Supporting Australians living with blood cancer impacted during the bushfire crisis | Leukaemia Foundation

Supporting Australians living with blood cancer impacted during the bushfire crisis

Thursday 16 January 2020

The Leukaemia Foundation’s CEO Bill Petch has acknowledged the immediate and ongoing impact the recent bushfire events will continue to have on people living with a blood cancer across the country.

“Our hearts go out to all Australians directly or indirectly impacted by these devastating fires. The loss and trauma experienced by this tragic disaster is simply unfathomable and nothing short of heartbreaking,” he said.

“Our sympathies are with the thousands of Australian families who have felt the full force of the sheer devastation and havoc unleashed by these fires. Our utmost gratitude is with those who are working courageously and tirelessly on the frontline of this ongoing battle, and to those in our national community who have given generously in a show of support for all involved in this crisis, we sincerely thank you.

“For those of us fortunate enough to not have been personally impacted by the fires where we live, it can be incredibly difficult to comprehend what any Australian caught up in this crisis has experienced in recent weeks and months.

“It is harder again to imagine what people battling a blood cancer in these fire-ravaged areas must be experiencing.”

Mr Petch said he recognised the uncertainty and stress likely being felt by Australians living with blood cancer who may be facing disruption to their treatment regime or care plan or who could have been cut off from their local support or clinical services due to the change in conditions.

“The impact of these fires will only compound the challenges already faced by regional and rural patients and families when it comes to accessing treatment and services,” he said.

Mr Petch said the Leukaemia Foundation’s full suite of support services were available to patients impacted by the fires, including accommodation while undergoing treatment, transport to medical appointments, emotional support, education and information around blood cancer, and other practical and financial support services.

“Our team members are reaching out to Australians who we are aware of who are living with blood cancer in affected areas to ensure their safety and that they are receiving the care they need, and our telephone lines are open. We urge all blood cancer patients and their families who have concerns or questions to contact us for support,” he said.

“We understand that blood cancer doesn’t stop for fires. We appreciate that there will be people who need our support and we wish to remind them that we are here to help.”

Mr Petch said the number of Australians being diagnosed with a blood cancer and the demand on Leukaemia Foundation services hadn’t slowed in light of recent events.

“Just like bushfires, blood cancer doesn’t discriminate. It can develop in anyone, of any age, at anytime, anywhere – and the reality is that for every day that these fires have ravaged our country, 41 Australians have been diagnosed with a blood cancer,” he said.

Whether you or someone you know is affected by blood cancer and needs support, we encourage everyone to please call us on 1800 620 420 and speak with your local Blood Cancer Support Coordinator.

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