The Royal Melbourne Hospital

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Established 175 years ago, The Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) is Victoria’s first public hospital and our care, research and innovations have touched the lives of millions of Australians.

The RMH was founded to provide care to the people of our growing city. Originally known as the Melbourne Hospital and located on the corner of Lonsdale and Swanston Streets, the RMH had just 10 beds and treated six patients on its first day. Today, there are about 260 emergency department presentations, 36 emergency surgeries, and about 720 outpatient appointments every day at our Grattan Street site alone.

Our comprehensive cancer services are internationally renowned and are one of Victoria’s largest cancer care and treatment centres, treating thousands of patients each year. As demand for cancer services increase, there is growing pressure on equipment, patient care items and infrastructure resources which are critical to ensure we provide excellence in cancer care.

We are proud to always be there when it matters most for our community but could not do this without you!

With your support this Dry July, we’re aiming to raise much needed funds which will enable The Royal Melbourne Hospital to continue to provide the best possible care, treatment and support for all of our cancer patients.

Latest Updates

Thank you for supporting The Royal Melbourne Hospital this Dry July

Thank you so much for taking on the Dry July challenge and supporting The Royal Melbourne Hospital this year. We are pleased to announce that with your help we raised $16,456 for the care of our cancer patients. We are extremely grateful for your fundraising efforts and dedication.

 Your fundraising for Dry July has enabled The Royal Melbourne Hospital to purchase items for:

• Exercise Equipment for Haematology Patients – Exercise is an important part of a cancer treatment plan and its important that we have the right equipment for our patients to maintain muscle strength during their chemotherapy treatment:

• STEP Caring for Patients in the Right Place – By purchasing new recliners and a commode for leg extension, we can get patients out of bed safely and early in their recovery, as well as provide a comfortable and safe alternative to staying in bed. This will lead to fewer complications from being bed bound for extended periods and allow patients more comfort and dignity as they recover;

• 5 West Day Medical Unit items – Improving the patient experience of our ward by making the environment appear less clinical, and more homely, will have a positive impact on the mental health and wellbeing of patients and staff alike, as well as making the patients more comfortable.

On behalf of all the patients and staff at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, and our ambassadors, the amazing nurses in our Haematology Ward 7B, we would like to thank you for your support and contribution and for making a positive difference in the lives of people affected by cancer.

Yours sincerely,

Allison Blahna

Interim Director

Royal Melbourne Hospital Foundation

Opening of the Nutrition and Head & Neck Respite Hub

Dry July ambassadors for the RMH returned to the Parkville campus this month to celebrate the opening of a new hub supporting our cancer patients.

The Nutrition and Head and Neck Respite Hub provides a private space for cancer patients who, because of their treatment, are unable to consume their foods orally. Patients can use the space while they complete their nasal or tube feeding, and to clean their equipment.

The development of the hub, located near the atrium at the Grattan St entrance, was supported through Dry July fundraising, which encourages individuals to go alcohol-free for a month to raise funds for people affected by cancer.

Among the special guests at the opening were Steve and Robyn Mahoney.

Steve and Robyn did not know anything about head and neck cancer at the time Steve was diagnosed. He received treatment at the RMH and the couple became the hospital’s Dry July ambassadors in 2020.

They said cancer can affect many aspects of daily life for patients and their loved ones, but they also saw how much of an impact Dry July can have.

Steve said it was “fantastic” to see the hub, which would provide “somewhere private, giving people a bit of dignity”.

“I really hope people go there to use it,” he said.

“We were proud and humbled to be there and know we were part of raising money for this wonderful space,” Robyn added.

The RMH Foundation interim Director Allison Blahna said the funds raised through Dry July help the RMH provide invaluable support for cancer patients, their families and carers.

“In the past, projects across the RMH that have been supported by Dry July include a library and relaxation room in our Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant ward, instruments for Music Therapy patients, and window boxes for the Palliative Care ward,” Allison said.

“With the generous support of our community and the Dry July Foundation, we will be able to fund more projects to help comfort our cancer patients and their loved ones during their time with us.”

Registrations are open for Dry July 2023. Go Dry this July or donate today to help the RMH support those living with cancer. 

Pictured: Past Dry July ambassadors Steve and Robyn Mahoney, Deane Reynolds, Kelly O'Sullivan, Shantelle Bentley and Rory O'Sullivan with Head and Neck Oncology and Oral Maxillofacial Surgery Liaison Nurse Kerrie Treseder at the hub opening.

Thanks to your Dry July fundraising, we raised $43,705 for The Royal Melbourne Hospital

We are pleased to announce that with your help we raised an astounding $43,705 for the care of our cancer patients. We are extremely grateful for your fundraising efforts and dedication.

