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Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane

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Dry July is a highly important initiative for the PA Research Foundation as it allows us to raise vital funds to positively impact patient care for cancer patients at the PA Hospital.

Our Dry July fundraising efforts are aimed at helping fund patient support initiatives and programs that make cancer patients’ time in hospital more comfortable and help them to experience improved health outcomes as a result.

The funds raised by Dry July have provided funding to expandthe PAH based Queensland Cancer Wellness Initiative (QCWI), a program that offers a range of services in where people living with cancer and its ongoing impact are nurtured and empowered to access evidence-based support, at a time and place that works for individual needs.

All of the programs offered through the QCWI greatly improve patient experiences at the PAH and help those diagnosed with cancer to live as well as possible post diagnosis. These services are a retreat for all people with cancer and their families at the PA Hospital and currently includes activities such as:
• cooking classes
• physiotherapy & exercise wellness
• massage & yoga
• Lymphoedema treatment and support
• leisure activities such as gaming consoles and movies which help take patients mind off the stress of cancer treatment
• pet therapy
• nutrition and dietary support
• programs to counteract cancer related fatigue
• social and emotional support

Go Dry this July and select Princess Alexandra Hospital as your beneficiary to help us raise vital funds to help us provide hope and support to people diagnosed with cancer.

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Your incredible Dry July fundraising means the PA Hospital can fund their very own First Nations Cancer Nurse Navigator

Your fundraising for Dry July 2021 will enable the Princess Alexandra Hospital help to fund a First Nations Cancer Nurse Navigator to provide clinical care, support and advocacy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer who receive their cancer care at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

The implementation of this program will help patients improve their health literacy to navigate the healthcare system while addressing their cultural and spiritual needs - the overall objective of this project is to improve cancer outcomes for First Nations Australians.

On behalf of all the patients and Department of Cancer Services staff at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, we would like to thank you for your support and contribution to making a positive difference in the lives of people living with cancer.

A message from the Radiation Therapists at the Princess Alexandra Hospital...

Some our wonderful team members from Radiation Oncology at the PAH talk more about how your support helps. View their full message here

TIBAH’S FAMILY GO DRY IN JULY TO RAISE FUNDS FOR THE PA

Gary and Melissa O'Brien are currently going without alcohol for a whole month to raise funds to help cancer patients being treated at the PA Hospital (PAH) - one of whom is their 19-year-old son Tibah.

The Morningside based parents are undertaking Dry July this year to raise funds for the PA's cancer ward where Tibah is currently being treated for testicular cancer.

According to Gary, Tibah's love of basketball played a part in his cancer being picked up when it did.

"He'd played basketball on a Sunday night and fell over on his wrist, and he came home and mentioned this to his mother, the next day he gave her a call and said can you make me a doctor's appointment, Melissa asked is your wrist ok, to which Tibah replied not really, but my right testis is four times the size of my left one and it really hurts," Gary said.

"He went to the doctors, and they gave him a referral for an ultrasound appointment, and Tibah, loving his basketball made that appointment for the next day in the afternoon because the next morning he had Swooper Hoopers, where he helps out with coaching young kids through the Swooper Hoopers program at Coomera.

"He went down to Swooper Hoopers, and only lasted about half an hour, and he ended up going to the Gold Coast Hospital thanks to a teammate and coach where they did an ultrasound and obviously found a tumour and sent him for a CT scan.

"His mum and I were at work and drove down there to give him a lift back to save him driving. We picked him up and got a bite to eat and were driving back letting the family know that he has a tumour.

"During the night we'd missed some calls from a private number and when Tibah woke up he had the same missed calls with a message saying get to emergency immediately. This was devastating news as it was a big unknown to us."

The family rushed Tibah to the emergency department at Brisbane's Mater Hospital where his diagnosis was confirmed and Tibah was operated on. Tibah was then transferred over to the Oncology Ward at the PAH for further treatment under the guidance of Dr Rick Walker.

