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.