Leukaemia Foundation

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Our vision is zero lives lost to blood cancer by 2035

The  Leukaemia  Foundation is the Australian charity stopping blood cancer from wrecking lives. Today, another 50 Australians will be told the heartbreaking news that they’ve been diagnosed with a blood cancer, joining more than 110,000 people living with the devastating impact of the country's second most diagnosed cancer. It can happen to anyone of any age, at any time. After a diagnosis, it can be nearly impossible to know where to turn.

This is where – with your help – a Leukaemia Foundation Blood Cancer Support Coordinator steps in.

These highly trained support workers are there to ensure all Australians diagnosed with blood cancer are supported through the darkest moments that follow a diagnosis.

Whether it’s a friendly face or voice to turn to for someone newly diagnosed, information about treatment and side effects or counselling for those who have lost a loved one, Blood Cancer Support Coordinators are there every step of the way providing expertise, guidance and a helping hand at every turn.

This year, your Dry July fundraising will directly fund the work of the Leukaemia Foundation’s Blood Cancer Support team across Australia.

Go dry and help give life-changing support for Australians affected by blood cancer.

Latest Updates

Prue's Story

“Imagine being told your child was going to pass away within two years if a transplant wasn’t successful — and then being told that you’re the donor.”

That was the reality for Prue from Townsville, mother of Chase, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), a type of blood cancer, at just four years of age in December 2018.

Chase was not experiencing any common warning signs. "The first signs of illness were fevers and night sweats. These started on a Monday and they were a high 39+ for the days that followed," Prue recalls.

"By Sunday afternoon the fevers were 40+ and Panadol/Nurofen were no longer working. I decided enough was enough.... We headed to the hospital for some test results, hoping to be back by dinner time that night. Little did I know we wouldn’t return home for over six months...”

“In the ED, I was on high alert. While the phone calls the doctor was making were hard to hear, the computer within my line of sight was easy to read. ONCOLOGY. That was when I knew without a doubt our son had cancer. And so began our journey.”

Being from Townsville, Prue and her family faced a 1,300 km journey to Brisbane to be closer to the life-saving treatment for Chase. Thankfully, they were not alone.

“The housing provided by the Leukaemia Foundation while we were regularly commuting to the hospital was an absolute blessing, and we had a little community there.

For us, the Leukaemia Foundation supported the family. Providing a place to call home while we were in Brisbane and checking in on mum and dad during the journey to make sure we were coping and helping us along the way."

"I leaned on the Blood Cancer Support Coordinators at the village in some critical moments during our journey. You learn a whole new language, and I remember ducking my head into their office to ask what this acronym meant or what they know about this drug or process. They were never too busy to walk you through some of the medical jargon or just have a chat.”

Chase endured numerous rounds of intense chemotherapy and drugs, and a bone marrow transplant in the months following his diagnosis. His donor? Prue herself.

“I was a 100% match for Chase, which is very rare for a parent. Imagine being told your child would pass away within the next two years if a transplant wasn’t successful — and then being told as the mother that you're the donor. So, if I didn’t do it, he would die. And if I did do it, and it failed, he’d die.

"I’m still not sure I have processed those alternatives. At the time, I just focused on the process and trusted the science.”

Thankfully, the transplant was a success, and in March 2022, Chase finally got to ring the bell, signaling the end of his treatment.

As Chase enters a new, post-treatment phase of his blood cancer journey, Prue is hopeful for what lies ahead. “For now, he is a happy 7-year-old that loves Pokémon, Beyblades and playing with his mates. We try to live in the moment and appreciate that we are still together, free from the hospital and, in Chase’s case, Leukaemia cells.”

Brenda's Story

42-year-old Brenda Paterson has spent nearly her whole life surrounded by blood cancer.

After losing her mother and a sister to acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), she too was diagnosed with myelodysplasia (MDS) in 2004 at the age of just 24.

"I was pretty devastated to hear of my diagnosis, and 'why me' constantly entered my thoughts, but I wasn't too surprised given my family history of leukaemia. It was a stressful and worrying time at that point as my son Blair was only 4 years old and not long later, I became pregnant with my daughter Krystal. I wasn't sure how being pregnant would affect my health and my unborn baby with my already compromised immune system."

15 years later, when her daughter Krystal became very ill, Brenda immediately began to fear the worst. Her suspicions were confirmed when Krystal too was diagnosed with blood cancer at the age of 14.

"I was heartbroken knowing that she would potentially suffer the same fate as myself. The medical professionals used to tell me that leukaemia wasn’t hereditary, but I constantly told them it was in my situation."

Fortunately, Brenda and Krystal weren't alone in their blood cancer journey, and had regular support from Linda, a Leukaemia Foundation Blood Cancer Support Coordinator.

“I spoke to Linda in great detail about my family history with leukaemia, my current situation with Krystal, and how to get her to and from appointments when I can’t drive. Linda also assisted me in claiming the carers allowance from Centrelink despite being previously told that I wouldn’t be eligible to claim it...”

