Jane McMillan: Leukaemia Support Queensland
Blood cancer patients have Jane to hold their hand
Jane has held the hands of patients with blood cancer – figuratively speaking, but often literally as well – for more than a decade.
She started volunteering after a friend, a single mother of two children, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in 2004. Jane became her carer.
She founded the Caboolture branch of Leukaemia Support Queensland two years later and has spent 12 years organising all manner of fundraising events. This includes the Lose Your Locks campaign, which encourages schoolchildren to shave or colour their hair to raise money.
She works on car rallies, movie nights, dinners and sausage sizzles, raising funds to cover accommodation, hospital parking, counselling and food hampers for patients and their families.
When Jane isn’t raising funds to help patients she’s a carer herself, accompanying patients during treatment and providing emotional support for their families.
“I’ve sat with parents whose children are dying. These are horrible diseases and they don’t discriminate, by gender or age,” she says.
“It’s so hard, but the strength the patients show, especially the children, is inspiring.”
Jane is proud that a new haematology outpatient centre in North Lakes was the result of her advocacy.
“We fought hard, we organised rallies outside Caboolture hospital, we walked from Redcliffe to Caboolture and I badgered the health minister.”
Jane also visits schools and community groups to update them on the latest blood cancer research.
She says it’s very humbling to be voted a Westfield Local Hero by her community.
The Jane McMillan organisation will use its $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant to sponsor nurses and allied health professionals to attend haematology conferences.
“We’d also like to fund iPads for the haematology centre.”