Tibah is now seven weeks into chemotherapy treatment at the PAH with his cancer unfortunately having spread to other parts of his body, however Gary said he has been proud of the resilience his son has shown through what has been one of the toughest times in his young life.

"He's doing a great job I must admit, he is taking it in his stride and staying upbeat and positive," he said.

"He gets down to basketball at the North Gold Coast Seahawks anytime he can even if it is just sitting on the sideline helping to coach, he does that whenever he feels well and up to the drive. The Seahawks community have been amazing and very supportive, on occasion they have even taken the time to drive him home when he has hit a wall. They keep him motivated and positive and safe."

"Treatment wise all the feedback we're getting from the doctor is that he is doing really well."

The first class treatment and care his son has received during his visits for chemotherapy at the PAH was what prompted the family's decision to undertake Dry July.

"They're fantastic, all the nurses are just great people and so is Rick, everyone there has been really good and helpful" he said.

"Tibah and ourselves wanted to give back, and I joined up and read that you can actually make a team and get other people to join, so my wife got involved and we formed a team and went from there.

"It's just our way of saying thanks to everyone at the PA for all they've done for Tibah."

Gary said he took comfort knowing the funds raised through Dry July would go towards patient support initiatives that benefit cancer patients at the PAH, like Tibah, and was full of gratitude for everyone who had donated so far, which included families from Tibah's beloved basketball club the North Gold Coast Seahawks, family members, work colleagues and friends.

"Tibah has noticed people in treatment less fortunate than he is and really wanted to give back a little to help both the patients and staff and to say thank you."

You can donate to support the O'Brien's Dry July efforts here.

High-speed Wi-Fi installation at the Princess Alexandra Hospital thanks to Dry July fundraising

Dry July funds have enabled the PA Research Foundation to install free high-speed Wi-Fi for cancer patients facing lengthy hospital stays.

Hospital stays during cancer treatment can be an isolating experience, particularly during a year like 2020. Being able to access free Wi-Fi from hospital beds will help reduce the emotional distance between patients and their vital support network, as well as providing a crucial distraction from the circumstances that brought them to the hospital ward.

Nguyen 'Thai' Dang's Story

The care shown to Nguyen Thai Dang since he first came to the oncology ward of the Princess Alexandra Hospital in 2018 for chemotherapy to treat leukemia, ended in him nicknaming the PA ‘The Hilton of Hospitals’ and becoming not only a survivor but a champion of the hospital and its staff.

Thai, as he is known to his friends, checked into the PA’s Oncology ward at the request of haematologists on October 22, due to his white blood cell count sliding downward for a matter of months.

“There was a trial treatment organized by PA Hospital and Norvatis Pharmaceutical that would allow me to have a path to treatment that would be less of a burden to Australian taxpayers. Looking at the results of my last blood test, I decided to get on the trial. It was a win-win for both: I would get the treatment and the medical science team could get new weapons to fight the Leukemia disease,” Thai says.

Thai spent around 6 weeks, in the PA including stints in both Oncology, ICU and Ward 3C and multiple trips to the X-Ray and CT Scanning departments. Reflecting on his treatment journey he has nothing but praise for all who helped him beat the disease, including the range of services that were on offer to help support patients.

“I was so impressed with the hospital and its staff, the service and care from doctors and nurses are first class,” he says.

Thai, who still visits the PA once a year to see his liver specialist Dr Powell, went on to become a valued fundraiser for the hospital such is his gratitude towards the level of care, has a simple message for anyone thinking of donating to the hospital through Dry July or other initiatives.

“Take a tour and visit some patients (could be their friends or relatives). A talk to doctors will also be encouraged. Once they see the “good fruits” they will embrace the “good trees”,” he says.

Funds raised through Dry July will help expand Cancer Wellness Initiative, where patients receiving treatment for cancer like Thai are enabled, nurtured and empowered to access evidence-based support at a time and place that works for individual needs to enrich their life outside of treatment.

For more information on the Wellness Initiative see: https://www.qldcancerwellness.org/


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