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Strap on your runners to support Australians with blood cancer as Blackmores Sydney Running Festival goes virtual

Strap on your runners to support Australians with blood cancer as Blackmores Sydney Running Festival goes virtual

Monday September 14, 2020

The Leukaemia Foundation will once again be headline charity partner for this year’s Blackmores Sydney Running Festival as the iconic event is reimagined as an entirely virtual festival for the first time.

While runners usually come together every September for a rare opportunity to run across the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and finish at the Sydney Opera House, postponement of this year’s physical event means those hoping to participate instead have the chance to run their own race wherever they are and whenever they wish, and even to race against themselves.

The virtual Blackmores Sydney Running Festival launches September 20 and runs until November 8, giving participants seven weeks to compete in their chosen event as many times as they like. Participants can use the festival’s official training guides to help them achieve their best time and record their results with the help of an app or their own fitness tracking device – all from the safety of their own home or local area.

Leukaemia Foundation Acting CEO Alex Struthers said this year’s festival gave everyone a unique opportunity to strap on their running shoes wherever they are while supporting families affected by blood cancer, including people living interstate, regionally and rurally who wouldn’t usually be able to participate in a Sydney-based event.

“We know regional blood cancer patients aren’t receiving the crucial diagnostics and specialist care they need when they need it and are more likely to face barriers in getting this care, and the Leukaemia Foundation is focused on breaking down these barriers,” she said.

“So it’s especially fitting that we are a proud headline charity for a festival that has this year transformed into a great opportunity for more Australians to participate, regardless of where they live, without travelling to Sydney and while staying safe in the current climate.

“By signing up for the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival and running for the Leukaemia Foundation, you are making sure that every Australian facing blood cancer will have someone to turn to every step of the way to access the right information, the best treatment and supportive care, no matter where they are.”

The number of Australians diagnosed with a blood cancer has jumped 38% in the past decade alone. Today, more than 17,300 people are expected to be diagnosed with the disease this year and sadly, more than 5600 Australians will lose their life, an increase of 27% on 2010[1].

Projections show that while 110,000 Australians are living with blood cancer today, that number will more than double to 275,000 by 2035. Blood cancer is also expected to claim the lives of 186,000 Australians in this time[2].

“Blood cancer is one of the most common, costly and fatal cancers in Australia. There are no screening programs available for blood cancers, and there is no way to prevent blood cancer through lifestyle change,” Ms Struthers said.

“As we strive to help all Australian families affected by blood cancer, we are excited to again partner with the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival – a partnership which will help meet the growing demand on vital patient services in the post-COVID-19 environment and help us reach our goal to see zero lives lost to blood cancer by 2035.

“Staying active and connected has never been as important as right now, so whether you’re a walker, casual runner or ready for some competition running there’s a virtual event for you, and that means there’s an opportunity to play your part in raising essential funds to help save lives.”

The Blackmores Sydney Running Festival was first held in 2000 using the Marathon route of the Sydney Olympics. Since then, thousands of participants have walked, jogged or run in the steps of those Olympians in their own quest for fun and fitness, and funds for charities. While the route may have changed for this year’s virtual event, the festival continues to cater for all fitness levels with options to take part in a full or half marathon, a 10km run or the family friendly 3.5km fun run.

Find out more information about this year’s virtual event at https://sydneyrunningfestival.com.au/. To register to run virtually to raise funds for the Leukaemia Foundation, go to https://fundraise.leukaemia.org.au/register/blackmores-sydney-running-festival

[1] https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer/cancer-data-in-australia/contents/summary

[2] https://www.leukaemia.org.au/how-we-can-help/advocacy-and-policy/state-of-the-nation-my-life-counts/state-of-thenation-download/

– ENDS –

Leukaemia Foundation to host virtual seminars for National MPN Awareness Day today

Leukaemia Foundation to host virtual seminars for National MPN Awareness Day today

Thursday September 10, 2020

Australians living with the rare blood cancer Myeloproliferative Neoplasms (MPN) will today be able to connect through a new virtual seminar being hosted by the Leukaemia Foundation as part of National MPN Awareness Day.

Working in partnership with MPN Alliance Australia, the free live seminar will include four speakers from Monash University, The University of Western Australia, Cancer Council Queensland and a patient advocate from Sydney.

Leukaemia Foundation Acting CEO Alex Struthers encouraged those Australians and their families living with MPN to sign up to the free live event and unite with other Australians experiencing the blood disorder.

“This event will be streamed live, enabling attendees to gather together virtually to hear some of the latest insights into the disease to better inform their diagnosis and treatment, and break down some of the barriers they may face in accessing this information,” Ms Struthers said.

Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) are cancers that start in the bone marrow, where blood cells are made. In MPN, the bone marrow makes too many of one or more types of blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells and/or platelets). These cells change the thickness of the blood. They also crowd the bone marrow and then it can’t make enough healthy blood cells.

There are seven types of MPN, diagnosed using blood tests and a bone marrow biopsy. Some forms can transform into other types of MPN or into acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) – one of Australia’s deadliest blood cancers with a  five-year survival rate of just 28 per cent1.

The Leukaemia Foundation has invested nearly $700,000 into research of MPNs as part of its $50 million National Research Program and continues to advocate and support all Australians living with more than 120 different blood cancers across the nation.

Currently, the Leukaemia Foundation is funding the research of Dr Liesl Butler – a junior haematologist based at the Centre for Blood Diseases at Monash University in Melbourne. Find out more about Dr Butler’s research here.

Virtual Seminar Details

Date: September 10, 2020

Time: 12 noon AEST

Where: Online via Microsoft Teams Live

Register here

Speakers:

Prof. Andrew Perkins from Monash University. Topic: Current clinical and research interests – rundown on how diagnosis and treatment is progressing and emerging therapies.

Prof. Wendy Erber from University of Western Australia. Topic: Why do Myeloproliferative Neoplasms Progress to Fibrosis?.

Prof. Peter Baade from Cancer Council QLD. Topic: How does the burden of MPN in Australia vary by where people live.

Helen Williams from Sydney. Helen is newly diagnosed with PV and will be discussing her experience from a patient perspective.

More about MPN

Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) are a rare group of blood cancers.

The MPN Polycythaemia vera is diagnosed in an estimated 250 Australians each year, essential thrombocythaemia around 200 and myelofibrosis an estimated 150. Rarer sub types are diagnosed in less than 50 Australians each year.

MPN is more commonly diagnosed in people over 50, although it can rarely occur in younger people, every rarely in in children.

Many people have no symptoms when they are first diagnosed with an MPN and the disease is often picked up accidently during a routine blood test or physical examination.

When symptoms do occur, the develop gradually over time and can include headaches, blurred vision, fatigue, weakness. Dizziness, itchiness, night sweats and raised blood pressure.

Most people with an MPN have no family history of the disease.

Find out more about MPN here.

– ENDS –

Light the Night in your own special way this year

Light the Night in your own special way this year

Those of you who’ve been part of Light the Night over the years, know what an incredible experience it is.  The connection with others.  Shared lived experiences.  United in hope.  It takes your breath away.

A family holding Light the Night lanterns, gathered in their backyard at night
Light the Night in your own special way this year

In a year like no other, Australia’s most beautiful blood cancer community event has been thoughtfully re-imagined to allow us to come together in a new and wonderful way.

This year, you are invited to shine a light on blood cancer in your own special way by hosting a twilight gathering with your loved ones on Saturday, 10 October.

How you choose to Light the Night is limited only by your imagination. A family dinner party, a sunset barbeque with close friends…a twilight picnic in the backyard? It’s up to you!

As darkness falls – you will be part of the official lantern lighting ceremony that will take place in thousands of homes across Australia at the same moment via video stream.

Light your lantern…

Illustration of a white lanternIn honour of your own blood cancer journey

Illustration of a yellow lantern

In memory of a loved one lost

Illustration of a blue lantern

In support of those affected by blood cancer

Be part of this very special Light the Night.  Sign up to host a Light the night for your loved ones at lightthenight.org.au.

Heartfelt thanks to Bridgestone Australia for their 12th year as Light the Night Principal Partner, unwaveringly supporting Australians with blood cancer for over 34 years.

You’re a part of the blood cancer revolution!

You’re a part of the blood cancer revolution!

Our supporters are driving something truly significant this September – a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reduce the impact of blood cancer.

Deb Sims sitting with her three young children.
Deborah Sims, Blood Cancer Taskforce member (pictured with her three children). Deb was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) in 2011, aged 38.

Many people know blood cancer is one of this country’s most common, costly and fatal cancers. It can affect anyone, at any stage of life – often with no warning signs.

Sadly, for children and teenagers, blood cancer is still the most commonly diagnosed cancer.

Last year’s State of the Nation report was the first of its kind, looking at the factors influencing survival and quality of life for Australians with blood cancer.

What this report found is very concerning.

In short, there are many obstacles standing between people with blood cancer and the treatment that’s best for them. Whether it’s where they live, if they’re being advised about clinical trials, or simply if they have enough money to pay for the right treatment.

