Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre

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The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre (ONJ Cancer Centre) is a comprehensive cancer centre dedicated to providing leading medical treatment and breakthrough research, complemented by the best in wellness and supportive care. Patients are at the centre of everything we do and we empower their mind, body and spirit to be as strong as possible to manage one of the biggest challenges of their lives. By raising funds for Dry July, you are helping ensure the survival of wellness and supportive care at the ONJ Cancer Centre, which is not funded by the government. A vital part of emotional and physical health during cancer treatment, research shows that participating in wellness programs can increase patients’ chances of survival and minimises the risk of some cancers returning. Offering support through oncology massage, gentle yoga, art and creativity groups and specialist exercise programs helps patients manage the stress and anxiety that comes with cancer diagnosis and treatment and helps them to feel emotionally stronger. We rely on our community to raise funds for wellness and supportive care at the ONJ Cancer Centre, which is why Dry July is so important for us. Thank you for being an amazing Dry July’er!

Latest Updates

Programs at Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre

Dry July 2016 funding will support 3 programs at ONJCWRC:

- Making Meaning Through Music (music therapy groups for people with cancer and for carers). Funding will support 4 x 8 week sessions over a 12 month period, with 12 people in each session. Music therapy provides a safe way for people experiencing cancer to explore and express difficult emotions. 

- Mindfulness Based Street Reduction for People Experiencing Cancer. Mindful meditation practices are run in a supportive small group environment by an experienced accredited teacher. Practices include body awareness, gentle movement and mind training.  

- Horticultural Therapy Program. Horticultural therapy is a process of using plants and garden related activities to assist with achieving patient goals and to promote the well-being of people’s mind, body and spirit, under the guidance of a horticultural therapist. 

Information and Resource Service at ONJCWC

People with cancer have a strong desire for information. For patients and families, information is key in understanding their diagnosis and prognosis, making treatment decisions, and accessing support services. Sometimes this information is about the cancer itself, and sometimes it is about the consequences of cancer in the family – such as how to discuss a parent’s cancer diagnosis with young children, or how to manage finances while a family member is undergoing treatment.

The cancer information service at ONJCWC works with patients and families to help them find information and resources tailored to their needs. This includes having available a broad selection of reputable written and web-based information, and other resources such as DVD’s. The service also links people with community services and agencies who can provide further support once the patient has left hospital.

Dry July funds will go towards updating resources at this service in 2016.

Counselling Program at Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness Centre

The ONJCWC at Austin Hospital is using funds towards a psychological and emotional support counselling pilot program.

Psychological support for patients with cancer and their carers may be needed at any point in the patient care pathway.

The psychological and emotional counselling support program will provide expertise in diagnosing and treating conditions including anxiety and stress associated with the shock of a cancer diagnosis. It will mean patients and carers can get the right help at the right time. The program will result in reduced distress and promote adjustment in patients and carers, enabling them to enjoy a better quality of life.  

Artist Residency Program

Dry July funds are going towards the establishment of an artist residency program at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness Centre, that will engage patients and carers in creating artwork that is personally meaningful during their stay as an inpatient or while attending the centre as an outpatient.

When patients and carers come into a Cancer Centre they are often anxious, scared and feel isolated from their families and wider community. The artist in residence program will enable them to engage in artistic activities that allow them to relax and engage in their own creativity, to express their feelings, to engage in an activity that distracts them from the rigour of treatment and that connects them with the wider community. Through the arts, people with cancer and their carers are able to find a “safe space” for themselves during what is often a confronting life experience.

One of the highlights of the project was the Art Therapy Brain Cancer Support Group - Mosaic Sculpture, as pictured here.