St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne

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Grant South
2nd Year
Jess Brain
4th Year
Scott South
2nd Year
Steven South
3rd Year
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Fundraising For

Funds raised this Dry July will help fund a music therapist for patients receiving treatment for cancer

About Us

St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne proudly provides world-class cancer care to metropolitan and rural patients.

Our Chemotherapy Day Unit (CDU) is a calm and compassionate environment where patients receive daily cancer treatment. The CDU provides approximately 7000 treatments each year. The team is leading the way in cancer clinical trials, giving patients access to cutting-edge, life-extending therapies.

The 6th-floor cancer ward has 20 beds and cares for patients with higher needs.

Fundraising through Dry July assists us to purchase essential items for the Cancer Centre and for our patients.

Neville, the husband of Ruth, who is receiving treatment for cancer at St Vincent’s, said, “Taking part in Dry July helps our family to feel empowered because they can do something positive for their loved one as well as for other patients going through cancer.”

That’s why we need your support!

Latest Updates

Harnessing knowledge to tackle huge challenges

Kashi Thiris’s cancer journey started with a dream in which she heard the words, 'I am metastatic'. When she woke up, she thought it was strange that she had been dreaming about a word related to cancer.

A few days later, Kashi developed a rash on her breast. This wasn’t particularly unusual because she was breastfeeding her daughter at the time. “I just thought it was mastitis, an inflammation in the breast caused by an infection. I was in the bush doing work at my farm, so I didn’t see a doctor.”

The rash cleared up, and everything seemed fine until she noticed a large lump that had started to grow on her breast. “It grew really fast. Within days, I could see it in the mirror. It was at this point I thought I should see a doctor.”

After having an ultrasound, mammogram biopsy, and scans, Kashi was diagnosed with Triple-positive breast cancer. As if dealing with breast cancer diagnosis and treatment while caring for two young children wasn’t enough, she was later told her diagnosis had been upgraded to inflammatory breast cancer, a rare, aggressive type of breast cancer that develops fast and invades the skin.

Following gruelling treatment with a combination of chemotherapy and HER2-targeted therapies, Kashi had a modified radical mastectomy. The area of the tumour had shrunk from 13 cm to 3 mm. This was followed by radiotherapy to manage the small amount of cancer that remained. Overall, her response to treatments was excellent, and her prognosis had improved.

A particularly pragmatic person, Kashi says once she had the cancer under control, life returned to normal. She was able to focus on caring for her two daughters, Eleni and Olive, and getting her hands dirty by planting garlic on her farm in Tallarook.

In March 2024, Kashi received shocking news. She had experienced excruciating stomach pains and took herself to the Emergency Department, where a gallbladder attack was suspected. Her instincts told her the pain might also be coming from her liver. “The team at St Vincent’s had discovered a suspicious lesion on my liver a few years ago, thought to be benign. It had been stable, then it disappeared, so they’d stopped monitoring it.

Kashi’s suspicions were accurate. Scans showed her liver was riddled with innumerable tumours. Kashi prepared herself to face another battle. “The cancer is very aggressive, but thankfully, there are medicines that can target it.”

Kashi said that although it’s daunting, she’s happy and usually gets a decent sleep at night. She’s also armed herself with knowledge. “In between my first breast cancer diagnosis and this cancer, I’ve done a lot of research. There’s some chance that I’ll do okay. This may just be a blip in the road.”

Although she’s coping well, her kids, particularly her youngest, have become very clingy and need a lot of extra hugs and reassurance. “I’m doing everything I can to fight this and know I’m in good hands. It does make you appreciate the ones you love. And would you believe it’s made me more amenable to doing domestic work! I no longer mind the mundane tasks.”

Kashi said she’s pleased she’s being treated at St Vincent’s. “The staff are lovely. Most of the people are still here from when I was treated five years ago, which is a testament to the team's closeness and the hospital's good culture.”

The self-confessed ‘Scrabble tragic’ said she’s learnt not to sweat the small stuff. “I’m enjoying time with my family and working on our garlic business. My thirst for learning has also led me to take on a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology. I’ve taken a leave of absence from my study to focus on my treatment, but I do hope to return to it soon.”

Kashi, her husband John and their daughters, Eleni and Olive, who are now 8 and 12, are also planning a trip to Greece after she has completed a course of chemotherapy.

Click here to hear Kashi explain why people should participate in Dry July. 

Sign up for Dry July today to support patients like Kashi who are receiving care at St Vincent’s. Individuals and workplace teams can sign up for Dry July.

Love & staying positive conquers all

Ruth South and her husband Neville have endured way more than any couple should have to face together, yet their love is stronger than ever.

They met at a young age. When Ruth was just 16, they bought a property in the picturesque township of Cockatoo in Dandenong's Eastern Ranges. Seven years later, their home was razed to the ground in the Ash Wednesday fires. The couple chose to rebuild and are still in the same house today.

They married in 1978 and had four sons. When their third-born son, Matthew, was just 19, they were dealt another massive blow. Matthew was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma and Osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. He underwent aggressive treatment at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and had several surgeries at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. He fought hard, but just two years later, Ruth and Neville lost their beloved son to this cruel disease.

The devoted couple and their close family unit made their way through the heavy grief by focusing on loved ones and even Neville’s bad dad jokes.

Facing Another Big Challenge

In 2022, despite never being sick for a day in her life, Ruth discovered a lump on her cheek and under her eye. Ruth said, “The lump kept getting bigger, and I didn’t feel well. I had a lot of body pain."

