Leukaemia Foundation

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Your blood is a remarkable thing. It keeps you alive by giving your body what it needs, taking away what it doesn’t and fighting off infection.

Sadly today, more than 110,000 Australians of all ages are living with the devastating effects of blood cancer, impacting hundreds of thousands of friends and family.

Blood cancer is one of the highest causes of cancer death in Australia, claiming more lives than breast cancer and melanoma combined.

Our movement began in the 70s, when a small band of people realised more could be done to save lives from a type of blood cancer called leukaemia.

Now, there are more than a hundred different types of blood cancer and related blood disorders, including lymphoma and myeloma.

Join us for Dry July this year and help us attack blood cancer from every direction, in every way we can.

How does the Leukaemia Foundation help?
The Leukaemia Foundation is the only national organisation representing the needs of all people living with blood cancer in Australia and taking the lead in the blood cancer conversation.

Every day, we work towards ensuring all Australian families facing blood cancer, wherever they live, have equal access to the best treatment, trusted relevant knowledge and supportive care.

Our range of practical support includes:
• A network of blood cancer support staff providing practical assistance and emotional support to families when they need it most
• No cost, self-contained accommodation for families from rural and regional Australia close to city hospitals
• Transport services to get to and from hospital appointments
• Investment to accelerate research, delivering rapid advancements in blood cancer diagnosis and treatment
• Advocating for health service reform so all Australians have easy access to the very best blood cancer treatments.

The funds you raise in Dry July 2020 will directly fund the Leukaemia Foundation’s Blood Cancer Support Coordinators.

When diagnosed with blood cancer, a person can be overwhelmed and unsure of where to turn. This is where a Blood Cancer Support Coordinator comes in.

Blood Cancer Support Coordinators are available around the country to ensure all Australians diagnosed with blood cancer, no matter where they live, have access to trusted-relevant information, treatment and supportive care.

Whether it’s a friendly face or voice to turn to for someone newly diagnosed, or practical support and education about treatment and side effects, Blood Cancer Support Coordinators are there every step of the way for families facing blood cancer, providing supportive care at all stages from the point of diagnosis.  

With your support this Dry July, we can continue vital support for thousands of families living with blood cancer around the country.

Latest Updates

Dry July funds help the Leukaemia Foundation support families like the Andersons.

In March last year, 11-year-old Cooper was diagnosed with blood cancer. This diagnosis was nothing short of heartbreaking for both Cooper and his family. With great support and successful initial treatment, Cooper thankfully reached remission months later. 🥰

For those of you who watched our Dry July leaderboard closely last year, you might have come across Cooper's parents, Mel & Mark Anderson. As self-proclaimed fundraising novices, the pair set themselves a $1,000 goal, and by the end of July, they'd raised an incredible $30,000 for the Leukaemia Foundation - how amazing is that!  

The Leukaemia Foundation is using Dry July fundraising to support their Blood Cancer Support Coordinators, who help families navigate the health system, share vital information to understand a diagnosis, and help access important services like accommodation close to life-saving treatment.  

It's stories of strength and resilience like the Anderson's that inspire us to make Dry July bigger and better each year - we can't wait to support more people affected by cancer in 2021. ❤️ 

Blood Cancer Support Coordinator, Sheila, provides vital support for Jenny.

Jenny was first diagnosed with a long-developing blood cancer called chronic leukaemia after a routine blood test.

“I got in contact with Sheila, a Leukaemia Foundation Blood Cancer Coordinator,” explains the 57-year-old. “I needed to go where the most valid knowledge was and, if necessary, where the clinical trials were.

“Sheila was excellent at talking me through the terminology, what to expect with the treatment and what it means to have a chronic leukaemia.

Having to travel four hours from her hometown for treatment, Shelia also helped Jenny to access a patient travel subsidy scheme and find accommodation.

“You don’t know what you don’t know. Shelia was just excellent; she was in constant contact with me throughout the whole journey.

“She has been a real leveler, easing my anxiety over the travel to treatment and through chemotherapy.

“We’ve already started to chat about whether I’ll be well enough to go back to work.

“I now know what I’m entitled to.”

Jenny is focusing on her recovery with her medical team monitoring her condition closely with weekly blood tests.

“It’s so important to understand your illness and talk to the Leukaemia Foundation to get direction and assistance on where you’re heading next with your disease,” said Jenny.

Jenny was recently told she is blood cancer-free and is feeling grateful for all the support she received to find the right treatment pathway for her.

Your fundraising has helped Leukaemia Foundation support people like Siobhan

Siobhan was just 14 years old when she was first diagnosed with blood cancer in 2015. 

“I was a fit, healthy teenager with a few bad bruises and a couple of bloody noses,” said the now 19-year-old. “A blood test and one phone call later and my life changed completely.” 

Siobhan and her family stayed at a Leukaemia Foundation Patient Accommodation Village while she received life-saving treatment. 

“My first diagnosis was really hard. I didn’t want to talk to anyone and felt so embarrassed and ashamed of my illness,” remembers Siobhan. 

“I wouldn’t leave the room for anything until my mum convinced me one day to go down to see the Leukaemia Foundation support staff in the office. 

“I was introduced to Maryanne, a Blood Cancer Support Coordinator you help to fund, and we just clicked straight away. 

