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The Alfred, Melbourne

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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 a real and tangible impact on the lives of those dealing with a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment.

As a Dry July campaigner your actions have made a considerable difference to the lives of our patients, their carers and loved ones. The list of improvements and innovations made possible by your generosity and restraint 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

Projects made possible at The Alfred thanks to funds raised during Dry July

The Alfred is back on board for Dry July in 2020 and ready to raise critical funds for those who come to us for treatment in their time of need.

This year we’ll be continuing to invest in existing programmes and exploring new opportunities that support the recovery journey for cancer patients who visit The Alfred for their treatments.

We know it’s a tough year for many and are grateful for any support that people are still able to offer in these challenging times.

Here is an overview of the valuable projects that have been made possible thanks to Dry July fundraising and examples of how your fundraising contributes.

Sky Ceiling

Last year we installed a new sky ceiling to help patients with cancer feel at ease while undergoing their radiotherapy treatment. This may seem like a small change but research has shown that improvements to treatment spaces such as this one have been proven to lower blood pressure, speed up recovery times and reduce overall stress and anxiety when patients could be undergoing treatment for up to 40 minutes.

Music Therapy

For some time now Dr Lucy Forrest, Senior Music Therapist has been able to offer music therapy to cancer patients at The Alfred through their treatment. Music therapy is an evidence-based practice that has been proven to positively influence experiences of anxiety, fatigue, quality of life, pain, heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate for cancer patients – all aiding in their recovery.

Cancer Ward Garden

Previously, funds raised have been used to make improvements to the garden area outside the cancer ward. This offers those undergoing treatment a green haven to wait in between appointments and treatments and we all know the benefits that nature and green spaces has for our stress levels.

Patient Accommodation Program

The Alfred have been able to provide rural and regional patients and their families with accommodation very close to the hospital. This service has made a world of difference by cutting the costs of seeking treatment for patients and families who would otherwise need to pay for private accommodation, as well as making it easier for regional family members to be close by – another proven way to enhance patient

Funds raised by Dry July participants help The Alfred support people like Brett

On Valentines’ Day 2018, I was diagnosed 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 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), and Lymphoma or Leukaemia were also possibilities. I went straight to Emergency and a simple blood test 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 an allogenic stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor, 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 their 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 20 months post-transplant and my life is slowly returning to my new normal. While I was fortunate enough to be 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 was often forced to share a room with much older and sicker oncology patients which I found extremely confronting. I was also forced to deal with side effects which are uniquely distressing to young adults – loss of fertility, early menopause, steroid induced osteoporosis and changes in physical appearance. 

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.

The Alfred, Melbourne receives an additional grant from the Dry July Foundation

We're pleased to announce that The Alfred, Melbourne has received an additional grant from the Dry July Foundation October grant round.

This grant will enable continued funding for patient accommodation, providing ‘hotel-style’ accommodation for rural and regional patients on 7East Ward. This relieves financial strain on patients and their families at a time when they already have enough to worry about.

Dry July Foundation funds continuation of Music Therapy at The Alfred

Thank you for taking on the Dry July challenge in 2019 and supporting The Alfred Hospital this year. 

Your fundraising for Dry July has enabled The Alfred Hospital to support our Palliative Care Services.

Over the past year, the Palliative Care Service at Alfred Health has been able to provide music therapy for more than 300 patients and families thanks to the support of Dry July. With “Charlie” the harp, Dr Lucy Forrest, Senior Music Therapist at The Alfred visits patients and families around the hospital, playing music to soothe, comfort and relax, bring joy, and also to provide symptom and procedural support as patients undergo treatment and approach end-of-life.

The funding raised this year means Dr Forrest can continue providing this important service which is extremely well received by patients and staff alike.

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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