance navigating the Centre; providing information about patient services; offering refreshments in reception areas and clinics; and assistance in using tablet computers available to patients during treatments.

Lifehouse volunteers also operate a complementary transport service for patients and their carers.  Dry July funds have been used to assist with providing a free shuttle service, which goes to and from Central Station every 30 minutes during peak appointment times. This service is invaluable to patients - particularly those from regional NSW travelling to Sydney by train for treatment.

Chris O'Brien Lifehouse opens it’s doors!

This year, we welcomed Chris O'Brien Lifehouse as a beneficiary of Dry July funding. Last month Lifehouse opened its doors to patients, offering uncompromising care and be a beacon of hope entirely devoted to people with cancer. Watch their welcome and orientation video here 

Dry July funding from this year will help fit-out and equip inpatient wards, containing single rooms with ensuite bathroom and balcony for 96 rooms, ensuring patient comfort away from home. Funds raised will also allow Lifehouse to offer complementary therapies during and post treatment, designed to enhance patients’ quality of life.

Helping Chris O'Brien Lifehouse get ready

Chris O'Brien Lifehouse is a state-of-the art Integrated Cancer Centre in Sydney. Lifehouse officially opened Stage 1 (out patient care) in November 2013, and the Stage 2 inpatient ward is set to open in 2014.

Dry July 2013 funds have contributed towards fitting-out and equipping the inpatient wards, consisting of single rooms with ensuite bathroom and balcony; there are 96 rooms planned. Funds have also supported the Integrative Medicine Centre, so that patients in need are not out of pocket for services provided by a complementary therapist or psychologist.

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