“There was no shame in what I was telling her. We would talk about all my teenage issues and she would laugh and reassure me through it all.” 

When Siobhan relapsed in 2019, she felt assured by her first experience with the Leukaemia Foundation, knowing she would have access to all the supportive care she needed. 

“I walked in that first day and said to Maree at the front desk: ‘I’m back, buddy, let’s do this!’,” laughs Siobhan. 

“Maree and my mum, Sally, also became really great friends. They would go walking and work out in the gym together. 

“That was really important for my mum’s mental health as well because being a carer is not easy.” 

Siobhan is grateful to you for the family she built while staying at the village and keeps in regular contact with Maree and Maryanne. 

“They see you at your best and worst, experiencing every setback and every victory together. 

“I consider them my lifelong friends and actually really miss them now as happy as I am to be getting on with my life.” 

Siobhan is now in remission – and we miss her, too!

Leukaemia Foundation's Blood Cancer Support Coordinators are supported thanks to Dry July fundraising

In the scary times that follow a blood cancer diagnosis, Blood Cancer Support Coordinators help families navigate the health system, share vital information to understand a diagnosis, and help access important services like accommodation close to life-saving treatment.

Here, Maddy shares a heartfelt thank you for the help she received from her Blood Cancer Support Coordinator throughout her son Darcy's cancer journey.

MAFS star, Mel Walsh, talks about her grand-daughter Ava's Leukaemia diagnosis

Ava is my first grandchild and I was lucky enough to be there when she was born. Chloe had her husband and myself in the delivery suite and it is one of the most special moments I will treasure forever, being there while this little ray of sunshine came into the world. I have always felt a very close connection with her since then.

Ava has always been incredibly special, and brought so much joy and love to all of our lives. She and I used to spend hours dancing around the lounge room together when she was little, and she always loved wearing my high heels whenever she came over for a visit or sleepover. I have been lucky enough to spend a lot of time with her from the time she was born and took her to dancing classes over the years. After that we would go and get a babycino and banana bread and it was such a special time together. We loved playing the music loud while we drove along and sang and danced to her favourite songs.

Ava loves dancing, fairies, and unicorns, and for a while she absolutely loved scary movies with lots of blood. She has a huge collection of Lol Dolls which she is very particular about, and has all the accessories in separate containers as she likes to be organised. Ava loves drawing and is now being home schooled mostly and learning to write and recognise letters and sounds. She goes to school when she is up to it.

She has a charisma about her and leaves a warm glow with anyone she comes in contact with. She loved dressing up as a flower girl for the Married at First Sight wedding, loves wearing dresses, but not jeans. She is a real little lady.

Ava is a wonderful big sister to Summer, who is two and a half. Summer absolutely adores her, and struggled when Ava had to spend so much time in the hospital. Their bond is heart-warming, and it is very important to Ava that she spends time with her little sister. She also annoys her at times, but I think Ava handles it really well.

For a few months before Ava was diagnosed, she seemed to be losing her spark a bit. It’s one of those things you only realise when you look back. At the time, we noticed it but thought she might just be tired from creche and didn’t really worry too much. She was still full of life but got tired very easily and seemed to be becoming a bit more fragile and seemed paler than she used to. 

In the weeks leading up to her diagnosis, Ava was becoming more and more unwell. She tired very easily and actually looked a little jaundice. Chloe and her husband took her to the doctor regularly and then twice to Frankston Hospital as they were beside themselves with worry. Each time the doctors said there was nothing to worry about and sent them home. 

Following their parental instincts, Chloe and Zane took Ava the next day to the Royal Children’s Hospital. They just knew something was wrong but never expected the diagnosis they received. 

Ava was diagnosed with ALL that night, and immediately started chemotherapy which was put into her spine when they did a spinal tap. She was given blood transfusions and then chemotherapy in the drip, as well as steroids. She spent several weeks at the Royal Children’s Hospital as she had a bad reaction to the steroids which the doctors said can happen. She was allowed to go home from hospital and continue to come up to the RCH twice a week for chemotherapy and a check-up. 

This has been going on for nine months and now Ava has gone into the maintenance period of her chemotherapy, which means only going to the hospital for chemo once a month, taking chemo tablets and steroids at home. Even though she suffers the side effects of the chemo (hair loss, nausea, rashes sometimes) she still smiles and plays and is our bright, happy girl much of the time.

Last year I organsied the Light the Night in Hastings to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation. My daughter and her husband didn’t want a Go fund Me page or anything like that as they are very independent, and I just wanted to do something to help. 

After being at the RCH and seeing all the children and families going through this disease, I realised there is so much that needs to be done. You don’t know what it is like until you have a loved one going through it, and there are so many families that are facing tough times like ours. 

You feel completely helpless when something like leukaemia strikes your grandchild and being involved with the foundation has become my way of helping to make sense of it (if that’s possible). 

When I saw Dry July advertised, I thought that could be another way to help raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation. It’s crazy because I have actually thought its not going to be easy as I love my booze, but when I look at what Ava is going through, that seems like a stupid thing to say. Ava is handling this with such strength and style. She is my absolute hero and the least I can do is give up drinks for a month to help her and all the other people going through this horrible disease.