World Cancer Day is a global event which takes place every year on 4 February and unites the world’s population in the fight against cancer.
Fight Cancer Foundation is proud to be part of the incredible community which is working towards a cancer-free world.
Our work would not be possible without all the remarkable individuals who support Fight Cancer Foundation and are taking action to reduce the impact that cancer has on families in Australia and around the world.
Here we spotlight some of the wonderful people who work tirelessly behind the scenes to support people living with cancer and their families.
Dr Ngaire Elwood
Director, BMDI Cord Blood Bank
For more than 20 years, the BMDI Cord Blood Bank has provided cord blood units for life-saving stem cell transplant to help treat leukaemia and other life-threatening illnesses.
Director of the BMDI Cord Blood Bank since 2007, Ngaire Elwood explains to us exactly how the process works, and why it is so important for some people with certain types of cancer.
"The BMDI Cord Blood Bank (CBB) operates as a partnership between Fight Cancer Foundation, the Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. The bank was established 21 years ago and collects umbilical cord blood from mothers who agree to donate their cord blood and who are delivering at one of the hospitals where a CBB collection site operates.
The cord blood is collected by a CBB midwife and is sent to the processing laboratory at the RCH, where it is frozen down and stored in tanks to be readily available for patients requiring a bone marrow transplant for the treatment of leukaemia and other types of cancer and blood disorders.
The CBB has released 553 cord blood units; 456 of these have been used for cancer patients in Australia and around the world. As Director of the CBB my job provides great personal satisfaction. It is an honour and a privilege to have oversight of the quality and operations of the bank.
I love authorising a cord blood unit for release, knowing that each cord blood brings hope for a cure to someone."
Principal, Hospital School SA
Young learners with cancer are absent from school for long periods during treatment and recovery, often becoming isolated from their school and school friends.
Back on Track, Fight Cancer Foundation's education support program helps learners maintain their education and connection with their school and peers.
Margot McDougall explains how Back on Track and Hospital School SA help young learners stay engaged with their education.
"My work leading Hospital School SA is driven by my strong belief that all children and young people are entitled to quality learning despite their circumstance.
Our Hospital School SA children in the Back on Track Program receive great targeted teaching that meets their identified learning needs and assists them to maintain their social and emotional connections with their school friends despite being away from school for long periods of time.
Parents are given the reassurance that their children are working with teachers whilst in Hospital or when recuperating at home with the aim to keep up with the progress of their peers at school.
Hospital Clinicians and the teachers from the student's home school value the strong focus on education for the children and young people whilst in Hospital.
We make learning enjoyable, achievable and important for our children and their families."
Manager, John Opie House, Hobart.
When diagnosed with cancer or a life-threatening illness, people who live in rural or remote areas face the added challenge of needing to travel to access major treating hospitals.
John Opie House provides comfortable and affordable accommodation for patients and their carers who must travel long distances to access treatment. Samantha Kanizay, manager of John Opie House gives us an insight as to how the John Opie House community makes a difference in the fight against cancer.
"John Opie House and its community provide a network of support through ongoing volunteers, funding, counselling, food and various vouchers from local businesses to lift the burden of being away from home during such a difficult time.
John Opie House wouldn't exist without all these special people pulling together.
When I was younger my mother had a transplant and my family and I were able to stay at BMDI Rotary House (Fight Cancer Foundation's accommodation centre in Melbourne) while she recovered. Having personally had the burden lifted, and being able to stay all together in comfortable surroundings I know how much of a difference it can make at a time when your whole world has been turned upside down. Now as the manager of John Opie House, I feel like it's such a gift to be able to provide the same support to others going through uncertain times."