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Queenslanders support cancer patients

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Each year people from across Brisbane and Logan go without a drink through July to raise funds to help people being treated for cancer at the PA Hospital (PAH) through Dry July.

Of the 2,316 Queenslanders treated for different forms of cancer in 2019, more than 1300 people were treated in the Metro South Health area, primarily at the PAH. All funds raised from PAH Dry July supporters will go towards improving outcomes and the comfort for people diagnosed with cancer, who are treated at the PAH.

For West End's Dan Birrell, 28, and Brisbane's Ric Grudzinskas, 63, their inspiration to go without alcohol and raise funds for PA was driven by the impact of cancer on their families and the level of care shown to their loved ones by PAH staff.

"Mum was diagnosed and treated for throat cancer at the PA Hospital in 2019. My stepmother, Aunty, and Nan have also suffered from various bouts including breast cancer, bowel, ovarian, and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma," Dan said.

"A good friend's mother also passed away in 2018. It affects everyone in some way or another and was such an emotional experience.

"I've also been treated there for various maladies and incidents before and have always had incredibly positive and supportive experiences. Such a difficult position to be in but the staff are amazing, they are the soul of the place."

"Cancer has impacted several family members over the years, and Dry July appealed to me both as a very worthwhile fundraiser and also for my own health," Ric said.

"My wife has had a long career working at the PA and is also a cancer survivor who benefited from the great treatment the PA provided."

Inspired by her father's four-year struggle with stage four Ocular Melanoma in 2015, Logan's Kayla Wilhelm, 30, wanted to do her part to help drive cancer research and give back to the hospital that cared for her dad.

"My father was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ocular Melanoma in 2015 at age 52, he fought an extremely tough battle until April 2019 when he was defeated by this horrible disease," she said.

"I undertook Dry July last year to try and assist with donations going towards the PA Hospital in hope that it may contribute to helping save the life of someone else or go towards more research being conducted for Ocular Melanoma."

"The nurses, doctors, and staff at the PA Hospital had always provided my father with good care, they were always supportive of my family, and the hard times we faced.

"As an overly concerned daughter I was always on the phone to the nurses and the social workers within the cancer unit and they were always willing to help with any queries I had."

Indooroopilly's Thomas Bryce, 45, who visits the PAH regularly as part of his job with a pharmaceutical company, viewed Dry July, which he will undertake again this year, as a chance to improve his health while raising funds for a worthy cause.

"I made a conscious decision to focus on my health mid-way through the year, and alcohol could get in the way from time to time. In taking a break from that, I took advantage of that decision and helped raise some money for a good cause," he said.

"In my role I spend time with many different healthcare professionals at the PA. They are very dedicated and gifted people who give so much to their vocation and their patients."

"Everyone I have met at the hospital are completely focused on achieving the best for their patients and their colleagues."

Each of the Dry July participants who contributed to $46,000 raised by PA Hospital supporters through Dry July in 2019, urged others to do what they could to give back.

"Try to get involved in a cause like this at least once a year and genuinely ask people to contribute as little as $5," Dan said.

"Get on board and give it a go, you never know, one day the money you raise may just go towards saving a loved one of yours. Even if you only raise $20, every cent counts," Kayla said.

"I started with a way to raise money that aligned with my own goals. Then I looked for a recipient of that fundraising that I had a connection with. Not just the PA, but the QLD patients they look after," Thomas said.

"Dry July is a perfect combination of helping a worthy cause and enjoying real personal health benefits - I feel great and am very pleased to be able to contribute to the PA's excellent work as well," Ric said.

Donate to support people diagnosed with cancer undergoing treatment at the PA Hospital at