Her initial diagnosis was Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Ruth remembers spending Good Friday at the Eye and Ear Hospital. From there, she was sent to St Vincent’s. “I couldn’t get a biopsy done because I was on blood thinners for DVT, so I had an anxious five day wait for any updates.”

Ruth was diagnosed with Stage 4 Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma, an aggressive type of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

After a stay in 6 West, St Vincent’s oncology ward, Ruth was fortunately able to go onto a clinical trial. She also underwent a cycle of chemotherapy (chemo). The treatment was so successful she received a diagnosis of complete remission!

The close couple spent the next six months enjoying Ruth’s good health. They took a few short trips and focused on spending quality time with family. Then, at the end of April in 2023, Ruth started having double vision and trouble walking.

Cancer Strikes Again

“I lost my hearing in one ear temporarily. That’s when they discovered I had a brain tumour. They don’t remove this type of tumour, so I started having chemo at St Vincent’s. After five weeks, an MRI showed that the tumours were gone. Everything was looking positive for a stem cell transplant. This was the one thing that would give me the chance of a longer remission.”

Heartbreakingly, she developed an issue with her heart which delayed the next steps. During that time, her cancer returned, sending her back to square one.

After another six weeks of chemo, Ruth has now been approved for a stem cell transplant at St Vincent's.

“The St Vincent’s team have been absolutely wonderful. My brain Lymphoma is quite rare. I’ve been following what they do in the USA, and my treatment is the same; it’s leading-edge,” Ruth said.

Despite the many challenges Ruth and Neville have had to face, they both remain positive. Ruth said she’s grateful she’s still got all her ‘beans’ and still has options.

Neville has learnt to cook, he’s in the third year of his ‘apprenticeship’, and he looks after all of Ruth’s medications. “We laugh a lot, and we’re lucky because we get along really well.”

Ruth said, “If I crack, it’s only me that suffers, so I try to be strong. I’ve paid for my funeral, and I’ve done all my photos and music list. That was upsetting for Neville and me, but I’m not planning to go anywhere.”

Dry July Champions

Ruth’s immediate and extended family have participated in the Dry July campaign for several years. Last year alone, they raised an incredible $16,000 for St Vincent’s Hospital.

Neville said, “Our eldest son Steven was the first to do Dry July, then family and friends joined him. When a loved one is sick, you can feel quite helpless.

“Taking part in Dry July helps our family to feel empowered because they can do something positive for their loved one and for all patients going through cancer.”

Two of Ruth’s nieces have already signed up this year, and she suspects other family members will get involved again.

“St Vincent’s and their patients need the support of Dry July. It makes life just a bit easier when you’re having treatment. The little creature comfort like the pamper packs makes it much nicer,” Ruth said.

Click here to see Ruth share why people should participate in Dry July.

Join Ruth’s family today. Individuals and workplace teams can sign up for Dry July.

St Vincent’s nurse clocks up four years going dry in July

Whenever you meet a nurse from St Vincent’s, one thing stands out: their passion for their work and their patients. Jess Brain, a 6 West Oncology Ward nurse, is no exception. Her passion is infectious!

Jess is channeling this passion to commit to her fourth year of giving up alcohol to do Dry July. But she’s not the only one getting involved. Jess has inspired six of her teammates to join her in the challenge.

Jess says the opportunity to raise funds for her patients inspires her to do Dry July. “I’m happy to make the sacrifice because it means patients get to enjoy items they wouldn’t normally. This is especially important for rural patients who come through emergency because they often don’t even have toiletries.”

Each year, she’s raised around $1,000. This year, Jess is keen to raise the bar and raise $2,000. These funds will go towards funding a music therapist for patients.

“Music brings people together. It’s so nice for patients to forget where they are for a short time and enjoy the music; it’s a beautiful gift to give them. It also helps to lift the team’s spirits.”

Her bubbly personality and enthusiasm will no doubt attract many people to support her. “I have lots of ideas of how to raise money. I will make fun posters with QR codes and ask my team, friends, and family to put them up wherever they can. I love baking, so we’ll hold a bake sale at St Vincent’s, which I suspect will be very popular because nurses and doctors generally love a delicious snack!”

Four is the magic number. Not only is it the fourth year Jess will be doing Dry July, but it’s also her fourth year as a nurse at St Vincent’s.

“I love working at St Vincent’s; I want it to be my forever hospital. Most of our patients are gravely ill, so we must face some very serious situations and a fair amount of sadness. It’s a tough job, but we do it well. Everyone works together and is kind to each other.”

Jess said she often uses wine to cope with difficult days, so giving up alcohol for a whole month is a genuine sacrifice!

She will need to lean on her other outlets to cope. “I’m a candle queen; I always have at least three candles lit. Taking my dog for a walk through the bush is a great way for me to calibrate. And, of course, cooking! I’m going to cook up a storm this July!”

Click here to hear from Jess on why you should sign up for Dry July.

Support Jess as she goes dry this July. Individuals and workplace teams can sign up.

Dry July funds help St Vincent's Hospital continue to provide comfort and support services

Dry July 2023 funds are helping St Vincent's Hospital purchase specialised medical equipment, upgrades for waiting rooms and comfort items for both the patients and their loved ones.

From Sleepy Visitor chairs and podiatry approved slippers, to comfort foods and a warm cuppa, your funds are making a big difference to the comfort and wellbeing of people affected by cancer.

Thank you for signing up for Dry July and supporting St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne

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