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Thank you for staying home this Easter from Australia’s blood cancer community

Friday, 10 April 2020

Leading national blood cancer organisation the Leukaemia Foundation is thanking Australians for following the recommended guidelines to stay home this Easter Weekend as it struggles to continue supporting some of the nation’s most vulnerable people in the changing COVID-19 environment.

CEO Bill Petch said people living with blood cancer are faced with the constant challenge of a compromised immune system, and coming into contact with COVID-19 could be tragic.

“Social isolation is not a new concept to Australians living with blood cancer – it is something many of them are forced to do every day to ensure their health and safety. However, COVID-19 has added a new layer of concern for these Australians who are highly vulnerable to infection,” he said.

“We want to thank every Australian who is staying home and practicing social distancing and, in doing so, playing their part to keep safe the many children, adults and older Australians living with a blood cancer and helping to ease their anxieties during this unnerving time.

“Please keep up the great work this weekend, because we know that these measures are not only working towards flattening the curve, but also saving lives in our blood cancer community.”

Mr Petch said the Leukaemia Foundation was also now facing mounting pressure as it works to pave a way forward in light of the pandemic’s impact on the organisation.

The Leukaemia Foundation is preparing for a shortfall in fundraising this year, with a number of community fundraising events being compromised or cancelled due to COVID-19, and the organisation is now working hard to continue offering vital support in a COVID-19 environment and beyond.

“Blood cancer doesn’t stop – even during a pandemic – and our concern is not only for the safety of our community today, but how we will continue to address the needs of more Australians being diagnosed with blood cancer in the future,” Mr Petch said.

“In this changing environment, we are now facing a need to look for more sustainable and relevant options to deliver our vital services for all Australians living with blood cancer, regardless of where they live.

“With 110,000 Australians already living with blood cancer and another 41 Australians diagnosed with the disease every day, the numbers are not in our favour when it comes to stretching our services to support all those in need.

“This week alone, we have had a spike in enquiries from Australians living with blood cancer wanting support and information on accessing their treatment, managing their infection risk and overall emotional support in this distressing time.

“We recognise that every Australian has been affected by the impacts of COVID-19 and we appreciate how difficult the last few weeks and months have been.

“The reality is our organisation is relying now more than ever on the generosity of Australians to help give people living with blood cancer someone to turn to, a place to call home during treatment and access to the best possible care, and we deeply appreciate any support through this time to continue this important work.”

To help support Australians living with blood cancer and ensure they continue to be able to access the support and information they need during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Leukaemia Foundation has launched an Emergency Appeal. For more information visit www.leukaemia.org.au to donate or learn more.

“We know that the number of Australians diagnosed with blood cancer is on the rise and we know that we need to prepare for the demand on our services to reach an all-time high sooner rather than later. But with the generous support of our national community, together we can meet this demand, and together we can see zero lives lost to blood cancer by 2035,” Mr Petch said.