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Volunteers drive 250 million kilometres supporting Aussies with blood cancer

Volunteers drive 250 million kilometres supporting Aussies with blood cancer

The Leukaemia Foundation is thanking its generous pool of volunteers this week who “Give a Little … Change A Lot,” in the lives of people living with blood cancers.

During Volunteers Week this week, May 21 – 25, the Foundation is paying particular thanks to its much valued team of volunteers, including the fundraisers, scone bakers, event makers, and the general volunteer movers and the shakers, who help support the organisation, every day.

The Leukaemia Foundation is in particular highlighting its amazing fleet of volunteer drivers, who each play a key role in taking people living with blood cancer to and from vital medical appointments.

Leukaemia Foundation CEO Bill Petch said this amazing group of volunteers had driven patients and their families more than 250 million kilometres in the past decade alone.

“That’s the equivalent of travelling more than 6,238 times around the world,” Mr Petch said.

“That is truly an amazing figure and a testimony to the highly valued work of our volunteer drivers at the Leukaemia Foundation. Our patient support fleet of around 50 cars across the nation carry a very precious cargo. Australians who are often very scared, very sick, and dealing with all the life-changing challenges living with a blood cancer brings.

“Many are from regional areas and are staying in the Leukaemia Foundation’s patient accommodation, but the service is also provided to anyone with blood cancer living within a 100 kilometre radius of the main treatment centres.

“The vital service is specifically designed to relieve the pressure faced by people with blood cancer who are transport disadvantaged. That is, if they have limited private transport options, such as the carer in the family having to return to work. It also ensures patients arrive at appointments safely and on-time, as well as providing a friendly kind face to greet patients.”

“The patient transport fleet is one of the Leukaemia Foundation’s most utilised services and is an incredible example of the work volunteers do in our community. We could never offer this vital service without the help of our volunteers and we are truly grateful for their support.”

Efforts underway to include blood cancer in the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Program

Efforts underway to include blood cancer in the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Program

July 23, 2018
The Leukaemia Foundation welcomes the Federal Government’s $50 million funding of The Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Program that will see some of Australia’s sickest patients accessing potentially life-saving medical treatment.

The Leukaemia Foundation’s CEO, Bill Petch, said, “This is yet another good initiative by the Federal Government to support our stakeholders with this national program. We are encouraged that the government is taking a decisive view on personalised and tailored treatments for people living with cancers with little or no treatment options.”

“It is also a positive step for cancer treatment as this indicates the government’s interest in clinical trials and that they provide the right evidence to support future Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme listings.”

“The Leukaemia Foundation is working closely with the relevant stakeholders such as the Centre for Cancer Biology and the Royal Adelaide Hospital to include blood cancer as part of the program so that thousands of people living with blood cancer are able to go through such personalised treatments as well,” added Mr Petch.

While the current announcement does not include any types of blood cancer such as leukaemia, myeloma, lymphoma, over the next 12 months, efforts will be underway to also address the needs of people with blood cancers.

As Australia’s leading blood cancer organisation, the Leukaemia Foundation has invested over $38 million in blood cancer research to develop psychosocial supports for people living with blood cancer and their families, determine the genetic causes of disease, develop, and explore new personalised treatment options like immunotherapy and support their testing through clinical trials.

We have been supporting Australia’s best and up and coming researchers and haematologists for over a decade with a vision to ultimately find cures for leukaemia, myeloma, lymphoma and other blood related disorders.

Leukaemia Foundation supports Federal Government’s $250 million cancer package

Leukaemia Foundation supports Federal Government’s $250 million cancer package

Sunday, 15 July 2018

The Leukaemia Foundation is today welcoming the news of the unrestricted benefits listing announcement of the blood cancer drug Pegasys® (pegylated interferon alfa-2a) for Australians living with Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs).

The support follows the $250 million announcement today by Health Minister Greg Hunt to subsidise four life-changing cancer medicines, including Pegasys® and also upcoming discounted access to the drug IMBRUVICA® (ibrutinib) to treat patients living with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma, another type of blood cancer.

Today’s funding announcement means patients who currently pay $134,000 for the drug Imbruvica would also now have discounted access from August.

Leukaemia Foundation CEO Bill Petch says the Leukaemia Foundation’s priority is to ensure all Australians living with a blood cancer have access to the best therapies and treatments available.

