Dry July funds aid­ing cancer cen­tre’s work

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

A young woman re­cov­er­ing from a rare form of ovar­ian cancer is ral­ly­ing her friends to raise money to help peo­ple ‘‘go­ing through hell’’.

Caitlin Fin­neganRa­manui, 20, was in Lon­don on her OE when she was rushed into emer­gency surgery where her right ovary was re­moved fol­low­ing the dis­cov­ery of a germ cell tu­mour.

‘‘At the time they didn’t know it was can­cer­ous,’’ she says.

‘‘But to be hon­est I al­ready had a feel­ing that it was cancer, so I wasn’t that shocked. I knew some­thing wasn’t right.’’

Germ cell car­ci­noma tu­mours make up about five per cent of ovar­ian cancer cases and tend to be found in women in their early 20s.

Fac­ing the prospect of nine weeks of in­ten­sive chemo­ther­apy Miss Fin­neganRa­manui de­cided to re­turn to New Zealand.

‘‘It’s quite a heavy regime that I had to go through so I wanted the sup­port of my friends and fam­ily,’’ the Mt Al­bert res­i­dent says.

She has fin­ished but says re­cov­er­ing left her feel­ing tired and frus­trated.

Phys­i­cal changes have also taken their toll – she has gained weight be­cause of the drugs and all her hair has fallen out.

But dur­ing the chal­lenges of her treat­ment she says the new chemo­ther­apy chairs in­stalled in Auck­land City Hospi­tal were a sig­nif­i­cant help.

‘‘It meant I wasn’t stuck in a hospi­tal bed all day, which is a small thing but it means a lot. When you are stuck in a bed you feel down, you feel like you are re­ally sick.’’

The chairs have the abil­ity to change po­si­tions so pa­tients can be more com­fort­able.

The hospi­tal’s North­ern Re­gional Cancer and Blood Ser­vice cen­tre was able to buy 30 of the chairs thanks to money raised in last year’s Dry July event in which peo­ple were spon­sored to go al­co­hol-free for the month.

The 2012 event raised in ex­cess of $550,000 for the cen­tre which treats cancer pa­tients from all over the up­per North Is­land.

The money also saw the cen­tre get wifi, 70 new TVs and a gar­den ren­o­va­tion.

Clin­i­cal di­rec­tor for the cen­tre Richard Sul­li­van says they were to­tally blown away by the gen­eros­ity last year.

‘‘It quickly be­came a so­cial move­ment with its own mo­men­tum – and while the cause was se­ri­ous, the chal­lenge it­self was fun and gen­er­ated great ca­ma­raderie among the par­tic­i­pants,’’ he says.

Dr Sul­li­van says the cen­tre has more than 350 pa­tients through its doors each day and ev­ery dol­lar raised dur­ing Dry July helps those peo­ple.

This year they want to en­hance the ap­pear­ance of the lin­ear ac­cel­er­a­tor suites, up­grade cancer treat­ment and wait­ing rooms and cre­ate a well­ness cen­tre for bone mar­row trans­plant pa­tients.

Miss Fin­negan-Ra­manui says Dry July is a small sac­ri­fice for her, but she has re­cruited at least eight friends who work in hos­pi­tal­ity who might find it a tad more dif­fi­cult.

‘‘With­out go­ing to the hospi­tal it’s hard to know that peo­ple are go­ing through hell up there,’’ she says. ‘‘Do­ing Dry July is one way you can show sup­port.’’

of peo­ple

Cheers!: Dr Richard Sul­li­van and Caitlin Fin­negan-Ra­manui with one of the 30 chemo­ther­apy chairs Auck­land City Hospi­tal could pur­chase with money raised from Dry July last year.

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