Sony Music artists unite for cancer in Melbourne
Date: 19 May 2022
Sony Foundation, the charity backed by the Sony group of companies, today hosted their star-studded, entertainment industry event, River4Ward and raised $480,000 for Sony Foundation’s ‘You Can Stay program. The event is a milestone in the Foundation’s mission to help young Aussies from regional and rural areas beat cancer by relieving some of the financial and emotional stress of travelling for treatment.
23-year-old cancer patient Ryan Frazer, from Koo Wee Rup, shared his story at the event to shed light on the hardships those from regional areas face. In August 2020, Ryan was given the devastating news his brain cancer had returned as Victoria entered one of its toughest COVID lockdowns. He once again faced the confronting reality of having to leave family and friends to undergo cancer treatment in Melbourne.
As part of Sony Foundation’s ground-breaking national accommodation program, You Can Stay, Ryan was the first Victorian cancer patient to be provided with a self-contained apartment for him, and his family, at Quest Apartment Hotels at no cost for the duration of their stay in Melbourne, a total of 6 weeks.
Every year, 1200 young Aussies aged 15 – 25 are diagnosed with cancer. About one in three are from regional areas and must travel for treatment. The You Can Stay program is the first national accommodation program specifically designed for the unique needs of youth cancer patients as part of a broader strategy of Sony Foundation to improve the model of care for this age group.
Sony Foundation covers the costs upfront for a 1- or 2-bedroom apartment in the city, enabling regional and rural families to stay together, ensuring they have the emotional support and stability while away from home, essential for any cancer journey.
Since launching in mid-2020, You Can Stay has supported over 40 regional Victorian cancer patients aged 15 – 25 years and funded nearly 2,500 free nights of accommodation. Nationally, the program has supported over 140 patients from around Australia with nearly 10,000 nights.
Financial toxicity is increasingly recognised as a burden of cancer. which is amplified for the 1 in 3 cancer patients in Australia that come from a regional or rural area. Out-of-pocket costs like accommodation and in-direct costs like loss of income all contribute to the inequity of access to treatment for those living in the country.
Typically diagnosed with rare cancers of the blood, brain, bone and soft tissue requiring intense treatment in city hospitals, patients aged 15 – 25 from the country are disproportionately burdened by the costs of cancer. It costs on average an alarming $10,000 to accommodate a regional patient and their family in the city while they access life-saving treatment.
Ryan said, “While I was undergoing treatment in Melbourne, my doctors wanted me close by for observations and emergencies. Going home simply wasn’t an option. Overall, the apartment took stress off our family especially during covid when everything was so uncertain.”
Sophie Ryan, CEO of Sony Foundation Australia said, “Our You Can Stay program is about lessening the gap between metro and regional services to support youth cancer patients. We know that cancer doesn’t just affect the young person, it affects the whole family.
“When Sony Foundation learnt of the dire lack of options for accommodation for regional youth cancer patients and their families, we were determined to find a solution.”
River4Ward featured epic performances by Sony Music artist Kate Ceberano with a rare collaboration alongside her daughter, Gypsy. Sony Music artist Conrad Sewell took the stage performing new music with a full band. Celebrity hosts included: Network Seven’s Rebecca Maddern, Network Ten’s Stephen Quartermain, Nine’s Richard Wilkins and Nova’s Chrissie Swan.
GoogleBox Stars Keith and Lee, and Tim and Leanne also took part in the event wearing Sony Foundation’s limited-edition charity pyjamas. In collaboration with Cotton On, the pyjamas will be available exclusively at www.cottonon.com/sony and is backed by some of the biggest names in the music industry including Foo Fighters, Amy Shark and Slash from Guns n Roses who feature in the exclusive designs.