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Raising funds for a home away from home

By Sheree Hoddinett  


As the fearless leader of Leukaemia Support Queensland Inc., (LSQ) Jane McMillan is always working hard to make a difference in the lives of patients and their families as they undergo treatment for blood cancer. Jane and a dedicated team of volunteers strive to raise funds to help cover the cost of accommodation, food, bills and anything else that patients and their families may need to assist them while on their treatment journey. This year, Jane is on an even bigger mission, to continue raising funds for a proposed accommodation facility to be built in the Caboolture area to cater for the future needs of patients. 


With the hope of building accommodation featuring two and three-bedroom style units, the facility will create more of a homely environment for patients who quite often find themselves having to stay in hotels during treatment. Construction of the facility is estimated to cost about $2.5 million with Jane hopeful of having it built within 10 minutes of the Caboolture Hospital. 


“There’s no room left at Redcliffe, so a facility of this nature needs to be built locally to the Caboolture Hospital,” Jane says. “We have a lot of people that come here from up north or even out west and they seek our help with covering costs for accommodation, but a purpose-built facility will mean they have somewhere more comfortable and long-term to stay that’s also free of charge.


“While there’s currently no treatment facilities here for leukaemia, that will change. Having accommodation within 10 minutes of the hospital means if they need blood transfusions or antibiotics or another quick treatment, it’s close by and then patients can be transferred by ambulance to where they need to be.” 


The accommodation facility is a project Jane has been wanting to work towards for a long time and hopes it may come to fruition by 2025-26. 


“It’s a big ask, but it’s one that is achievable,” she says of raising the $2.5 million. “But what we need now is lots of support from businesses and people in the community to make it happen.” 


As important as a new facility is, patients and their treatments will continue regardless, meaning Jane and the LSQ volunteers will continue raising funds every way they can. This includes the likes of raffles, Music Bingo nights, Almost Full Monty shows and also Shine Bright for Leukaemia, which will take place in April. 


“We receive great support from our current major sponsor the Best Western North Lakes Hotel,” Jane says. “They allow us to host our fundraising nights and this year we will be doing a Christmas in July gala dinner at the hotel.  “Our main act on the night will be an encore of our Almost Monty show which has already proven to be a big hit once and we can’t wait to show it off again. The 11 performers will be fully decked out in their Christmas attire in what promises to be a colourful show.


“We already have another two Music Bingo nights lined up and as the hotel is situated right on Lake Eden we’re also going to do Shine Bright on the lake. We’re already working on sourcing some beautiful lanterns for participants to carry on the night in recognition of those we have lost and those still fighting their battle.”  


With 2217 patients within the City of Moreton Bay seeking their support (and that’s only the ones they know about) LSQ is now also assisting patients through the Royal Brisbane Hospital who have been sent their way.  


“I had a phone call from a welfare worker at the hospital who told me they had heard great things about LSQ and wanted to know more about how we help patients,” Jane says. “They have already sent several patients our way including a young man from Rockhampton who was staying at Woolloongabba and he rang us for help. He’s here to have a bone marrow transplant and has his girlfriend with him and I asked what we could do to help. They needed food and we were able to help by sourcing vouchers so they could get groceries, as well as obtaining meat from another amazing sponsor of ours, Buckley Road Butchery. It’s things like that which can make the biggest difference to patients and their families.” 


If you haven’t heard of LSQ, it was first formed on October 21, 2006 initially in support of the Leukaemia Foundation before changing over to Leukaemia Support Queensland Inc. in 2016. It all started when Jane was helping a friend who had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and the duo did their best to keep the friend’s household afloat during a difficult time. In return, Jane wanted to do her bit to give back to the foundation by raising much needed awareness and help within the local community. And so the branch was born.  LSQ is run solely by volunteers with 100% of all funds raised going back into the community to assist patients and their families as they deal with leukaemia or other blood cancer treatments.   


Leukaemia – the fast facts 

  • There are four types of leukaemia, all of which are cancers of blood cells. 

  • acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) 

  • chronic lymphoblastic leukaemia (CLL) 

  • acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) 

  • chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) 

  • Leukaemia affects people of all ages, it can’t be screened for and it can’t be prevented. 

  • ALL is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in children aged 0-14. 

  • More than 135,000 Australians are living with blood cancer or a related blood disorder. This number is expected to increase to 275,000 by 2035. 

  • 53 Australians will be told today that they have a blood cancer. More than 19403 Australians will be newly diagnosed every year.  

  • Every day 16 people are expected to lose their life to blood cancer. 

 

For further information about LSQ and how you can lend your support visit leukaemiasupportqld.com.au or phone Jane on 0422 584 080. 



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