Flinders Foundation

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Working together to prevent, cure and care.

That simple sentence sums up Flinders Foundation’s purpose – to work together with individuals and organisations in the community to support health and medical research and improve patient care across the Flinders medical precinct.

Together, we raise vital funds to support the leading clinicians and researchers across Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University to make medical discoveries and improve the care available to patients and their families – including those affected by cancer.

Each year, Flinders Medical Centre provides around 45,000 appointments for people with cancer and more than 2,500 South Australians are diagnosed with the disease

By working together with organisations such as the Dry July Foundation, and generous individuals and fundraisers in our community, patients and their families can continue to receive the best treatment, care and support.

The focal point of integrated cancer care at Flinders is the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer. The $30 million Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer opened its doors in 2012, thanks to the support of the community and generous grants and donations.

The world-class centre combines compassionate care, world-leading research and comprehensive support programs for people living with cancer, all under the same roof.

In February 2020, Flinders Foundation worked in partnership with Dry July to open a new Cancer Wellness Centre on the ground floor of the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer. The Cancer Wellness Centre offers people with cancer, and their families and carers, holistic support that contributes to a healthier life, so they can thrive, during and after cancer.

The Cancer Wellness Centre provides a range of services to help address many of the unmet needs of patients and their families – many of which can be lifelong.

This extra support focuses on the range of physical, educational, emotional and practical impacts of cancer. Services include nutrition education sessions with a dietitian, physiotherapy, Arts in Health activities such as meditation, relaxation, creative writing and art therapy, as well as social work information sessions about finance, stress management, grief, loss and survivorship.

By signing up for Dry July and raising funds for Flinders Foundation, you will support the ongoing delivery of these life-changing services and programs. Thank you for supporting Flinders Foundation to prevent, cure and care.

Latest Updates

Monique's story

Doctors have told Monique Bareham that she is cancer-free. But she’ll never really be free of cancer.

Like so many cancer survivors, the effects of the disease and the years of treatment continue to impact her each day – physically, mentally, financially and on employment and relationships. 

At 36, Monique led a busy life, was dedicated to her career, and had plans for a family. 

But Monique says it all came to a “grinding halt” when she found a lump in her breast. 

“The days went from being normal to being aboard the cancer train,” Monique, now 45, says. 

There were multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and courses of hormone and other drug therapies. 

She also developed breast cancer related lymphoedema which has permanently left her with constant, heavy and painful swelling in her right arm, and a susceptible immune system.

The intensity of the treatment meant she wasn’t able to work for some time – when she did, it was for short periods before she was forced to retire due to ill health. 

“Fortunately I was cured of cancer,” Monique says. 

“But I remember getting to the five-year mark of being cancer free - which is generally a milestone to be celebrated – and to be honest it was probably the lowest point of my life because I looked at my life and it had just turned completely upside down.” 

“There was the end of my career which had huge financial implications, there were the physical and emotional aspects, I also lost my fertility and wasn’t able to have children, and on a personal level my relationship also failed.” 

Effectively it was every single aspect of my life.”

“I’d completely lost my sense of self and purpose, and went through a period of grief, mourning, depression and anxiety.”

“There also weren’t really any referral pathways for lymphoedema here in South Australia and in a way I was left to deal with it.”

To her credit, Monique has turned her experience into a new purpose, dedicating her life to helping other survivors.

She is the president of the Lymphoedema Support Group of South Australia and a consumer adviser for the Australasian Lymphology Association. She’s also participated in Cancer Voices projects, and frequently presents a consumer perspective on cancer survivorship.

“I now work to raise awareness of cancer related lymphoedema, fertility issues, and returning to work to try and lessen the trauma for the people who have come after me,” she says.”

“It’s taken time but I’ve built the strength and this has become my new purpose.”

Oncology Massage program underway - Grant from Dry July Foundation SA

Maggie Wittchen was among the first patients to be treated to a relaxing massage thanks to an expanded oncology massage service at Flinders Medical Centre (FMC).

Maggie, who was recently admitted to hospital for five days of continuous chemotherapy treatment for Lymphoma, said massage provided extra comfort to her and other cancer patients.

“Massage is a lovely idea – it’s definitely soothing and helps me to relax,” Maggie said.

In a state-first, patients admitted to FMC’s cancer ward (Ward 5G) are able to receive hand, foot, neck and body massages from an oncology qualified remedial massage therapist to help ease some of the symptoms associated with their disease.

Oncology Massage Therapist Andrea Cornish visits the ward twice a week to provide massage for patients who are unwell or receiving inpatient treatment.

“This very light touch therapy can really improve the quality of life for people with a history of cancer,” Andrea said.

“Research has shown that gentle massage may help to alleviate some of the symptoms of chemotherapy treatment, including pain, nausea, depression, anxiety, fatigue and neuropathy - sometimes by up to 60 per cent.

“There’s also evidence that it can help with shortness of breath, memory problems and disturbed sleep.”

The oncology massage service has been provided to patients receiving chemotherapy in the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer Infusion Suite since 2014, but this is the first time massage is available at a patient’s bedside.

The expansion of this service has been made possible thanks Flinders Foundation and a $32,000 grant from the Dry July Foundation – a campaign which encourages people to give up alcohol for the month of July and raise funds for cancer patients and their families and carers.

Cancer Ward Clinical Services Coordinator Avis Glenn said the massage service would greatly improve patients’ wellbeing:

“We often have patients here for days, sometimes weeks, so massage not only helps with alleviating some pain but also provides a good distraction and someone else to talk to,” she said.

“It’s also really valuable that Andrea can now visit our patients in their beds for massage, without them having to venture far.”

Continuing the Oncology Massage Program

Flinders Foundation will use Dry July 2016 funding to extend the Flinders Infusion Suite (FIS) in-chair Oncology Massage Program to run for the entire year of 2017.

The program currently operates two hours a day, five days per week.

Flinders Foundation started this program in 2013 within the Flinders Infusion Suite in the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer (FCIC) and it has proven to be extremely popular with patients and staff. Since its inception there has been a growing evidence-base for the role of oncology massage for effectively managing physical and psychological symptoms associated with cancer and its treatment.

An experienced Oncology Massage Therapist attends the FCIC Infusion Suite to offer free 20 minute hand and foot relaxation massages to patients undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

Furnishings for the New FCIC Patient Space

The Dry July Foundation has awarded a grant to Flinders Medical Centre Foundation for furnishings in the (Dry July funded) new patient space on the ground level of the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer (FCIC). Works for completing the refurbishments to this space are finally underway in the Centre and we look forward to showing you the new space soon!

The grant will be used for the purchase of sofas, armchairs and coffee tables to make patients utilising the space a little more comfortable.

Oncology Massage Program at FCIC

The oncology massage program at the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer (FCIC) will run 2 hours a day x 5 days per week to offer free 20 minute hand and foot relaxation massages to patients undergoing chemotherapy treatments. The program will be fully funded by Dry July, until at least early 2017.

Massage has been shown to help relieve anxiety and depression, and enable a patient to relax.

Flinders is one of the busiest public hospitals in South Australia, serving the southern community of Adelaide and the southern region to Mount Gambier as well as patients from Northern Territory. The FCIC Infusion Suite has 12 chairs and two bed bays delivering treatment throughout the week. The unit sees approximately 300 patients, delivering more than 650 chemotherapy infusions, per month. FMC hopes to one day have enough funding to offer the oncology massage program to every patient.