Thankfully, this September in Blood Cancer Awareness Month, your support can help enable a new plan.

Australia’s first-ever National Strategic Action Plan for Blood Cancer is a blueprint for change, tackling the tough issues facing people affected by these diseases.

It re-imagines the way treatment and care of blood cancer patients is delivered across our country.

The plan recommends change right through the blood cancer experience. From the moment a person is diagnosed, through their treatment and recovery and adjustment to life beyond treatment – wherever they live in Australia and whatever their background.

It also looks at the challenges many people face – including those living in regional or remote areas, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and people with diverse and varied cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

This plan was led by our Blood Cancer Taskforce, Australia’s best and brightest blood cancer experts – and our generous supporters helped make it happen!

The Taskforce is a joint initiative between the Leukaemia Foundation and the Federal Government, made up of Australia’s leading haematologists, blood cancer researchers, industry experts and Australians diagnosed with blood cancer. They combined their brainpower, experience and determination to develop a vital pathway to change.

Achieving best practice; Empower patients and families; enable access to novel and specialised therapies; accelerate research
The Taskforce has real progress in their sights

This September, you can progress the fight to conquer blood cancer. Find out how you can help people with blood cancer get the treatments they need.

“Being part of the Taskforce is an incredible honour as I know first-hand how urgent it is for this country to improve treatment approaches to blood cancer. I moved to the UK for an experimental drug I needed to survive. In a cruel irony, a drug that was originally developed in Melbourne. Clinical trials offer more than hope for the future in some cases they literally offer life.

Thank you to everyone who is standing with us against this devastating disease – you are giving people living with blood cancer a better tomorrow.”

– Deborah Sims, Blood Cancer Taskforce member (pictured at the top of this article)

How your support is inspiring others to give

How your support is inspiring others to give!

When the generosity of Leukaemia Foundation supporters helped provide emergency accommodation and the trusted support of Blood Cancer Support Coordinators to the Hughes family, they wanted to find a special way to say thank you.

Courtney and Kate in Courtney's hospital room during treatment
Sisters Courtney and Kate Hughes. Kate was Courtney’s donor for her stem cell transplant.

Sisters Courtney, Kate and Anneliese were so grateful for the kindness of supporters that they were inspired to give back to the blood cancer community. They wanted to help others feel as supported as they do, while 30-year-old Courtney is undergoing blood cancer treatment.

Knowing first-hand just how valuable this personalised support is for families like theirs, all three sisters recently took part in Dry July to fund more Blood Cancer Support Coordinators across the country.

“The Leukaemia Foundation are the angels that softened the blow for me. We didn’t know what we were in for and the help we have been given is amazing.”

Dry July logo“Not only have they been there for me throughout this experience, they have supported my amazing sister Kate too, who has been my stem cell donor,” explains Courtney.

“Dry July has been a positive way for us to give other families facing blood cancer the support we know makes such a difference.”

The Leukaemia Foundation is proud to be a major beneficiary of the Dry July campaign. Thank you Dry July Foundation – and dry Aussies like the Hughes sisters – for funding our Australia-wide network of Blood Cancer Support Coordinators.

World Marrow Donor Day Webinar

World Marrow Donor Day Webinar

World Marrow Donor Day is celebrated every year to thank blood stem cell donors worldwide. It’s also a day to raise awareness about the importance of registering as a stem cell donor and the impact of blood stem cell transplantation on a patients’ life. If you’d lie to register to become a stem cell donor visit Strength to Give

We’re proud to bring you a free webinar featuring Transplant Coordinator, Annette Barnes.

Speaker

Annette Barnes – Transplant Coordinator. Presenting on the role of the Transplant Coordinator, tissue typing, bone marrow register, Australian and overseas donors as well as the patient lead-up to a transplant.

This presentation will be pre-recorded and available for viewing on our YouTube channel from 19 September.

Heartfelt thanks to our partners for supporting Blood Cancer Awareness Month’s patient information and education:

AbbVie logo

World Lymphoma Awareness Day Webinar

World Marrow Donor Day Webinar

World Marrow Donor Day is celebrated every year to thank blood stem cell donors worldwide. It’s also a day to raise awareness about the importance of registering as a stem cell donor and the impact of blood stem cell transplantation on a patients’ life. If you’d lie to register to become a stem cell donor visit Strength to Give

We’re proud to bring you a free webinar featuring Transplant Coordinator, Annette Barnes.

Speaker

Annette Barnes – Transplant Coordinator. Presenting on the role of the Transplant Coordinator, tissue typing, bone marrow register, Australian and overseas donors as well as the patient lead-up to a transplant.

