Dry July funds crucial cancer treatments

November 25, 2021 BY

Caring: Bendigo Health’s Gobbé Wellness Centre manager Jenna Sing and cancer patient Jodie Stirling. Photo: AJTAYLOR IMAGES

ALMOST seventy-thousand dollars was raised during Dry July and now it’s enabling Bendigo Health’s Gobbé Wellness Centre and cancer wellness program to keep running.

The centre, which opened earlier this year, houses the program and offers activities such as yoga, massage, mindfulness sessions and other complimentary therapies.

Jodie Stirling was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 and a second primary cancer in 2019.

She undertook chemotherapy and radiation treatment for nine months after her first diagnosis, and a further five months of more intensive treatment after her second.

“It was pretty full on considering I’d only just finished the chemo and radiation six months earlier and then to put the body through it again was a tough time,” she said.

Bendigo Health’s cancer wellness program, which receives no government funding, has played a crucial role in her recovery, which has included issues with nerve damage to her feet as a result of treatments.

“The yoga was really beneficial for me to begin to find feeling in my feet and trying different exercises, it’s been amazing,” she said.

“I’ve also done the mindfulness sessions which is something I would never have got involved with until I was diagnosed a second time, then you really need to work on getting your head into the present. Not thinking about the past or future, but living for today.”

Ms Stirling said she is grateful for her treatment being so close to home, as the only alternative would be travelling into Melbourne.

“My mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer 25 years ago, and at that stage she had to travel to Melbourne for treatment,” Ms Stirling said.

“I remember how taxing that was for her to be driven to Melbourne and to come back.

“The cancer centre here in Bendigo is amazing because I can go there and have my PET scans, CT scans and those results are available straight away for my oncologist to look at, it’s all in that one facility.”

Oncology nurse Jenna Sing has overseen the program since February 2020, a position made possible by Dry July fundraising.

Bendigo Health Oncology Unit Clinical Director Dr Rob Blum said Ms Sing has an exceptional ability to cater to all patients’ needs.

“She has great connectedness and energy and her compassion to people allows her to appreciate what they might need,” he said. This is a place of safety and that’s really important.”

Ms Stirling said it’s clear how going dry for July can make a real difference to people’s lives.

“You’re continually inundated with requests fordonations for lots of worthy causes, but the Dry July funds that are raised, they’re used locally to provide support for people dealing with cancer diagnosis,” she said.

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