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The Alfred, Melbourne

139 Supporters

$55,099.60 raised

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Patients are the reason we are here – they are the focus of what we do. We are proudly a public health service, available to all. Join us this Dry July and help The Alfred continue to support people affected by cancer.

Each year, The Alfred treats thousands of people living with cancer. Alfred Health’s cancer service includes 28 inpatient beds, 18 day procedure units, and a large radiotherapy and chemotherapy centre solely dedicated to treating adult cancer patients.

The Alfred’s cancer services allow for close clinical coordination with a range of cancer specialists, including surgeons, medical oncologists, haematologists, and nursing and allied health specialists.

Community support is a fundamental part of The Alfred’s history and its future. Through Dry July, you have helped deliver real and tangible impact on the lives of those dealing with a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment. As a DJ your actions have made a considerable impact on the lives of our patients, their carers and loved ones.

The list of improvements and innovations made possible by your generosity and abstinence is long and for that we are so very grateful. Programs funded through Dry July include a music therapy program for patients and loved ones, helping them explore and express difficult emotions. It has also seen the implementation of a patient accommodation program, increasing access to care for our regional and rural patients, giving them a home away from home.

With your support we hope to be able to continue to fund these amazing programs as well as make some wonderful new improvements to the Dry July garden.

Latest Updates

Dry July offering a room with a view

With the support of the Dry July Foundation The Alfred has installed a new sky ceiling to help patients feel at ease while undergoing radiotherapy treatment. By offering this room with a view we hope to be able to improve the overall experience a person has when being treated for cancer.

The caring and committed team of doctors, nurses and specialists working within our cancer services are continually looking at ways to improve their patients’ experience. The implementation of the sky ceiling panels above the radiotherapy machine will help do that. Patients could be undergoing treatment for up to 40 minutes, now they can look up and concentrate on the sky, the shapes of the clouds or the colours in the trees. It will give them something else to focus on, a distraction. Changes like this in healthcare settings have been proven to lower blood pressure, speed up recovery times and reduce overall stress and anxiety.

The project is possible because of a generous donation from the Dry July Foundation. We are very excited to be part of Dry July again in 2019. Dry July raises funds to improve the lives of adults living with cancer through an online social community and health awareness initiative that encourages people to get their family, friends and work colleagues to sponsor them to give up booze for the month of July.

We are so grateful to everyone who supported Dry July and The Alfred in making the lives of those affected by cancer a little better and a little brighter. The new sky ceiling may be a small change in a small room but it provides a window to a much bigger and kinder world.

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A Patient Story - Brett Conley

On Valentines’ Day 2018, I was diagnosed on with Leukaemia ALL B Cell Philadelphia Positive – a rare and aggressive form of cancer. I went to the see a local Melbourne GP after feeling unwell for about a month; however, I didn’t think my symptoms were all that serious. My symptoms were a cold with a barking cough, night sweats which became continuous throughout the day as time progressed, a faint purple dotted rash on my chest and legs, fatigue, muscle soreness, heavy menstrual period and random nose and mouth bleeds.

Once I explained these symptoms to the GP, he urged me to go straight to Emergency as there was likely something wrong with my blood composition. He explained it could be Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) but Lymphoma or Leukaemia were also possibilities. I went straight to Emergency and a simple blood tests confirmed that I had Leukaemia.

Prior to my diagnosis, I considered myself a perfectly healthy and fit 26-year-old female with no prior medical history. I had never even been admitted to hospital, let alone an oncology ward! In the events of that fateful day, I went from a relatively normal 20-something-year-old to a likely infertile, cancer patient.

Despite responding well to chemo with minimal complications, it was decided that I would undergo to an autologous stem cell transplant, due to my ALL subtype. The path to transplant was not smooth sailing. In May 2018, a German donor was ruled unfit to donate 10 days prior to my transplant admission. My transplant was put on hold for 8 weeks until another suitable donor was able to donate his stem cells.

I spent 36 days in The Alfred for my transplant with the majority of that being confined to the isolation of my room in July 2018. I had full myeloablative conditioning (chemo and full body radiation) for my transplant. Despite being cancer free, I experienced debilitating side effects for many months following my transplant.

I am now 9 months post-transplant and my life is slowly returning to my new normal. While I was fortunate enough to being treated at one of Australia’s leading tertiary teaching hospitals, the Alfred; being the only young adult in an entire ward brought up its own challenges.

I often forced to share a room with much older and sicker oncology patients which I found extremely confronting. I also was forced to deal with side effects which are uniquely distressing to young adults – loss of fertility, early menopause and changes in physical appearance etc.

