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QIMR and RBWH take steps to end women’s cancers

QIMR and the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital have announced “The Weekend to End Women’s Cancers” to address staggering cancer rates among Queensland women. Funds raised by the 2013 initiative will power a joint effort by QIMR and RBWH to combine life-saving cancer research programs and clinical trials at QIMR with vital treatment, care and survivorship programs for all women’s cancers at RBWH in Queensland.

“We are thrilled to announce the first annual Weekend to End Women’s Cancers with our colleagues at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital,” said Professor Frank Gannon, Director and CEO at QIMR.

“In Queensland, one in two women will be diagnosed with some form of cancer before the age of 85, and in Australia, the rate is one in three. We are on a mission at QIMR to prevent and cure diseases through research. Funds raised through The Weekend to End Women’s Cancers will be put to use by supporting cutting-edge cancer research programs at QIMR whilst enabling the continuity and quality of treatment, care and prevention programs for all women’s cancers at RBWH,” Professor Gannon added.

The Weekend to End Women’s Cancers or “The Brisbane Weekend” will be a 2-day, 60 km walk through Brisbane’s various neighbourhoods with an overnight camp where participants will enjoy pre-set tents, hot meals, entertainment, massages and other activities. The event start and finish will be held on October 26th and 27th of this year, and pit stops with fresh foods, beverages and public cheer stations will be set up along the route.

Professor Gannon and Adjunct Associate Professor Alanna Geary, RBWH’s Nursing Director for Cancer Care Services, addressed invitees which included local cancer survivors, doctors, researchers and staff from both QIMR and RBWH in the atrium at RBWH.

“Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital is the largest hospital in Queensland and is the hub of cancer care services for Central and South East Queensland,” said Professor Geary.

“Each year, we treat over 100,000 incidences of cancer. While our current treatments are of the highest standard, we hope that funding from The Brisbane Weekend will enable us to further increase survival rates and quality of life by developing a Diamond Standard of Comprehensive Cancer Care which will be more focussed on individualised treatment and support for each patients with all forms of women’s cancers including breast, and gynaecological cancers such as, cervical, endometrial and ovarian,” Professor Geary added.

Jean Gardiner, an Administration Officer for the Queensland Police Service, mother of three and two-time cancer survivor says she is honoured to walk in the first annual Brisbane Weekend and knows first-hand the importance of prevention and care programs, because similar programs helped save her life.

“After leading a healthy and active lifestyle here in Queensland, I was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2003, when I was in my thirties. After five years, with support from my oncologists and family, I was cleared from the cancer and began to move forward. Last October, after a routine colonoscopy, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer and immediately underwent major surgery. In December I began chemotherapy and am currently just over half way through it.

“For me, The Weekend will be about challenging myself to complete the 60 km walk to achieve a sense of accomplishment while supporting those around me, each with their own personal story. We will unite with the women and men in our lives and make a direct impact on cancer research and care right here in Queensland. I hope the funds we raise will prevent someone else from going through what I am going through,” said Mrs. Gardiner.

“We invite everyone to join us for the first annual Weekend to End Women’s Cancers this 26th and 27th of October, and encourage people to visit or call 1300-22-9255 to register,” Professor Gannon added.

To register, donate or request information about The Weekend to End Women’s Cancers, Queenslanders can visit or call 1300-22-9255.