This presentation will be pre-recorded and available for viewing on our YouTube channel from 19 September.

Heartfelt thanks to our partners for supporting Blood Cancer Awareness Month’s patient information and education:

AbbVie logo

Leukaemia Foundation partners with new fitness app that turns exercise into a game

Leukaemia Foundation partners with new fitness app that turns exercise into a game

Thursday 18 June, 2020 

The Leukaemia Foundation is proud to announce a charity partnership with District, which provides a new and innovative way to support the 41 men, women and children diagnosed with blood cancer in Australia every day – by encouraging people to get active and explore their city.

District uses cutting-edge experiential technology to bring cities to life and turn a monotonous workout into an urban exploration game. Perfect for all adult ages and fitness levels, the District app transforms an everyday walk, jog or run routine to a fun individual or team outdoor adventure challenge with virtual checkpoints across your local city.

A generous $8 from every District ticket sold will go to support Australians living with blood cancer. Currently, there are more than 110,000 Australians diagnosed with blood cancer and the Leukaemia Foundation’s latest Blood Cancer in Australia report confirms that in just 15 years, by 2035, this number will more than double to 235,000 people[1].

Leukaemia Foundation General Manager of Supporters Rachael Lance said that by getting active and raising funds through District, participants will be doing something positive for their own health, while also ensuring that all families affected by blood cancer across the country, no matter where they live, can be supported.

“By downloading District and signing up, you are making sure that every Australian facing blood cancer will have someone to turn to every step of the way to access the right information, the best treatment and supportive care.” Ms Lance said.

“Blood cancer is one of the most common, costly and fatal cancers in Australia. There are no screening programs available for blood cancers, and there is no way to prevent blood cancer through lifestyle change.”

“As we strive to help all Australian families affected by blood cancer, we are grateful for the collaboration with District, which would help meet the growing demand on vital patient services in the post-COVID-19 environment,” Ms Lance added.

Utilising GPS geolocation, Bluetooth beacons and augmented reality, District is reimagining urban exploration and community running on a global scale, offering users around the world multiple types of challenges, interactive live leaderboards to track their progress and fun features such as points, badges and prizes to stay motivated and engaged.

“Staying active and connected has never been as important as now, so we encourage all Australians looking for a way to shake up their fitness routine and explore their city like never before to download District, register an account and take up the challenge.”

“Whether you’re a walker, casual runner or ready for some competition running there’s a race challenge for you, and that means there’s an opportunity to play your part in raising essential funds to help save lives,” Ms Lance said.

To learn more about District, go to rebrand.ly/districtraceau2020 or you can use the full link: https://exploredistrict.com/event/district-race-au-2020

To download District, go to Apple Store or get it on Google Play.

-ENDS-

[1] http://www.leukaemia.org.au/how-we-can-help/advocacy-and-policy/state-of-the-nation-my-life-counts/state-of-the-nation-download/

Leukaemia: emotionally, psychologically, mentally the hardest thing

Leukaemia: emotionally, psychologically, mentally the hardest thing

Dave Hetherington and his Ride as One crew
Dave and his band of supporters raised over $400,000 on a Leukaemia Foundation charity bike ride.

Dave Hetherington’s father was diagnosed with a blood cancer called leukaemia. The following are all Dave’s words, shared with the Leukaemia Foundation to help raise awareness of blood cancer during September’s Blood Cancer Awareness Month 2019. 

We lost our Dad, in Ireland, on 29th March 2014 after diagnosis of AML on 18th February 2014.

Emotionally, psychologically, mentally, [it was] the hardest thing personally experienced and it, literally, physically shook my siblings. I and none of us were prepared for that factor.

I find it difficult, still, to comprehend the swiftness – from the initial diagnosis to the final breath. All siblings were there at the final moment which we are thankful for.

Together – with a ‘band of brothers and sisters’ (above) – we raised $400,000 plus on the Leukaemia Foundation Ride As One cycle journey [now called Life Ride], from St Kilda, Victoria, to Lightsview, South Australia, for the Leukaemia Foundation from April 29th – May 5th, 2017.

That Ride As One journey, for me, was a personal and a cathartic honouring of my Dad and an acknowledgement of those who have suffered this dreadful illness and those who will succumb.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Wednesday 11 March 2020
Australia’s only national charity dedicated to help cure and conquer blood cancer, the Leukaemia Foundation officially kick starts the 22nd World’s Greatest Shave across the country from Wednesday 11 March.

This year, the event aims to raise $16.5 million to provide vital support for the 41 Australians diagnosed with blood cancer every day – that’s one person diagnosed with leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other related blood disorders every 36 minutes.