While I still enjoy many of things I enjoyed prior to my diagnosis, it is now vitally important to me that I continue to raise awareness for Cancer and its implications, particularly those affecting Young Adults. I am so pleased to be able to support the Dry July initiative and give something back to the organisations that supported me.

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Thank you from the staff on Ward 7East

A cancer diagnosis and a prolonged and intensive confinement to hospital can take an immense toll on a young adult’s life. Thanks to the Dry July Foundation and the amazing people who abstained from drinking throughout Dry July. plus the contribution of a number of community fundraisers, The Alfred has been able to implement a new adolescence and young adult’s breakout area and provide a space where they can relax and act their age.

The Alfred treats thousands of adult patients living with cancer but the needs of someone who is 19 vary dramatically to that of a 49-year-old. There has been growing recognition in recent years of the unique medical, psychosocial and information needs of adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer. To deliver appropriate care to this unique patient group, we need to have an appreciation of how their age and stage of life may impact their distress levels, self-esteem, peer relationships, self-identity and perceptions of future.  

Thanks to the dedication of nursing staff on Ward 7East who were passionate about creating a better environment for their patients, and the support of the Dry July Foundation, a newly refurbished Ward 7East has the addition of a dedicated area for adolescence and young adults. Brigitte Mahony a social worker at Alfred Health believes this bright new space will give our young adult patients a place to go and explore their feelings or spend their time, it will give them access to engage in normal, everyday activity with their friends and peers and help distract them. “The planning of the room has taken years of consideration with numerous disciplines and professions contributing. The implementation of the adolescence and young adult area is a first for The Alfred and will be truly beneficial for our patients.” Added Brigitte. 

Ward 7East nurse and Dry July participant, Simone Waterman is also excited about the new space. “Having cared for a number of young patients and looked after the families for a long time I felt there was more we could do to support them. Taking part in Dry July gave me an opportunity to join others to make a real difference, my fundraising helped build something that may distract someone from their day to day medical needs or the effects of their treatment. I am so pleased with the result.” 

The space is furnished with comfortable seating, tables to study or play games around and a Smart TV so patients can access streaming services and simply chill and zone out, leaving behind the worries of their treatment and illness. This amazing new facility will make a positive impact and real difference on the care we are able to provide.  

Thank you so much to everyone who helped fund the adolescence and young adult’s area. We appreciate your contribution and acknowledge your support may have been one of first-hand experience; a former patient, a thankful family. It is through the generosity of others that we are able to continue to innovate and improve, offering an even better level of service and care to patients now and in the years to come. 

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Patient accommodation for rural and regional patients

With funds raised by supporters of The Alfred during Dry July 2018, plus a grant from the Dry July Foundation, the cancer services team at The Alfred have been able to provide rural and regional patients with ‘hotel style’ accommodation close to the hospital.

Jo Matchado is the social worker in charge and said, 'This initiative provides many individuals and their families financial relief when it comes to accessing accommodation. Being based close to the hospital is important due to commitments of attending appointments at the Haematology/Oncology Clinic as outpatients, when they don’t live near by the cost of this either falls to the patient and their family or they have to stay in hospital. It is wonderful to be able to give them less to worry about.'

Thank you to everyone who went dry in July 2018 to raise funds for this project.  We are so pleased to be able to ease the burden cancer treatment has on some of our patients. 

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Update - Young adults with cancer area now open

Unfortunately, cancer diagnosis for the young adult population has increased over the years. Here at The Alfred we identified a need to further support this unique patient group.

With an average length of stay at any one time for these admissions to be 35 days, a cancer diagnosis and a prolonged and intensive confinement to hospital can take an immense toll on a young adults life. 

The team on 7East made a commitment to make a positive impact and improvement on not only patients physical outcomes but also their psychosocial ones, during and post treatment for the young adult cohort. This involves specifically trained staff, which have nursing and social work backgrounds and will roll out education tools to assist staff.  

Thanks to a grant from the Dry July Foundation, we now an area specifically designed for the young adult patients and their families. By providing them with a dedicated space we hope to ease the anxiety experienced by our patients and improve their stay in hospital.  

Social worker, Brigitte Mahoney, says, 'The tailor made space came from a realisation that the adolescent and young adult population (AYA) have unique and complex psychosocial needs and provide them with a comfortable environment, in an adult hospital. The planning of the room has taken years of consideration with numerous disciplines and professions contributing. The implementation of the AYA area is a first for The Alfred which I know will benefit our AYA population in the years to come.'

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