Select language:  
1800 620 420
Close menu

Haematologist swims oceans to make a difference

Haematologist swims oceans to make a difference

Haematologist Orly Lavee will be taking on a 2km ocean swim and 10km coastal run in the Sydney Morning Herald 2018 Sun Run Cole Classic from February 3-4 to help raise awareness and funds for the Leukaemia Foundation.

One of the oldest sporting events in Australia, the Sun Run Cole Classic has taken part on the first weekend of February for 35 years. Originally started by Graham Cole and still run in his memory the event added fundraising in 2008 and aims to raise more than $200,000 for charity this year.

Orly, a haematologist at St Vincent’s Hospital who has been working as a consultant at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre for two years, took up ocean swimming just before she had her first child in 2011 and has always loved running.

“When I heard about the opportunity to fundraise for the Leukaemia Foundation by participating in the Cole Classic I realised I could combine all three passions into one,” she said.

As a specialist doctor at one of Sydney’s foremost cancer centres Orly is able to play a privileged role in people’s treatment and has come to understand the role and importance of the Leukaemia Foundation, but rarely does she get to translate this experience into something so fun.

“This is my chance to rally everyone together, and really get behind a cause I know first-hand is so worthy and that I’m involved with on a day to day basis,” she said.

She aims to raise $700 for people living with blood cancer and is excited to “really make an impact on a greater scale”.

There is still time to sign up and join the Leukaemia Foundation Team. With a 1km, 2km and 5km swim as well as a 7km and 10km run and even an Aquathlon – the Sun Run Cole Classic has something for everything.

Growing concern as blood cancer rates continue to rise

Growing concern as blood cancer rates continue to rise

The Leukaemia Foundation’s CEO Bill Petch is reminding the nation the number of Australians dying from blood cancer is now DOUBLE those losing their life to melanoma 1, as registrations for the 20th anniversary of World’s Greatest Shave open today.

Every day another 35 Australians are diagnosed with a blood cancer or disorder and according to new analysis by the Leukaemia Foundation, this number is on the rise.

More than 270,000 Australians have been diagnosed with a blood cancer since World’s Greatest Shave began in 1998. Although survival rates are improving, each year CLOSE TO 13,000 people are newly diagnosed.

The analysis also confirms blood cancer, in specific leukaemia and lymphoma, still remains the most commonly diagnosed childhood cancer in children aged 0-14 years in Australia 2.

“In 1998, children diagnosed with leukaemia would have around a 65 per cent chance of survival. Today, improvements in treatment and care mean nearly 90 per cent will survive the disease3,” Mr Petch said.

Despite these huge improvements in the treatment of childhood leukaemia, blood cancers, including lymphoma, myeloma and leukaemia, are still one of Australia’s leading causes of death. In 2017 one Australian lost their life to a blood cancer every two hours.

Mr Petch said the Leukaemia Foundation believed blood cancer diagnosis rates would only continue to rise as Australia’s population ages.

“While more kids are surviving our parents are being diagnosed at a growing rate,” Mr Petch said.

“Diagnoses rates for people over the age of 65 with blood cancers like Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia, Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and Multiple Myelomas show dramatic increases3.”

Mr Petch said we face a tipping point in Australia as our population continues to age. Now more than ever, Australians need to embrace fundraising initiatives like World’s Greatest Shave so organisations like the Leukaemia Foundation can support those affected by a diagnosis. This included the Foundation advocating for better access to medicines as well as funding ground breaking research programs that would help improve treatments and survivability rates.

“We’re asking a record number of Australians to join our 20th anniversary of the World’s Greatest Shave and become part of the solution, which will see more Australians survive and ultimately beat blood cancer,” Mr Petch said.

Register today at or call 1800 500 088.

Media enquires please contact Monique Cerreto at the Leukaemia Foundationt: 0478 300 507 / 02 9902 2225 



1 Australian Bureau of Statistics (2017). Leading causes of death 2006 – 2016. Retrieved from
2 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2017). Cancer Compendium: information and trends by cancer type. Retrieved from
3 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012). A picture of Australia’s children. Retrieved from