A music system for the radiation bunkers, brighter waiting rooms and mindfulness programs – these are a few of the ways South Coast cancer patients will benefit from this year’s Dry July campaign.
Both the Illawarra and Shoalhaven cancer care centres are again beneficiaries of the national campaign, which urges Australians to have a month off alcohol to raise funds for patients.
Alexis Gazzard, the divisional support officer for the district’s cancer services said the annual campaign raised funds to help improve patient comfort, care and well-being.
‘’At Wollongong and Shoalhaven cancer care centres there is excellent clinical care, and the staff are also excellent, so the funds raised by Dry July go towards those little extras that make a big difference to patients’,’’ she said.
‘’These include health and well-being initiatives – such as mindfulness programs which can really help people through their treatment, or education on nourishment and movement. It’s about helping people with their emotional and physical health to complement their cancer treatments.’’
This year the teams at the Illawarra centre, situated at Wollongong Hospital, and at the Shoalhaven centre have a fundraising goal of $100,000.
That money will be spent locally to fund the health and well-being programs as well as provide better, and more comfortable, facilities.
‘’We will also use the funds raised this year for our ‘while you wait’ program – so ensuring that the waiting areas are more comfortable by having better tea and coffee making facilities, up-to-date magazines and so on,’’ Mrs Gazzard said. ‘’We also want a system to pipe music into our bunkers where we do radiation therapy, in an effort to distract people undergoing this treatment.’’
The mission is personal for Mrs Gazzard not only due to her work, but after watching her sister battle breast cancer. ‘’That’s when you realise how important that additional support can be for people undergoing treatment.’’
The two centres will run morning teas, pie drives and other activities throughout July to add to their tally, as well as accepting donations at www.dryjuly.com. So far more than $10,000 has been raised for Wollongong Hospital, and $4000 for Shoalhaven Cancer Care Centre.