Blood cancers are among the most frequently diagnosed and most deadly cancers in Australia. The latest statistics confirm that one in 10 Australians diagnosed with cancer will have a blood cancer, and approximately one in seven cancer deaths in Australia will be due to blood cancer[i]Open this document with ReadSpeaker docReader.

Leukaemia Foundation CEO Bill Petch said over the past decade, the incidence of blood cancer has grown by around 30%.

“We know that blood cancer is a significant problem in Australia. It doesn’t discriminate, it can develop in anyone, of any age, in any territory and at any time. Unlike other cancers, there are no screening programs available and no way to prevent a blood cancer through lifestyle change, ” Mr Petch said.

“Money raised through the World’s Greatest Shave is critical to ensure that Australians diagnosed with this deadly disease can gain the access they need to the best treatment, supportive care and trusted relevant information, regardless of where they live in Australia,” he said.

As the Leukaemia Foundation’s primary fundraising campaign, the World’s Greatest Shave continues to support and make a significant difference for Australians living with blood cancer. All of the Leukaemia Foundation support services including emotional, information, financial and practical support continue to be provided at no cost.

Last year alone, over 52,000 nights of accommodation were provided to ensure regional families have a home-away-from-home when needing to relocate to a major city for their vital treatment and close to 30,000 patient transport services were provided to and from medical appointments and cancer treatments.

With the support of the Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt, the Leukaemia Foundation also established Australia’s first National Blood Cancer Taskforce, which includes 30 of Australia’s leading blood cancer experts and stakeholders. This year, the Taskforce will deliver Australia’s first National Strategic Action Plan for Blood Cancer, an evidence-based blueprint to improve survival and quality of life outcomes for people living with blood cancer.

“Thank you to everyone taking part in the World’s Greatest Shave for your support and generosity. Your brave acts of shaving, cutting and colouring your hair make a significant difference to Australian men, women and children living with blood cancer. We can’t do this without you!” continued Mr Petch.

It’s not too late to sign up or support this year’s Leukaemia Foundation’s fundraising efforts, simply download the World’s Greatest Shave app, sign up online at worldsgreatestshave.com or call 1800 500 088 for more information.

ABOUT World’s Greatest Shave

WHATThe Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave began 22 years go in Lismore NSW and was inspired by a daughter’s love for her father who was battling leukaemia. Today, the event is one of Australia’s most-loved fundraising events. Every year, extraordinary Australians sign up to shave, cut or colour their hair to raise vital funds for the campaign.

Over the past three years, the Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave has seen a significant increase in women stepping up and ‘rocking a shave’, a courageous and selfless act to support family, friends and loved ones affected by blood cancer. In 2020, this trend is set to continue with women making up close to 50% of all people registered to shave their head and embrace their bald beauty.

WHYBlood cancer is one of the most common cause of cancer death in Australia, claiming more lives than breast cancer or melanoma. Funds raised will help support local families affected by blood cancer through advocating for equal access to new therapies and treatments as well as providing educational, emotional and practical support such as transport and accommodation. All support and services are provided free of charge.

WHOOver 2 million people have participated in the World’s Greatest Shave. Some have a personal connection to blood cancer while others take part to challenge themselves for the greater good.

WHEN: World’s Greatest Shave event takes place during March 11 – 15, however you can sign up, participate or sponsor at any time during the year.

WHEREAcross Australia at home, work, school and in public community locations (see worldsgreatestshave.com/events for a list of local places to join)

HOWSign up now at worldsgreatestshave.com or call 1800 500 088

WHAT’S NEWOver 30,000 kilograms of hair is estimated to have been shaved and cut over 20 years. With ponytails over 20cm long going back to make wigs for cancer patients, in 2020 the World’s Greatest Shave has partnered with Sustainable Salons ANZ to ensure all hair can be re-used, with shorter hair donated to be used in ‘hair booms’ to soak up oil spills in ocean waters.

FUN FACTHundreds of sporting champions and celebrities have shaved, cut or coloured their hair throwing their support alongside every day Australians including Kerrie-Anne Kennerley, Steve Irwin with his family, Larry Emdur, Tex Walker, Shane Crawford, Andrew Symonds, Meshel Laurie, Channel 9’s The Block, Steve O’Donnell and Chantelle Ford (Blockheads), Radio HIT105 Breakfast presenter Abby Coleman and ABC Breakfast TV presenters Paul Kennedy and Nate Byrne.

[i]Open this document with ReadSpeaker docReader [i] https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer/cancer-data-in-australia/contents/summary