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Mar, 2018

Community steps up: state-of-the-art equipment for cancer unit

As life for most 23-year-olds is just getting started, Gold Coast student Georgia McLennan was baffling doctors by how she was still alive.

After three months of battling excruciating pain in every area of her body, relentless discomfort and extreme fatigue. The nursing student had left medical professionals no closer to a diagnosis. Frequent visits to her medical practitioner even had them questioning whether her debilitating symptoms were “all in her head”.

After an agonising three months, Georgia was finally diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma, a rare type of blood cancer that had spread to every part of her body. Cancer was in her lungs, breast, liver, spleen and even her body fat.

From that moment on, Georgia’s life – as it does for any cancer patient – revolved around the illness.

She endured daily chemotherapy and regular spinal injections.

But, far from letting her diagnosis and subsequent treatment get her down, because of the pain she had endured leading up to her diagnosis where it even hurt her to breathe, Georgia found immediate relief and began to count her blessings rather than her woes.v

Cancer is a stark reality many Gold Coast locals will face and from the point of diagnosis, life changes. Not only must they live through the emotional journey; fear, anger, sadness, and determination; but also, the practical elements. Life becomes a blur of treatment options, recovery, and rehabilitation.

Cancer is overwhelming, but it is a common illness and the Gold Coast University Hospital Services Day Unit alone treats more than 15,600 patients a year with chemotherapy and intravenous vitamin infusion treatments. Some, for as many as eight arduous hours a day.

It goes without saying that when experiencing their worst-case scenario, patients must be comfortable to get the best possible outcome from their treatment. Gold Coast Hospital Foundation aims to reduce the distress of Gold Coast patients going through cancer treatment by providing a comfortable and welcoming hospital environment that offsets often-gruelling treatment programs.

This year, Gold Coast locals funded eight state-of-the-art chemotherapy chairs to make patients like Georgia more comfortable when receiving chemotherapy, two flotation chairs, one stationary exercise bike and a 65” LED LCD television to improve the experience of all patients receiving treatment at the Gold Coast University Hospital Cancer Services Day Unit.

Thankfully, Georgia’s treatment is now over, but for many Gold Coast locals just like her, cancer is a journey that is just beginning.