You should have equitable access to essential supportive care to improve your quality of life.
The needs of people living with blood cancer don’t stop with diagnosis and treatment. We know that supportive care is a crucial part of a patient’s treatment journey and long term survival outcomes, however many Australians do not know or have access to this care.
Supportive care encompasses the management of issues across a range of physical, emotional, and social domains to improve a patient‘s quality of life.
It includes psychosocial support, practical and social support, nutritional dietetic support, physiotherapy, palliative care and financial support.
For over forty years, the Leukaemia Foundation has supported and cared for people living with blood cancer, their families, and their carers. Our purpose is to help cure and conquer every blood cancer–with care–and this won’t change.
- We will continue to provide people living with blood cancer, their families and carers access to supportive care, including accommodation, transport, emotional and practical support, health and wellbeing, grief support, and peer support groups.
- We will deliver a digital platform that will unite all our services through one channel offering a seamless and coordinated online approach to supporting people living with blood cancer.
- We will build a service delivery model that navigates and supports people living with blood cancer through our services in online and offline spaces.
- We will transform our thinking and build digital skills and infrastructure to deliver services which are scalable, connected and relevant to people living with blood cancer.
‘I’m not just another person to check off the list’
After being diagnosed with an aggressive type of blood cancer, Sherma Beasley (pictured) was one of the many Australians who was left without access to the supportive care she needed.
“I had absolutely no idea what I was in for when I turned up to my first chemo appointment,” said the 57-year-old.
“I saw a different doctor nearly every time I was there and wasn’t told much about anything.
“The chemotherapy and the side effects were horrible. It made by gums bleed and I had to have some of my teeth removed.”
Feeling isolated and unsure, Sherma wasn’t getting the psychosocial, practical, nutritional or financial supportive care she desperately needed – nor did she know how to find it.
Frighteningly she even began losing weight because she didn’t have a fridge to store the fresh food she needed to stay healthy and recover from her grueling chemotherapy.
Eventually, through her social worker, Sherma was able to get in touch with one of our Blood Cancer Support Coordinators, Jacqui (pictured, right).
“Jacqui has been wonderful through all of this,” said Sherma. “She will always have a proper chat, is a great listener and doesn’t treat me like just another person to check off the list.
“She gave me encouragement and support, telling me what services I could access to make everything easier.
“I had no idea how to get to hospital for my treatment but she called the hospital and fixed up transport right away.
“She also made sure I was asking my doctors to sort out the side effects of my treatment.
“Jacqui then provided the food vouchers I desperately needed, going above and beyond. It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time as I had just finally got a fridge and I could get back on a healthy diet.”
Sherma completed six cycles of chemotherapy in early 2020 and when we spoke to her was awaiting further blood tests.