Treatment Close to Home Makes a Difference

Former patient Archie Mahon joins his brothers Thierry and Geordie at Albury Hospital children's playground. Photos: TruPics

A mega donation of $80,000 from the SS&A has helped replace and upgrade much-needed monitoring equipment for the children’s cancer treatment space at Albury Hospital.

One local family with a child who has been receiving ongoing treatment for a rare form of cancer says local fundraising through the Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre Trust Fund has helped make the treatment journey less challenging.

Archie with parents Dan and Sally, with SS&A Chief Executive Gerard Darmody and President Eddie Dunlop viewing one of the monitors purchased with the donation.

Sally Wildon’s five year old son Archie has had three and a half years of intensive chemotherapy, mostly in Melbourne, and has just finished 12 months of maintenance treatment at Albury Hospital.

One of the features of the equipment funded by the SS&A allows those children receiving treatment who are very sick and unable to fight off bugs, to be placed in isolation, yet remain connected to high-tech monitors, allowing nurses to keep a close eye on them whilst not in the room.

SS&A President Eddie Dunlop and Nurse Unit Manager of Paediatrics Samantha Peet view another monitor funded by the donation.

Sally Wildon says having the latest monitoring technology locally gives families like her peace of mind.

“Archie often would have zero immunity so he would have to be in isolation,” Sally said.

“Children on the ward might be coming in with illnesses such as chest infections and that would kill him, so it’s really important.”

Nurse Unit Manager of Paediatrics Samantha Peet says the upgraded technology makes caring for children much easier and effective.

Archie, all smiles in the playground.

“It is very exciting to have the newest version of the equipment which includes seven monitors that are beside the patients bed, a monitor in the treatment room and a central monitor at the nurses station.

“The new equipment also allows us to transfer the patients data from the ED department and to the ICU department if it is required that the children get moved. This allows for consistent treatment and streamlined care for all our patients.”

Perhaps the greatest benefit of adding new technology to the children’s cancer treatment space is giving families confidence, and an ability to keep families together during challenging times.

Treatment closer to home has been valuable, keeping Archie’s family together.

“When Archie was first diagnosed and was 18 months old we were in Melbourne and they said ‘we’ll try and get you back home’ and I was a bit scared, because locally we couldn’t compare to the ward at the Royal Children’s with their equipment and isolation rooms.

“But we’re getting better and better as we’re getting more funding which is making a huge difference to lots of families. And when do have treatment here, we keep the family together, as we have three other children,” Sally said.

“Anything that we can do to help a family through a very difficult time is of upmost importance,” added Samantha.

“With the support of the SS&A, it ensures that we have state of the art equipment to do this and it also makes the nurses job so much easier when we have equipment that facilitates our care.”