Burden lightened for rural patients needing life-saving treatment
Friday 22 November 2019
The Leukaemia Foundation’s patient accommodation facilities in Townsville will continue to be a home away from home for blood cancer patients from rural and remote Queensland, following a sizable donation from the Freemasons.
As Aramac Masonic Lodge, some 550km away closed its doors for the last time in 2019, they had one final wish – to help support outback cancer patients and their families.
So together with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, the Lodge recently donated $60,000 towards the Queensland Freemasons Village, which offers accommodation and support for patients and their families while they undergo treatment at Townsville Hospital.
Freemason David Gray, formally of Aramac Masonic Lodge, said he was excited to make the journey up to Townsville today, to celebrate the donation.
“$60,000 could provide over 750 nights of accommodation, which act as a home-away-from-home for families during blood cancer treatment,” he said.
“People with blood cancer from our own community in Central West Queensland have stayed at the Village, so we know how having a place to stay made an immense difference for them,” he said.
Leukaemia Foundation CEO Bill Petch said last financial year the Leukaemia Foundation provided 5,213 nights of accommodation to 125 families at Freemasons Village – with 72 of these families staying more than once during their blood cancer journey.
“Every day another 41 Australians are diagnosed with a blood cancer, and unfortunately most regional and rural Australians who are diagnosed will have to leave their home, work and local community behind to relocate to a major city for their treatment,” he said.
“Providing this accommodation service in Townsville is the Leukaemia Foundation’s way of giving blood cancer patients living in regional and rural areas a chance to access life-saving treatment with their loved ones by their side, free of charge.
“The Leukaemia Foundation is deeply grateful for this incredibly generous donation which will have a huge and positive impact on Queensland families in their greatest time of need during their blood cancer journey.”
Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark was appreciative of Aramac Lodge for bringing this initiative to the organisation’s attention so that together a bigger difference could be made, through their Grassroots Grants program.
“Our focus is to alleviate suffering and to empower people to lead better lives, which is why this initiative appealed to us,” Gary said.
“At a grassroots level, we recognise the importance of ensuring health services remain accessible to regional and remote Queenslanders.”
About Hand Heart Pocket
As an independent charity founded by the Freemasons of Queensland, Hand Heart Pocket helps in areas of state-wide and local need that have limited access to other funding. We work with other charities to identify and fund initiatives that have real, life-changing potential. We also collaborate with Freemason Lodges across Queensland and help individuals in times of extreme need to get them back on their feet. We use our funds wisely to give a hand up and to build potential.
For more information about Hand Heart Pocket, visit www.handheartpocket.org.au
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