Your fundraising for Dry July has enabled The Royal Melbourne Hospital to purchase items for:

• Patient Library & Relaxation Lounge –Having a relaxed environment where patients can retreat to and relax can help improve mood and help build more positive experiences related to hospital admissions

• Vital Signs Monitors – Having new wall mounted obs machines would minimize the infection risk in our 4 bedroom trache rooms, less equipment around the patient and help decluttering the room which would improve overall patient care and safety

• Recliner Chairs –The new recliners provide pressure relief features for long term seating which are perfect for patients with diseases such as lung cancer

• Prostate Care Packs– Developing a Prostate Cancer Survivorship Toolkit for men undergoing surgery for prostate cancer will help them understand the short term or permanent side effects of prostate cancer surgery and accessing rehabilitation options are critical for recovery of physical and emotional health, relationships and social life

• Coffee Pod Machine & Supplies – this will be a luxury to offer patients during chemotherapy and blood transfusions etc. It also allows nurses more time to provide direct patient care

• A dip Sculpt Medical Centrifuge - A new centrifuge to use for fat grafting in our head and neck cancer patients will mean less need to reschedule appointments due to unavailability of a machine minimising impact to a patient’s life, and will assist patients to have a more body positive outlook

On behalf of all the patients and staff at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, and our amazing ambassador Natasha Prolisko, we would like to thank you for your support and contribution and for making a positive difference in the lives of people affected by cancer.

Natasha's Story

For Natasha, life was go, go, go. Prior to March 2022, she was busy running her own business and managing a family with 2 young children.

In March 2022, Natasha was about to launch her online homeware store but a day before she was diagnosed with leukaemia, her world stopped! Natasha wasn’t feeling well, she thought she may have been suffering from long COVID as she previously had a bout of tonsillitis and COVID.

Natasha was also convinced she might be run down. She went to her son’s ‘ tae kwon do’ class and whilst there she tried a couple of star jumps but her heart was racing, so she went to the doctor - she was convinced it could be long COVID given her recent experience.

The doctor did a blood test that morning and at 4pm that day, the doctor phoned Natasha and said, “The emergency department is waiting for you, you need to get there right away”.

Natasha burst into tears, the doctor said they were looking into blood related diseases, possibly leukaemia but you need to get yourself to the hospital. Natasha left for the hospital and she didn’t return home for 31 days.

Within an hour of arriving at the hospital, Natasha heard the three words nobody ever wants to hear “you have Leukaemia”. They had been studying her blood all afternoon and discovered she had Acute Myleoid Leukaemia – Natasha was shell shocked.

All Natasha could say to herself, “Well this is the place I need to be, but I just don’t want to be here, I want to be home with my kids”.

“The doctors were amazing, they really helped me understand my diagnosis and gave me so much help and advice and talked me through the process. Within one day I was offered clinical trials I could participate in” said Natasha.

Natasha is such a positive person, she actually prefers her appearance now with no hair compared to her blond long hair from before. Natasha’s life has slowed down and she has a new perspective on life – before her diagnosis she would be living life at 100mph, often working till 10-11pm at night. Life now is very different, Natasha values every day with her kids just doing the simple things like enjoying the sunshine and having picnics with the family in the garden.

After 31 days and going into remission, Natasha finally left hospital. “All I want to do is go home and sit with my kids, my partner Tom and my cat” she added.

When she was home, Natasha had to tell her children about cancer. This was really hard but the RMH had provided support in how to have these conversations. “It was heartbreaking because my youngest Tommy didn’t understand and he was very angry, but we managed to work it through together. They were so brave” said Natasha.

Natasha said “The RMH are like family” she spent 8 of her last 10 weeks in the hospital, she felt so relaxed and cared for. “The care and attention is amazing” Natasha added.

Having had this experience Natasha said “Take time in life to take a breath and be kind, don’t forget to appreciate the good things in life”.

Natasha added “This condition is horrible and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. If they can cure it, and find out why it happens then nobody has to go through this - that would be my dream”.

On being a Dry July Ambassador, Natasha added “I’m so happy to participate in Dry July - it’s part of the journey. No drinking is good for my health, so I’m looking forward to the challenge, involving my friends and raising lots of money for The Royal Melbourne Hospital through Dry July.”

The Royal Melbourne Hospital benefits from Dry July 2021 fundraising

Your incredible Dry July fundraising efforts have enabled The Royal Melbourne Hospital to purchase items for:

• Turnco Sence Power Recliners – this will enable head and neck patients to sit comfortably out of bed and encourage them to get moving;

• Axis Health Avalo Treatment Carts – purpose-built trolleys would mean we are more efficient at attending to our cancer patients pathology testing causing less anxiety to our patients and reducing waiting times;

• Head & Neck Post Op Nurture Packages – patients will be able to use products at home to alleviate the side effects of head & neck cancer such as dry mouth, scarring of the face and neck and aid healing of donor sites used for reconstructions;

• Building on Portable Studio & Therapeutic Songwriting program for cancer patients –equipment for music therapy will provide virtual guided relaxation sessions to keep cancer patients connected and relieve anxiety;

• Tilt in space breezy relax wheelchair – this allows patients who are severely deconditioned and weak to sit out of bed safely, when a standard high back chair or wheelchair would not be supportive enough. This facilitates increased alertness, increased activation of postural muscles and prevents respiratory complications;

• Sleeper Chairs – providing close family members / carers with quality sleeping condition which improves communication, interactions, mood and understanding. This will significantly impact patient well-being as well as improve the quality, experience and outcome of patient care;

• Enhanced recovery after surgery project – providing carbohydrate drinks which will optimize nutrition for head and neck patients by attenuating insulin resistance and minimize protein losses.

On behalf of all the patients and staff at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, and our amazing ambassadors Kelly O’Sullivan and Rory Sweet, we would like to thank you for your support and contribution to making a positive difference in the lives of people affected by cancer.