The RMH Foundation and Dry July Foundation’s decade long collaboration has successfully raised nearly $1.4 million in funds for the comfort and wellbeing of cancer patients at The Royal Melbourne Hospital.
This year we are so proud to have RMH cancer patient, Steve Mahoney, on board as our 2020 ambassador. In July 2019, Steve was diagnosed with head and neck cancer. While he and his wife of 12 years, Robyn, were prepared for the battle, they were unfamiliar with head and neck cancer or what lay ahead as they journeyed from the Mornington Peninsula to the RMH.
Shortly after, Steve had to give up work in order to prepare for the many months of surgery and treatment. Unfortunately, Steve’s cancer resulted in numerous complications—infections, jaw dislocation and two tracheotomies—all within a six month period. At one point, Steve even had to prepare for the worst and organise his affairs. It was incredibly stressful, but Steve says he owes his strength during this time to Robyn's enduring support.
Since his diagnosis, Steve's life has changed dramatically. He was a Rugby League player from Townsville and moved down to Melbourne to be with Robyn. The pair used to lead a busy social life and spent every week from Thursday to Sunday night entertaining their friends.
The effect of Coronavirus restrictions combined with his numerous surgeries, has made Steve reflect on his life and how he appreciates nothing more than sitting and holding hands with Robyn on their porch. Steve has also had to adapt his eating habits as he is currently tube feeding. He misses his food very much- especially his favourite, steak.
When Steve heard about the Dry July campaign, he didn't hesitate to sign up as an ambassador.
“The staff were amazing and kept me informed every step of the way, especially when I had my tracheotomies. Robyn was by my side every night at the hospital. When the COVID-19 visitor restrictions were introduced, she could only see me for an hour a day but the RMH staff continued to keep her in the loop. We felt so cared for and the RMH became a safe house for us.”
Above all else, Steve and Robyn want to raise awareness about head and neck cancer and its lasting impacts. With 2020 already proving to be quite a challenge, Dry July have introduced Dry(ish) July where instead of holding out for the whole month you can try 14 days, 21 days or any duration of your choosing. No matter how long you choose to go dry for, you will be raising vital funds for people affected by cancer.
Thanks to the support of so many and our wonderful 2019 ambassador, Dean Reynolds, we generated over $100,000 for the hospital. These funds brought Palliative Care patients a lush, tranquil garden and funded numerous patient-care projects for the Head & Neck and Haematology wards.
With the threat of COVID-19 still looming, we need your support now more than ever.
Sign up to Dry July here and help The RMH continue to provide cancer patients with the highest level of comfort and wellbeing as we weather this pandemic.