An answer to cancer

Ron and Robin

Featured in Burwood Scene, July 3, 2013.

Acute Myeloid Leukaemia is a blood cancer. We know it as bone marrow cancer. There is an answer.

Professor Derek Hart and his group at the ANZAC Research Institute at Concord Hospital have answers.

A cancer antibody.

But they need our help to raise $5million.

The ANZAC Research Institute Medical Appeal starts here in Sydney’s inner west with a $185,000 target. Anyone can help or be involved, dollar by dollar.

What is AML?

Master architect Ron Moody had no idea what sort of cancer AML (Acute myeloid leukaemia) was until he got it, and as fortunate as it may be, he has the APML version (Acute promyelocytic myeloid leukaemia) from which he can likely recover with alternate doses of vitamins and arsenic.

Ron’s strain of AML, or bone cancer as we know it, developed following chemotherapy treatment for an unrelated cancer in the 1990s.

“If you asked anyone what APML or AML was, they wouldn’t have a clue,” Ron said.

“I had a rough idea there was something wrong with my system and blood, and asked the fine people here [at Concord Hospital] to do tests.”

“First of all I had to understand it and my next question was, doesn’t arsenic kill rats? Now it’s just something else I have to beat,” says Ron.

AML, a blood cancer, has a 30 per cent survival rate for younger people and only 10 percent survival rate for older people aged 60 years and over. The treatment for older people is so harrowing, the cure kills.

“It’s a nasty disease,” says PhD student Dr Robin Gasiorowski, a haematologist clinician turned researcher with Professor Hart’s Group.

“Ron has the one type of AML that we can treat but we are trying to help all the others, which is 85-90 percent of AML patients.”

Dr Gasiorowski is mentored by Associate Professor Georgina Clark and is one of Professor Hart’s brilliant team who are on the brink of developing an antibody to defeat this cancer.

Having looked after many patients with leukaemia and watching them go through ‘very intensive’ treatment, Robin wanted to find a better way and subsequently joined the ANZAC Research Institute after speaking with Professor Hart.

“As a clinician who has come into research, you don’t appreciate how challenging it is. What seems straightforward on paper is not,” Dr Gasiorowski said.

“AML is one disease where we desperately need better treatments.” Ron says AML should be widely publicised. “I think this Appeal is great but donations get confusing and cancer is such broad stuff. They [the media] need to be specific and there should be more education,” Ron said.

By Belinda Noonan.

Caption: APML patient, Ron Moody with Dr Robin Gasiorowski at Concord Hospital.

Photo: Michael Santer.


 

How to donate to the ANZAC Research Institute Medical Appeal 

ONLINE: www.bendigobank.com.au/foundation/anzacresearch

IN PERSON: at any Bendigo Bank. Your closest branch can be located at www.bendigobank.com.au/public/about_us/locate_us

BY POST: Send a cheque or money Order to Homebush Community Bank, 27 Rochester Street, Homebush NSW 2140

AT PARTICIPATING BUSINESSES: As the Appeal grows, money boxes will be available to collect loose change at local businesses.

ALL DONATIONS OVER $2 ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE.

Receipts will be issued if you donate online or at any of Bendigo Bank branch

BE Involved.

The challenge to raise $5million to fund new treatment strategies for the most common adult leukaemia, acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), starts in the inner west. AML is only the start, because  principle can be applied to other blood cancers.

How you can be involved in raising funds is only limited by our imaginations, from making a personal donation, displaying a poster or allocating a special night at your business, hosting or organising your own event or being a volunteer to help deliver posters.

It’s about owning your event or initiative and depositing those few dollars at any Bendigo Bank branch. The opportunity to be involved for younger people starts at school through the Burwood Rotary Club, and we also invite other Rotary Clubs and service organisations to participate.

You could follow the lead of local businesses such as Inspirations Paint at Burwood who have a paint bucket on their counter to collect loose change. How you participate is up to you.

If you need any information or wish to be sent or collect posters, contact Homebush Bendigo Bank, 27 Rochester Street, Homebush who will be happy to provide support.

To promote your event, call Burwood Scene on 9715 2700 or email editor@burwoodscene.com.au.

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