Head here to listen to Lucy playing the in the hospital corridors during the pandemic: www.dryjuly.com/2021/the-alfred-music-therapy-program
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.
The Alfred's music therapay program has provided an uplifting and vibrant atmosphere throughout these uncertain times...
By participating in Dry July this year, you are continuing to bring the joy of music therapy to the Alfred’s HOC department
For the past 5 years Jacquie, now aged 70, has been sailing around the world on her boat. First Jacquie travelled up to Darwin, then across the Indian Ocean to South Africa, before heading over to South America and up to the Caribbean. Then it was through the Panama Canal and on to the islands of the Pacific before heading back to Australia again. Jacquie has known many adventures along the way as a solo sailor and in that time, she also wrote and published her own book “Just Me at Sea”. Her boat’s name is Shanti, which means peace, tranquility, bliss & the ability to rise above stress and adversity. As Jacquie says “kind of sums up my circumnavigation as well as my current journey.”
Both luckily and unluckily, it was in the time that Jacquie was back in Melbourne that she noticed a persistent sore shoulder that she went to have checked. There were no other symptoms to report but a routine blood test picked up an abnormality and Jacquie was diagnosed with Leukaemia.
On the 1st of December 2020, Jacquie was admitted to hospital at The Alfred for an initial 6 weeks of treatment. While in The Alfred’s Haematology and Oncology Department for treatment, Jacquie was very touched to experience Lucy’s majestical harp playing thanks to the Music Therapy program funded through Dry July.
Jacquie says “Music is very important to me. I love to play guitar and sing and my daughter, Misha Bear is a professional musician, singer /songwriter. I had a guitar while travelling too and loved to play around a bonfire on the beach with my fellow sailors. Hearing Lucy play the harp and sing, while I was receiving treatment in HOC was tremendously uplifting, an unexpected lightness and joy. It made me feel emotionally moved, delighted that someone should bring their music to lift our spirits.”
Jacquie isn’t shy of a challenge. It took her an entire year to do up her sailing boat before it was ready for the long voyage. Her treatment also continues ahead of her with multiple weeks needing to be spent in hospital for a stretch of 8 months in total before it will be completed. Jacquie says “this experience is certainly a good training in patience and acceptance. I find it important to stay in the present moment as much as possible and also to take it as it comes.”
For several years now the money raised through Dry July has been used to continue the Music Therapy Program here at The Alfred, employing our fantastic and very talented Music Therapist, Lucy. We’d like to thank all of those who step up to the challenge of going Dry in July to support our cancer patients just like Jacquie in their treatment and recovery. We hope this additional support will mean Jacquie can return to full health to be reunited with her boat as soon as possible.
Jacquie is adamant “I would strongly recommend music therapy to all hospital patients. It is a universally recognised panacea. The face on the man in the chair next to me showed the same joy. There should be more of it, and for longer.”
Your participation this Dry July, to support the continued joy of bringing music therapy to the Alfred’s HOC department, is deeply appreciated.
By partipating in Dry July, you could help raise funds for The Alfred so people like Lisa can access to patient accommodation
Lisa has three grown children and lives with her husband Shane in Mildura, a 6-hour drive from Melbourne. Her and her husband have a morning ritual to get up early and go for a walk along the beautiful Murray River. In late 2019 & early 2020 it became increasingly difficult to go for those walks.
She says, “I was just in so much pain, those morning walks became impossible.”
When physio and pilates made no difference, Lisa went to her doctor. After a series of tests and scans she received the devastating diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma – A type of blood cancer.
For her more complex care needs and treatment, Lisa needed to make the long trips to Melbourne. While so far from the comforts of home, Lisa was lucky to have access to the patient accommodation program funded entirely thanks to our donors and participants in Dry July.
This meant Lisa and her husband had free accommodation right next to the hospital. As a regional patient this also meant Lisa didn’t need to spend any more nights staying in the more sterile hospital environment than was necessary for her monitoring. Lisa says,
“It was great to be so close to the hospital, and also Fawkner Park across the road for walks. Being away from home for a month was very isolating and it was such an incredible comfort to have a place that felt like home while getting treatment. Having a place for my husband to stay as well was amazing. It was one less thing to worry about!”
From numerous scans, tests and biopsies, to surgery to remove her L1 vertebrae which contained Multiple Myeloma lession, then following chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, it’s been a long tough road for Lisa - and while things are looking good, she will still need further monitoring and medication into the future.
Read Lisa's full story here: https://www.dryjuly.com/2021/lisas-story
The Alfred's Patient Accommodation and Music therapy programs to continue running this year thanks to Dry July funding!
Here at The Alfred, we’re so pleased that the Patient Accommodation Program and Music Therapy Programs will once again be running this year thanks to funds raised through Dry July!
We’d like to thank everyone who contributed, either by going dry or donating, and to encourage you all to consider joining this worthy cause again in 2021.
Here is just some of the feedback we’ve received to show what a huge difference these programs make in the lives of cancer patients treated here at The Alfred.
Patient Accommodation Program (free accommodation for regional cancer patients)
“Without the accommodation there’s little chance I’d have been able to continue treatment. Financially it took the pressure off and my father was able to come and care for me too. It was a safe haven, so close to the hospital and provided everything I needed.” Danielle
“I can’t emphasise enough that I wouldn’t have coped having to drive in and out to the hospital as I was so unwell during treatment. Management of the apartment was so accommodating. It had everything mum and I needed. I’m so grateful.” Simone
Music Therapy Program for cancer patients
“Music therapy was the last thing I expected when I came in to hospital but I really enjoyed it. When I don’t feel well, the music is relaxing. It takes my mind off what is happening and makes me feel happy”.
“The Alfred is a busy place: it can be overwhelming and music therapy slows the pace down”
“Music adds an element of care to a challenging environment”
Music Therapy continues at the Alfred thanks to Dry July fundraising
Your fundraising for Dry July has enabled The Alfred to continue the Music Therapy Program for cancer patients.
The Alfred Hospital has received beautiful feedback on this program and seen firsthand that it improves the patient experience, reduces anxiety and offers experiences of joy during such a stressful time.
It is so important that we give patients an outlet to cope with the many emotions they will be dealing with throughout treatment and care and Music Therapy Research shows that music can positively impact physiological responses, like blood pressure and breathing rate; and we also know that music can change how people are feeling, and even change the environment we are in.