New Centre to Close the Gap for Youth Cancer
The Federal Government, Sony Foundation and CanTeen have joined forces to close the gap in youth cancer care by opening Australia’s first You Can Centre and extending the Youth Cancer Services at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth on May 2.
The transition from childhood to adulthood is challenging but it is particularly tough for the one in 125 young people fighting for their lives against cancer. Young Australians face particularly difficult cancer journeys as a result of the unique biology of cancers specific to young people and a lack of resources targeted at youth. This is apparent in cancers like Leukaemia, where young people have a much poorer chance of survival than children. Specialised youth cancer facilities and services that understand and can work with the unique needs of young people are needed. This was the reason for the establishment of national fundraising campaign ‘You Can’ in 2010 and is now the impetus behind the launch of Australia’s first You Can Centre at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth.
The You Can Centre will be opened on May 2, 2013, by the Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for Health. It will cater to the needs of young cancer patients aged 15-25, a demographic that is currently falling through the gap in our health care system.
‘You Can’ was established in 2010 by Sony Foundation and CanTeen in response to the gap in care for adolescents and young adults with cancer. In partnership with the Federal Government, You Can aims to establish specialised youth cancer centres and services around the country. The You Can Centre has been built with a $1.8 million donation from Sony Foundation and $1.2 million in funding from the Federal Government.
“Sony Foundation is incredibly proud to be funding Australia’s first You Can centre. This centre is an important milestone in addressing the gap in care for young Australians battling cancer. In partnership with CanTeen and the Federal Government, Sony Foundation is committed to ongoing fundraising to support the development of further You Can Centres around Australia,” said Sony Foundation CEO Sophie Ryan.
The You Can Centre, along with the provision of additional funding to the Western Australian Youth Cancer Service by CanTeen, will ensure young Western Australian cancer patients will have access to specialist in-patient and out-patient treatment and support. The WA Youth Cancer Service, which will be housed within the new centre, is a major expansion of work previously done by the WA Cancer and Palliative Care Network as part of their partnership with CanTeen.
The You Can Centre has been designed with input from a youth advisory group and the facility has been fitted out with Sony entertainment products and includes colourful recreation spaces, counselling areas and an office for the multidisciplinary Youth Cancer Services team. This will ensure young people can receive coordinated medical, psychosocial and holistic treatment from a range of specialist health professionals in an age-specific manner and environment.
In the past, care in paediatric and adult facilities has sometimes meant that access to the most appropriate treatments, clinical trials and psychosocial support for this group has not been available with reviews showing a high risk of non-compliance of young people with treatment when sharing treatment facilities with young children and the elderly.
The You Can Centre aims to improve outcomes by enabling young people to be amongst peers in an encouraging environment away from clinical environments that are associated with their stringent treatment regimes. Additionally, psychosocial support alongside medical care is critical to ensure full participation in treatment and to reduce the risk of long-term effects that can occur after cancer treatment. These include higher incidences of mental health issues, unemployment and chronic physical health issues. A multi-disciplinary approach to deal with mental health and other issues will go a long way to reconnect teenagers with education and employment post-treatment and reduce the long term impacts of cancer for survivors.
The stars were out in force on October 25 for Sony Foundation’s annual Wharf4Ward fundraising lunch. Sydney’s Woolloomooloo Wharf has never looked better, hosting 850 guests to a day of fine food, wine and entertainment all the while raising a staggering $540,000 for Sony Foundation’s charity campaign ‘You Can’ – a national fundraising and awareness campaign set up by Sony Foundation and CanTeen to raise much-needed funds for specialised youth cancer care and services around the country.
Sony Music artists including Justice Crew, Timomatic and US band Hot Chelle Rae blew the guests away. A surprise performance from Jessica Mauboy ended the day and got everyone up and dancing. The X Factor finalists also put on a spectacular show which proved all of them are worthy of star status.
The event was hosted by supporters from each major network: Channel Seven’s Samantha Armytage, James Tobin, Natalie Bassingthwaite and Luke Jacobz; Nine Network’s Peter Overton, Richard Wilkins and Georgie Gardner and Network Ten’s Natarsha Belling and Hamish Macdonald. Peter Garrett made a surprise entrance at the end of the day, arriving in time to see Jess Mauboy perform and to thank everyone for coming.
Sophie Ryan, Chief Executive Officer, Sony Foundation Australia, said: “800 guests, six restaurants, 200m of wharf, five live music acts and 11 hosts – the recipe for an amazing day. It was also a great example of how people can come together to raise more than half a million dollars for a much-needed cause. This money goes to Sony Foundation’s ‘You Can’ campaign to help young Australians survive cancer and we’re ecstatic with the result. This money will make a measurable difference to the lives of young Australians with cancer”.