Leukaemia Foundation

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Our mission: A Future Free from Blood Cancer

Every year, more than 17,000 Australians will be newly diagnosed with blood cancer such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. This means 47 people every day or one person every 31 minutes. 

It can happen to anyone – of any age – at any time.

When combined, blood cancers are now the second most diagnosed cancers in Australia, and the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the country.

When hearing the words ‘you have blood cancer’, 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 special support workers are there to ensure all Australians diagnosed with blood cancer are supported through every scary, uncertain moment that follows a diagnosis.

Whether it’s a friendly face or voice to turn to for someone newly diagnosed, or information about treatment and side effects, Blood Cancer Support Coordinators are there every step of the way providing precious relief, 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 cure and conquer every blood cancer.

Latest Updates

Dry July Foundation assists with accommodation services for people affected by blood cancer

Every 41 minutes, an Australian is diagnosed with a blood cancer or related blood disorder. Blood cancer is the third biggest cause of cancer death in Australia, claiming more lives each year than breast cancer or skin cancer. For people living in regional and remote areas, a blood cancer diagnosis normally means urgent relocation to capital cities to access live-saving treatment. Each year, the Leukaemia Foundation supports more than 750 families from regional and rural Australia by providing free accommodation and services in the major cities, keeping families together and close to their loved one during treatment, for as long as they need.

And this year the Dry July Foundation is helping to make this possible.  

Through the Dry July campaign fundraising and the early grant funding, the Leukaemia Foundation has been successful in receiving $494,000 for accommodation upgrades. The upgrades will allow the Leukaemia Foundation to continue to provide this no charge service to people living with a blood cancer when they most need it. The upgrades will be rolled out in the coming months across: 

• Bridgestone Australia Leukaemia Foundation Village in Adelaide, South Australia  

• The Queensland Freemasons Village in Townsville, Queensland

• The Clem Jones Sunland Leukaemia Foundation Village in Brisbane, Queensland

• Herston Village in Brisbane, Queensland

• The Leukaemia Foundation Patient and Family Accommodation Complex in Westmead, New South Wales

• The Jim Simpson Patient and Family Accommodation Complex in Newcastle, New South Wales

• The Victorian Patient Accommodation Centre in Melbourne, Victoria

In addition to the accommodation upgrades, this grant will allow the purchase of a new Patient Transport Vehicle for the Brisbane Transport Program. The Queensland patient transport program links the Leukaemia Foundation's four Brisbane accommodation complexes with the six major hospitals and treatment centres ensuring people get to their treatment in order to beat their blood cancers. 

Providing accommodation eases the strain for rural families

At the young age of 30 years old, with 3 young children, Dubbo resident Regina Batton received the devastating news on Friday 25th August that she in fact had blood cancer. A day she will never forget.

Regina was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). With the average normal blood count range between 3,500 and 10,500, Regina’s blood test confirmed her blood count was only 34. She was rushed to her local Dubbo hospital immediately and given 4 blood transfusions to stabilise her.

The next day, Regina was transported to Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for further testing and what was to be ongoing painful bone marrow biopsies. Intensive chemotherapy treatment started the next day for 7 days straight (24 hours a day), followed by a further 4 weeks ongoing treatment in hospital.

Regina was extremely unwell, exhausted from her treatments and missing her family terribly as she was separated from them for so long. Plus, during her treatment she was due to be married to the love of her live in Dubbo and consequently the wedding had to be cancelled.

At the end of September, Regina moved into the Leukaemia Foundation’s accommodation facilities located in Waverton Sydney and continued her treatment travelling back and forth daily for the next 5 months. Her partner and all 3 kids were reunited at the accommodation, residing there together with her until 31st January.

The family called the accommodation ‘home’ and had lovely memories there including Christmas together and meeting a developing new relationships with the community of people also staying at the accommodation, who were also going through a similar experience. They would share their stories and understand each other hardships over BBQ’s and lunches in the main community areas.

Regina and her family are now home however the path is still unclear for her. She returned to Sydney for a 3 day trip in February for another uncomfortable bone marrow biopsy and is required to continue to do this every 4 weeks until there is an improvement in her results. Currently the Batton family is sitting in a waiting game until there is improvement and they are keen to reschedule the wedding and have some happier times in the near future

Patient Transport Vehicle for Brisbane Patients

Every year the Leukaemia Foundation helps more than 750 families from regional and rural Australia by providing free accommodation and transport in capital cities so they can access life-saving treatment for blood cancer.

