St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne

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We hope you will join us in going dry this July to help us to continue to provide the best possible care to our cancer patients at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne prides itself in providing the very best care and treatment to patients from all walks of life, especially those who are vulnerable and isolated. We treat more than 57,000 patients a year in our world class Cancer Centre. Our Cancer Centre staff are dedicated and passionate which is evident in their everyday medical practices and care. Fundraising through Dry July assists staff in making this happen. That’s why we need your support! The Cancer Centre Chemotherapy Day Unit provides specialised treatment for up to 28 patients a day, both from the metropolitan and rural areas of Victoria. The 6th floor Oncology Ward looks after inpatients that need further additional care and cancer treatment. We’d love to reach our fundraising target of $50,000 this year so we can provide and update vital & essential equipment and supplies to our cancer patients.

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Brendan, a patient of St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, shares his story

Your Dry July fundraising helps St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne provide optimal comfort and support to their patients undergoing treatment; people like Brendan. 

You can watch Brendan's story here:

Sign up to Dry July and support St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne to help more people like Brendan here 

Family rallies for brave grandmother

Moama resident Robyn Graham beat breast cancer in 2017. Receiving a clean bill of health meant she was able to go back to enjoying spending time with her family and ten grandchildren.

In January 2020 Robyn started experiencing overwhelming fatigue. She recalls visiting Funfields Waterpark with her daughter and grandkids and feeling so exhausted that she could barely even make it up the path to the front entrance. Just a few days later Robyn collapsed at a nail salon. She underwent a series of blood tests that revealed she had a blood cancer called acute myeloid leukaemia.

Robyn started having chemotherapy on the ward at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne in early February 2020 and has only been home for twelve days over the past 4 months. She credits the staff at St Vincent’s as being instrumental in helping her to cope.

‘The staff are really supportive. They have made me feel so safe and secure. The teams and doctors keep a really close eye on you which is very reassuring,’ Robyn recalls.

Going through cancer for a second time has had a significant impact not only on Robyn but also on her family. She is incredibly grateful to have their love and support.

‘They’ve rallied, it’s been incredible. They just keep saying we’re all here for you and it’s not your time,’ Robyn said.

Robyn and her husband are raising one of their grandsons. Eleven year old Boyd has undertaken a bit of a cancer research project to cope.

‘He’s a very clever little boy. Doing research helps him to gain a better understanding. He keeps reminding me, ‘Nan, we’re going to get through this’,’ Robyn said.

Not only have Robyn’s family provided moral and emotional support, but luckily her brother is a perfect match to enable Robyn to have a bone marrow transplant.

Robyn remains optimistic about the future. ‘‘It’s been a bit of a tough road but the outcome looks promising.

‘For me, it’s important to take one day at a time. I do have bad days when I have a bit of a cry, but the majority of the time I manage to stay really positive. Going through this experience makes you realise just how precious time and life is.

‘The chemo was rough but the hard yards are done. I believe I can fight this,’ Robyn said.

Go Dry This July to support patients like Robyn being treated for Cancer at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne.

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Image: Left to right – St Vincent’s Registered Nurse, Sheena, Robyn and St Vincent’s Associate Nurse Manager, Nathan. 

Your Dry July fundraising helps St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne support people like Karen

Living with an incurable cancer is an extremely challenging situation for anyone to be faced with but Warrnambool resident Karen Wilde has refused to focus on the negatives of her diagnosis. Instead, she has harnessed the power of positive thinking and is making the most of life.

Karen was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer, seven years ago. Her diagnosis came after she complained to her doctor about knee pain. 

“It was a stroke of luck that my doctor recalled a woman who had experienced similar symptoms who had been diagnosed with the disease,” Karen said. 

In Australia, approximately 1700 people are diagnosed with myeloma each year. 

Karen is one of only 46 people in the world participating in a clinical trial of a new drug. She feels extremely lucky to be on the trial, especially because a lot of people in regional areas don’t have access to trials.

Karen said she had no qualms about entering the trial. "Two things St Vincent’s Haematologist, Dr Hang Quach said to me at the beginning of the trial was to have resilience and adaptability.

"I keep a positive mindset, one step at a time, one day at a time. I feel privileged to be on the trial."

Being a part of the trial means Karen travels from Warrnambool to St Vincent’s in Melbourne for treatment every two weeks.

As a former Iyengar yoga teacher and physiotherapist, Karen said continuing to practice yoga daily for half an hour has really helped her to maintain a positive state of mind.

“I do my practice in the hotel the morning before treatment. State of mind is important for how I view the day. It’s not about distracting my mind, it’s about accepting what life has given me,” Karen explained.

Karen also tries to make her treatments a ‘fun’ experience. She makes an effort to dress well and always wears a pair of funny socks to amuse the staff.

“The staff have a very difficult job. I try to bring a bit of humour into the clinic,” Karen said.

Karen remains positive about the future. “I want to cross off the word incurable - one day it will be curable. Thanks to many clever people, I’m part of history,” she said.

Patients sit in comfort thanks to Dry July

Thank you to all the participants of the 2019 Dry July campaign who raised over $40,000. This fantastic result has enabled us to purchase four new treatment chairs for the Cancer Centre. 

The Dry July campaign encourages participants to go alcohol-free in July to raise funds for people affected by cancer. Funds go towards helping to provide invaluable services for cancer patients, their families and carers.

One patient who has benefitted is Athol Atkins. Three years ago Athol started to feel unwell. A blood test showed his kidneys were functioning at just 10%. Athol was rushed to Warrnambool Hospital where he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer.

After six months of chemotherapy, Athol was accepted into a placebo-based worldwide trial through St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, which proved to be very effective. After 14 months, Athol had to be placed onto a new treatment, shortly followed by being included on a new trial.

This new treatment was so successful that Athol and his wife Sue received the best possible news they could have hoped for. As of October 2019, he was told he was in remission.

Athol is now feeling fantastic. He and Sue still come to St Vincent’s Cancer Centre once a month for what he calls a “grease and oil change to keep it asleep.”

It’s during these visits that he spends five hours at a time sitting in one of the new chairs in the Cancer Centre. Athol said, “the chair is extremely comfortable, easy to operate and particularly good for a nap.”

Nurse Unit Manager Jessica Watmore-Tanner appreciates the of the support received from Dry July because it means they’ve been able to provide additional care to patients. “Last year we were able to purchase Scalp Cooling caps to prevent hair loss during treatment. The extra comfortable chairs will be beneficial for patient’s long days of receiving therapy, as well as many other smaller comfort items that all make a huge difference to our patients.”

After learning of his diagnosis, Athol’s son James took part in Dry July to support his dad. Two years later he’s still alcohol free!

St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne receives an additional grant from the Dry July Foundation

We're pleased to announce that St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne has received an additional grant from the Dry July Foundation October grant round.

This grant will enable the purchase of 4 new chemotherapy chairs to replace old, damaged chairs.

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