The NELUNE Foundation is committed to providing world-class facilities and services to cancer patients, regardless of their social or financial circumstances – 'Helping Patients Fight Cancer with Dignity'.
The Foundation was established and co-founded by two friends who commenced fundraising in 2001, Nelune Rajapakse AM and Anna Guillan AM. With the support of the community, these two friends have been united in their quest to make a difference to the lives of those who have been diagnosed with cancer. Nelune is a cancer survivor who knows and understands the difficulties of being diagnosed with this illness.
For over two decades, the NELUNE Foundation has worked to support equality of care for all cancer patients by raising funds to help the establishment of services and centres that will help patients fight cancer with dignity.
Prostate cancer is the number one diagnosed cancer in Australian males, with one in six men diagnosed by the age of 85.
While diagnosis rates are high, prostate cancer has a very good 5-year survival rate of 95%. Despite this, men report high levels of psychological distress with the symptoms that come because of treatment.
Treatments such as radical prostatectomy, radiation therapy, androgen deprivation therapy, and even no treatment, are associated with a multitude of psychosocial and physical complications, including depression, anxiety, reduced health-related quality of life, and a 70% higher risk of suicide in the first 12 months following diagnosis.
The NELUNE Foundation has committed to raise the funds needed to establish a specialist Men's Health Centre within the St Vincent's Healthcare Campus in Sydney. This will provide revolutionary precision healthcare capabilities, social and psychological treatment, and support for all men with prostate cancer and their families. The service will care for patients diagnosed with prostate cancer and this multi-disciplinary centre brings together medical, nursing, allied health personnel on-site and virtually.
The service will also provide a specialised genetic screening and counselling program to men (and transgender women) who may be at an elevated risk of prostate cancer due to family history or genetic mutations.
The NELUNE Men's Health Care Clinic, will leverage the power of the St Vincent's Healthcare Campus to:
• Provide public hospital patients with access to the latest ground-breaking treatments and minimally invasive procedures, enabling the best possible patient care.
• Address the unmet psycho-social, wellness and physical needs of men on their cancer journey through the development of a "one-stop" centre of care excellence.
• Incorporate new and innovative patient care models, with a focus on the development of the Men's Health Virtual Care Clinic.
• Support the ground-breaking clinical research being undertaken by St Vincent's Clinicians within the Theranostics and Nuclear Medicine Unit and at The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, to transform clinical practice and treatment for all.
The NELUNE Foundation helped fund the construction of the Nelune Comprehensive Cancer Centre, a world-class centre of cancer care excellence situated in the Bright at the Prince of Wales Hospital Campus Sydney.
Opened in February 2017, the Nelune Comprehensive Cancer Centre brought together under one roof, cancer services from Prince of Wales Hospital, the Royal Hospital for Women and Sydney Children's Hospital.
It is a cancer facility for all in the community, irrespective of age or socioeconomic status. Uniquely, the Nelune Comprehensive Cancer Centre houses the Sydney Youth Cancer Unit, a state cancer genetics service, and the internationally renowned gynecological cancer service from the Royal Hospital for Women.
The new Centre creates a physical environment that promotes recovery and ensures the best available treatment is delivered by teams of health professionals committed to public hospital medicine. Research-led excellence in cancer care also draws on the 400 cancer research scientists in the Lowy Cancer Centre at the nearby University of NSW, with these researchers working on new ways to diagnose and treat a range of cancers including brain cancer.
The Foundation funded the establishment of The Nelune Centre, a dedicated treatment area for patients requiring chemotherapy and other associated outpatient treatments. Located on the ground floor of the $100 million Kinghorn Cancer Centre in Darlinghurst Sydney (a joint initiative between the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and St Vincent's & Mater Health Sydney), The Nelune Centre is a world-class centre of excellence in patient cancer care treatment.
The Nelune Centre is a place of hope and dignity and provides fully integrated care to cancer patients, regardless of their personal or financial circumstances. Patients from all over New South Wales are referred to the Centre upon diagnosis and have access to world-class multi-disciplinary services including oncologists, clinical psychologists, research, cancer care co-ordination, chemotherapy treatment, transportation and other patient support services.
