Funding commitment for Queensland's regional youth cancer patients at star studded event
Date: 4 August 2022
Sally Collett was 24 years old when diagnosed with ovarian cancer, faced with months of debilitating chemotherapy. She credits her ability to fight through the darkest days of her treatment to the supportive friendships formed with other patients at the Sony Foundation funded You Can Centre for youth cancer patients at Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital.
Sally is one of the scores of patients who have benefitted from the Brisbane You Can Centre since doors opened in 2019 following a $1.5 million donation from the Foundation, raised in part at Sony Foundation Australia’s annual Brissy4Ward event. The star-studded event, backed by the media and entertainment industry, returned to Howard Smith Wharves today after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
Sony Foundation Australia, the charity backed by the Sony group of companies, committed to donating the $635,000 raised at Brissy4Ward 2022 to their initiatives to improve the survival outcomes for 15–25-year-old cancer patients in Queensland.
You Can’ was launched in 2010 by Sony Foundation to close the gap that existed for adolescent and young adults with cancer. In partnership with the Federal Government and cancer charity Canteen, Sony Foundation has established a national network of age-appropriate, specialised youth cancer centres and services around Australia.
The Brisbane You Can Centre will continue to be part of the full spectrum of cancer services that will encompass the new Queensland Cancer Centre set to open at Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital in the coming years. In addition, Sony Foundation’s latest program, a ground-breaking accommodation service for regional youth cancer patients called ‘You Can Stay’ will ensure more regional and rural Queenslanders can physically access the Queensland Cancer Centre.
To fill a gap in affordable accommodation for teenagers and young adult cancer patients from regional areas, Sony Foundation launched You Can Stay in 2020. Sony Foundation covers the costs upfront for a self-contained Quest apartment, ensuring the patient has les financial stress and the emotional support and stability from loved ones while away from home, essential for any cancer journey.
Brissy4Ward was attended by Queensland Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk, as a sign of ongoing collaboration between Queensland government and Sony Foundation which started with a $500,000 funding commitment for the You Can Centre made by the Premier in 2018.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk congratulated the Sony Foundation and its corporate and media supporters for their ongoing generosity for a vital cause.
“We work best when we work together,” the Premier said.
“We showed that with the opening of the Brisbane You Can Centre, and the You Can Stay program.
“It’s great to see that wonderful co-operation and commitment continuing - individuals and corporates, private and public, Government and industry.”
Dr David Rosengren, Acting Chief Operating Officer at Queensland Health said, “The Queensland Cancer Centre will be one of the world’s leading cancer hospitals, allowing us to provide the best care and treatment here in Brisbane to double the number of people than we currently do once open.
“Having the wrap around services funded by Sony Foundation for youth cancer patients, such as the You Can Centre and the You Can Stay program means more of our young people, whether from the city or country, will have equal access to the best cancer care possible.”
CEO of Sony Foundation, Sophie Ryan said, "When patients hit 16, they get transferred into the adult system and a lot of the specialised support and services that are needed for our adolescent and young adult age group, just fall away."
“Sony Foundation’s You Can Centres and accommodation program have already proven critical to young people’s survival outcomes here in Queensland and we’re committed to ensuring no one in this age group gets left behind.”
Cancer survivor, Sally Collette said, “The You Can Centre was a source of light for me in a time when the darkness seemed to surround me.
“The other young people I met at the centre understood the experience of having cancer as a young person and what it’s like to feel like a stranger in your own skin. It’s a support system I never would’ve had access to without the You Can Centre.
“I can’t thank Sony Foundation enough for all they’ve done to support young people fighting cancer.”
Local television and radio personalities, sporting greats along with Sony Music country sensation, Brad Cox, Sony Music Publishing artists Brooke McClymont and Adam Eckersley, and Conrad Sewell will all throw their support behind the sold-out event.
Since launching in July 2020, the You Can Stay program has supported over 160 patients and families with over 10,000 nights of accommodation, 3,000 of which were provided to Queenslanders alone. The average stay is over 70 nights at an average total cost of over $10,000 per patient which would be crippling for any young person or family to take on.