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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

Massage soothes hearts as well as bodies

Oncology massage at ONJ Cancer Centre, generously funded by Dry July, is helping patients feel comforted, supported and safe as they undergo cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Suzi was diagnosed with an aggressive form of myeloma – a type of cancer that develops from plasma cells in the bone marrow.

Treatment for Suzi was intense. She needed chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant. During her treatment, Suzi was very grateful for oncology massage, generously supported by Dry July Foundation.

“After I was diagnosed I had three fractures in my back. I was so sore and fragile. The wellness staff recommended an oncology massage however I was so petrified about being pushed and prodded. Finally, I agreed, and the lovely massage therapist Bronwyn was so gentle and so caring. She not only soothed my bones and muscles, but she soothed my heart. It was the most calming and relaxing experience during a very challenging and worrying time.”

After Suzi’s stem cell transplant, she was very unwell and in hospital for several weeks. Not able to leave her hospital room, massage therapist Bronwyn came to Suzi instead.

“She visited weekly during a time when I was terribly unwell. Her gentle massage, soft voice and kindness helped my mind shift to a place of calm”, says Suzi.

Because of support from Dry July, special services like oncology massage make a lifechanging difference to people with cancer, like Suzi. Thank you Dry July for all that you do.

“Oncology massage greatly contributed to my recovery and wellness. Thank you for all that you give to keep this special service going.”- Suzi Juracic


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Art and Music program funded by Dry July at ONJ - patient feedback

Sometimes the words of our patients are the best way to express just how much your support helps them during their cancer treatment. The Art and Music program allows patients to come together in a group setting and express themselves through a combination of art and music.

“Helped me be happy.”

“Even with cancer you can be content.”

“Allowing both art and music to nurture and calm the mind adding positive outlook.”

“Provides escape, joy and growth.”

“Art and music are therapeutic.”

“Expressing self positively is worth the time.”

“Great to allow ideas, feelings and emotions to flow.”

 “Art and music make you aware of the subconscious underlying your thoughts.”

“Helped me let go and relax – need to do this more.”

“I totally escaped, relaxed and enjoyed!”


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Dry July funds at work - Oncology massage program patient feedback

Oncology Massage provides a relaxing experience for patients as well as offering particular benefits for experiencing nausea, pain, fatigue, anxiety and sleep difficulties as well as stiffness or limited range of movement.

“She not only soothed my bones and muscles, she soothed my heart.”

“Massage helped me to re-focus on my journey ahead.”

“Very relaxing, good for the mind... body...”

“Very lovely and really helped me relax, so relaxed I fell asleep.”

 So great to feel relaxed and nurtured.”

 “Very gentle and blissful (heaven).”

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Dry July funds Gentle Yoga at ONJ

Yoga has been shown to improve both physical and emotional health. Clinical research has shown that yoga may improve sleep, decrease stress and enhance quality of life. Exercise and physical activity are increasingly prescribed across the cancer continuum.

The Gentle Yoga program at the ONJ Centre continues to be one of the most sought after programs in the Wellness and Supportive Care suite. Our Gentle Yoga six-week programs have been scheduled for four times this year with ten patients in each program. They are typically in high demand, always fully booked with a waiting list for the next program.

Participants are deeply appreciative of the chance to learn the skills of yoga and allow it to help them through their cancer treatment.

 “Spending some time for myself to do gentle exercise and meditate.”

“Relaxation, stretching and consciousness of the body.”

“To be in a group environment learning how to relax and breathe properly.”


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Horticultural therapy

“I always loved gardening, yet through stresses of ill-health, I felt I had lost my passion for it.”

Like many people undergoing a cancer diagnosis and treatment, Christine Fousketakis struggled to get through every day, and things she had loved doing, like gardening, became a thing of the past.

Diagnosed with breast cancer, Christine underwent a rigorous treatment plan at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre (ONJ Centre) including surgery, radiotherapy and hormone therapy.

Christine visits the ONJ Centre twice each week and takes part in many wellness and supportive care programs including horticultural therapy, which is funded by Dry July.

Gardening is a wonderful way to connect with nature and enjoy the present moment. The feel and texture of the soil, the scent of the plants and the ability to facilitate new life by planting seeds and nurturing their growth helps to improve health and well-being of patients and their families, and allows them to enjoy a respite from the emotional turmoil of having cancer.

“Using and engaging with gardens and plants helps people emotionally and physically,” explains Steven Wells, Horticultural Therapist at Austin Health. “It can help patients re-connect with a hobby they may have lost the ability to do themselves, it can act as a diversion from the stress of cancer treatment, and it offers more broad health benefits like connecting with nature by being outdoors in the garden.”

The benefits for Christine have been very clear, and she is so thankful for the opportunity to be involved in horticultural therapy.

“Having attended horticultural therapy helped me to focus less on my current health (even for a short time) and more on something I once enjoyed doing so much,” says Christine. “The group is held in the Wellness Centre garden in a beautiful, serene and relaxing area where one can again learn to enjoy working with nature , no matter how big or small the project.”

“Thank you to all the wonderful Dry July’ers who helped raise money to help people like me,” says Christine.


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