“Linda was and still is such an amazing support for us both."

By signing up for Dry July and raising funds for the Leukaemia Foundation, the money you raise will directly fund Blood Cancer Support Coordinators so that more Australian families like Brenda's can continue to access critical support when they need it most.

Maddison's Story

22-year-old animal lover, Maddison Walker’s dream, is to become a Zookeeper, and a blood cancer diagnosis isn’t getting in her way

In July 2019, Maddison Walker was on her way to achieving her dream job — becoming a Zookeeper. After moving to QLD six months earlier, Maddison and her mother were both settling into their new life in the Sunshine State.

“I was still looking for work in QLD as we had only been there six months. I have always been very passionate about animals. I spent a lot of days at home with my pets, taking my dogs to the park, and spending time with family and my partner at the time.”

Maddison didn’t know what was coming next would change her life forever.

“I have hypothyroidism and regularly get my blood tested to check the levels, so after one of my routine tests, I got a call from my GP asking me to come in urgently, and that’s when I received the crushing news that I had blood cancer.”

“I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) on the 1st of August 2019. After I was diagnosed, I was quite numb. My mum and boyfriend at the time were with me in the room, and my mum just burst into tears. I was just overwhelmed and scared.”

Maddison’s treatment started as suddenly as her cancer appeared. After weeks of intense chemotherapy, she was facing devastating side effects.

“Different chemo drugs affected me differently. One really damaged my liver and made me very yellow, which the doctors decided eventually to cease. Another oral chemo made me violently ill”

“The biggest effect on me would have to be that the chemo (and radiation from my transplant specifically) caused me to become infertile.”

“To a 20-year-old girl who'd always dreamt of becoming a mother, it was shocking knowing that I would never be able to carry my own child. This is still one of the most upsetting consequences to come from my treatment.”

Thankfully, Maddison was not alone in her journey.

She received assistance from the Leukaemia Foundation’s nationwide team of Blood Cancer Support Coordinators during her treatment.

“Because I couldn’t work, and my mum, who was my carer at the time, had to give up work whilst l was on treatment, they helped us out a lot with our finances. We struggled to pay for basic things like groceries, bills, petrol and registration, and they were able to step in.”

“I had a Blood Cancer Support Coordinator who was always available when I needed something. They always tried to help in any way they could, they always checked in and offered assistance, and it was just nice to feel supported whilst I had other things to focus on.”

“They would write letters if I needed something (like a recommendation or reference for an application). They were really knowledgeable with resources and helped me with medical information for my treatment.

They were always there for myself and my mum.”

After enduring a stem cell transplant in May 2020, Maddison is currently in remission and is looking forward to her future.

“I completed my Cert II in Animal Studies in December last year, and I have applied for my Cert III in exhibited animals for this year, so hopefully, I am accepted into that soon! I am very career focused right now, and I am tunnel-visioned to becoming a zookeeper, so that's what I am hoping to achieve.”

By signing up for Dry July and raising funds for the Leukaemia Foundation, your money will directly fund a Blood Cancer Support Coordinator's incredible work so that more Australians like Maddison can access critical support when they need it most.

Your 2021 Dry July fundraising went towards Leukaemia Foundation’s incredible Blood Cancer Support Coordinators

Whether it’s a friendly face to turn to for someone newly diagnosed, information about treatment and side effects or assistance with transportation or emergency accommodation — the Blood Cancer Support Team is here to provide precious relief and guidance at every turn for Aussies living with blood cancer.

Last year, the funds you raised went towards:

• Improving digital and online access to support for patients across the country.

• The introduction of a triage team so that patients and carers can immediately get in touch with the right people.

• A bigger focus on specialist areas such as exercise and supporting regional and rural communities.

• Launching an online referral form process where blood cancer patients can refer themselves directly for immediate support.

Because of these improvements made possible by your fundraising efforts, Australians living with blood cancer can access our support at any time from anywhere, in a way that works for them.

This year, the Leukaemia Foundation is again challenging Aussies to go Dry this July and raise funds that will continue to support their nationwide Blood Cancer Support Team. Your funds will ensure that they are there for the 50 Aussies who will be diagnosed with blood cancer today, and they will continue to be there for the 50 Aussies who will receive the same devastating news tomorrow.

Thanks to Dry July 2021 participants, Leukaemia Foundation can continue to fund their Blood Cancer Support Coordinators

Your fundraising for Dry July has enabled the Leukaemia Foundation’s Blood Cancer Support Coordinators to continue their amazing work helping the 50 Australians diagnosed with blood cancer each and every day.

These big-hearted heroes are on the front line providing precious relief and guidance to those who need it most when navigating a blood cancer diagnosis.

On behalf of all patients and the entire Leukaemia Foundation, thank you for your support and contribution to making a positive difference in the lives of people living with blood cancer.

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