Our patient transport vehicles, driven by trained volunteers, help thousands get to and from medical appointments, covering more than one million kilometres each year. This means that patients whose immune systems are often too weak to take public transport or a taxi can rely on friendly, on-time drivers to deliver them to treatment and back home again, safe and sound.

For the Livara family of five from Blackwater in Central Queensland, having these services available means the family can worry less about practical concerns and focus on helping their 4 year-old son Jacob through his leukaemia treatment. 

The seriousness of Jacob’s cancer means he has faced cycle after cycle of chemotherapy, and a bone marrow transplant from his big brother, leaving his immune system severely compromised. 

After the transplant, Jacob was very sick indeed and was in isolation for 56 days. 

During his lengthy hospital stay, Jacob’s mum, Earlene, his aunt and siblings Matthew and Erin were back and forth to the hospital from the Leukaemia Foundation’s ESA Village to care for Jacob and keep his spirits up. 

“Having three kids under five and my sister-in-law not driving, we did need to use the transport service quite regularly,” Earlene said. 

“My sister-in-law and I alternated hospital visits to see Jacob while he was recovering from the transplant and we found the vans extremely helpful for us as well as the volunteer drivers.” 

“My oldest son who is attending Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital School has also benefited a lot from the transport. I no longer need to worry about dragging along the two other kids; especially Jacob who needs to be kept isolated.” 

“Not only does it lessen our worries but also saves us a lot of money on expensive parking tickets. We are very thankful these Leukaemia Foundation services exist.” 

Kathryn Huntley, Leukaemia Foundation’s Acting Support Services Manager, Queensland, describes the new 12 seater van generously donated by Dry July as “a godsend”. 

“Greater van capacity means we can offer even better, more responsive support when it comes to ensuring people with blood cancer have easy access to treatment; more patients and family members in a single trip.” 

“When a family lives in our accommodation village for a period of time, the reality is that they are often without a vehicle.” 

“The time between diagnosis at home and treatment in a capital city can be a swift as 24 hours. Families are often flown in to start life-saving treatment immediately, with no time to bring their car.” 

“With this enhanced transport service in place, it just makes the practicalities so much easier, leaving our resident families to focus on supporting their loved one.” 

Pictured: Jacob & Earlene

Refurbishment of Accommodation Units for West Australians

The Leukaemia Foundation was the recipient of a 2016 Dry July Foundation grant to refurbish accommodation units in Western Australia, in order to provide a high standard of accommodation to patients with blood cancer and their families.  

The Leukaemia Foundation provides 10 units of accommodation in Perth, eight of which are located in the Perth suburb of Bassendean. These eight units are in high demand, but due to the age of the units the Foundation used the grant to undertake some internal upgrades to ensure the units provide people with blood cancer and their families with the best possible type of accommodation whilst they utilise these facilities as their ‘home away from home’.

The upgrade included the purchase, installation and replacement of furniture and whitegoods for these accommodation units.

The Leukaemia Foundation accommodation coordinator Lara Andreson explains the new furniture has enlivened the patient apartments in Bassendean. “Many people diagnosed with a blood cancer have to uproot their families and leave their home to be close to treatment, often with little notice and no idea of where they’ll stay or how long they’ll be away,” Ms Andreson said.

“Last year we had more than 200 families stay in our accommodation. With this number of people staying with us household items get quite a work out, that’s why the support of Dry July in the provision of brand new furniture and whitegoods makes such a difference.    

“It has helped spruce up the units and given them a new lease of life. The families who stay with us are going through such a tough time, it is feels good to, not only provide them with a roof over their head, but one that has lovely new, modern furniture and white goods,” she said.  

A guest patient said, “We were rapt just having a roof over our heads, with no out of pocket expenses, during treatment in the city, let alone having a unit with lovely new furniture! 

“To see other charities like Dry July recognising the value of such a service and supporting it with a grant for new furniture and whitegoods is so special, we are very grateful." 

To assist in reducing the enormous stress placed on patients and families whilst they receive their treatment the Leukaemia Foundation is committed to providing a standard of accommodation that meets a high quality of health and safety which is cost free and, hopefully, close to the standard they are used to in their own homes. 

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