Opened in July 2018, the NELUNE Foundation provided anchor funding for the construction of a new 16-room ward in St Vincent's Public Hospital to ensure the Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Unit is at the forefront of holistic patient care whilst meeting increasing demand.
Among the many features, the new ward provides individual rooms for all patients with protective isolated 'negative' airflow, to minimise the risk of infection when transplant patients are at their most vulnerable. The new facility also significantly improves privacy for patients and their families at a time of great stress, assisting with the emotional recovery process.
Over the years, the Foundation has provided support to the Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick, Young Adult Cancer Patient Services at Prince of Wales Public Hospital Randwick and adults in the Oncology Units at St Vincent's Public Hospital Darlinghurst, St George Hospital Kogarah, Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre Campbelltown, Sutherland Hospital Caringbah and public hospitals in the Greater Western Area Health Service which include the Orange Base Hospital and Bathurst Public Hospital.
Cancer survivors are at increased risk of long-term adverse physical, psychosocial, emotional and economic consequences of cancer and cancer treatment. Existing services are inadequate for the high-quality care required to meet the diverse needs of cancer survivors.
An opportunity was presented to revitalise the building formerly known as the Superintendent's Cottage into the Prince of Wales Hospital Cancer Survivorship Centre. Constructed in 1867, the historically significant Victorian Regency building was home to Superintendents of the Asylum for Destitute Children, and operated as a military and repatriation hospital during early 20th century, and later as Prince of Wales Hospital.
The Prince of Wales Hospital Cancer Survivorship Centre will optimise the health and wellbeing of people living with and beyond cancer. It will be a sanctuary and support for cancer survivors, and complement the acute care delivered in the adjacent Nelune Comprehensive Cancer Centre in the provision of whole-of-person cancer care.
The Program will focus on prevention, surveillance for recurrence, and intervention for the adverse effects of cancer and cancer treatment. Technological solutions including connected health and telemedicine will be developed as a key component of the cancer survivorship program.
The NELUNE Foundation supported the funding of the capital works to refurbish the building and also the funding of the specialist resources to provide survivorship care to patients.
The NELUNE Foundation supports the Garvan's Molecular Screening and Therapeutic trial (MoST). Via the Nelune Centre, MoST gives patients with rare cancers or who have exhausted all other treatment options, access to a highly personalised and innovative clinical trial.
Through MoST, each participant's genome (their entire DNA) is compared with the genome of their tumour to identify the underlying cause of their cancer and to target treatment accordingly.
The demand for this service is currently far higher than the funding available and the Foundation is seeking to ensure that no patient who needs this service will go without.
In 2017, the NELUNE Foundation funded the establishment of the Rebecca Wilson Fellowship in Cancer Research in partnership with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research with a commitment of $1 million dollars over five years. This fellowship was awarded to a young female scientist and is a lasting legacy to sports journalist and long-time NELUNE Foundation supporter, the late Rebecca Wilson.
The inaugural recipient of the Rebecca Wilson Fellowship in Cancer Research is Assoc. Professor Christine Chaffer, a gifted breast cancer researcher.
Christine's research at the Garvan Institute aims to determine the role and mechanism of breast cancer cell plasticity (the ability of a cancer cell to adapt and change its composition) in disease development and metastasis to assist develop personalised therapies that will, ultimately, improve breast cancer survival rates and provide a pathway to a cure.
07 FEB 2017 - Our Bec is still changing lives (The Daily Telegraph)
07 FEB 2017 - Legacy Pioneers Research (Advertiser Adelaide)
08 FEB 2017 - Dr Christine Chaffer remembers Rebecca Wilson (video - The Daily Edition)
08 FEB 2017 - Rebecca Wilson honoured (video - The Daily Edition)
Acquisition of advanced medical equipment for prostate cancer diagnosis. Prostrate biopsy are highly invasive and painful procedures that detect only 30-40% of prostate cancers. To increase cancer detection to 70-80%, and enhance patient comfort and safety, the NELUNE Foundation purchased a Transperineal Ultrasound for St Vincent's Hospital Public Hospital. This equipment guides the biopsy diagnosis in a non-invasive, safe, and painless technique.
We would like to thank the below businesses for their unwavering support and generosity year after year.
If you would like to find out more about becoming a corporate sponsor or supporter of the NELUNE Foundation please get in touch.