The Leukaemia Foundation has, and will continue to fully support the unrestricted benefits listing of Pegasys® (pegylated interferon alfa-2a) for MPNs patients and looks forward to the upcoming discounted access to Imbruvica.

The Leukaemia Foundation is the only national charity dedicated to helping Australians affected by a blood cancer such as leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and related blood disorders.

What is Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN)

Myeloproliferative neoplasms are a group of disorders in which the bone marrow stem cells grow and reproduce abnormally. In MPN, abnormal stem cells produce excess numbers of one or more types of blood cells (red cells, white cells and/or platelets). These abnormal cells cannot function properly and can cause serious health problems unless properly treated and controlled.

MPNs are a rare group of diseases that effects an estimated 700 Australians each year. The exact cause of MPNs remain unknown but there are likely to be a number of factors involved. That’s why MPNs, like most leukaemias and other cancers, become more common as we get older.

What is Relapsed or Refractory mantle cell lymphoma

Mantle cell lymphoma is a relatively uncommon type of lymphoma, accounting for approximately 5% to 10% of all non-Hodgkin lymphomas.

Each year in Australia around 5000 people are diagnosed with lymphoma, making it the sixth most common type of cancer in the country. Around 85% of these cases are diagnosed with a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is not a single disease; there are in fact more than 30 different sub types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The term refractory describes when lymphoma does not respond to treatment, or when response to treatment doesn’t last.

Leukaemia Foundation receives HONcode certification

Leukaemia Foundation receives HONcode certification

The Leukaemia Foundation has been granted prestigious HONcode certification for its high standard of reliable, ethical and trustworthy health and medical content featured throughout its digital communications platforms.

The HONcode is an international standard for health and medical websites issued by the Health on the Net Foundation, based in Switzerland. The Leukaemia Foundation joins only 8000 sites listed worldwide.

The Leukaemia Foundation’s General Manager – People Living Well with Blood Cancer, Emma Craig said the listing shows information shared on the Leukaemia Foundation’s web platforms page was of the highest standard.

“The HONcode listing shows that the information we present is created by qualified professionals, supports relationships between a person and their doctor or health professionals and that we present the information with transparent and balanced evidence,” Ms Craig said.

“This listing shows the Leukaemia Foundation is a professional and trusted source of health information in Australia and reinforces that we are the leading source of blood cancer information in Australia.”

The HONcode listing will mean the Leukaemia Foundation will be listed on a global database of trusted sites and also the Health on the Net Foundation Health Trust Indicator – which can be installed on any internet browser.

The Leukaemia Foundation will be reassessed every two years in order to retain the listing.

Stomping blood cancer out one step at a time

Stomping blood cancer out one step at a time

Wednesday 4 July, 2018

“Ding dong ding dong!”

That was the sound of the bell ringing when Nika Ferreira so excitedly rang to signal the end of her cancer treatment.

At eight years old, Nika and her family were dealt with a blow when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.

Because ALL progresses quickly, Nika had to immediately endure multiple rounds of chemotherapy and a combination of medication to destroy leukaemic cells with hopes of inducing a remission.

Throughout long the two and the half years of treatments, Nika and her family received the support they needed from the Leukaemia Foundation.

“The Leukaemia Foundation were so wonderful to Nika and my family. When we first found out about the diagnosis, we were devastated. But the doctors together with the Foundation’s team were so positive and supportive,” said Liezel, Nika’s mother.

“Their words of encouragement and assurance really gave us hope.”

Liezel recounted that the team of supporters from the Leukaemia Foundation were always there to make sure Nika is always smiling and laughing even though the cancer treatments can be painful and tiring.

It’s been two years since Nika rang her bell in the hospital.

Since her remission, Nika, now aged 12, has been really active and has become a keen rock climber. With her energy returned, Nika can now be found running and jumping together with her bunch of merry friends.

Nika is one of the ambassadors for the upcoming Stadium Stomp Stairs Challenge in Queensland on Sunday, 29th July, and will be braving the challenge by taking thousands of steps together with her friends.

“I like being active and Stadium Stomp is a great way to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation by doing something that I love. Also, I want to help others who are going through what I experienced and show them that they will get better just like I did,” said Nika.

To support Nika and her friends as well as the Leukaemia Foundation, register and join the Stadium Stomp Stairs Challenge today.