Natasha received the shock of a lifetime when what she thought was long-COVID was diagnosed as leukaemia. Now she is showing her support for the RMH as its Dry July Ambassador for 2022.

Dry July 2022 ambassador Natasha with 8B ward nurses
Dry July 2022 ambassador Natasha with nurses from the RMH Bone Marrow Transplant and Haematology ward.

Natasha received the shock of a lifetime when what she believed to be long-COVID was diagnosed as leukaemia. Now she is showing her support for the RMH as its Dry July Ambassador for 2022.

Natasha Prolisko received the shock of a lifetime when what she believed to be long-COVID was diagnosed as Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML).

The Melbourne mum-of-two went to see her GP in March this year, feeling unwell following a combined bout of COVID and tonsillitis in February.

After undergoing blood tests, she was immediately referred to the Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH), where her diagnosis was confirmed. She spent the following 31 days in the RMH’s Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant ward.

Natasha is currently undergoing chemotherapy, but she is in remission and her progress is positive.

“I can’t stress enough how much the RMH’s 7B team went above and beyond. The entire team have been amazing, it is like home away from home for me,” she said.

“You spend so much time there and everyone is so empathetic and kind and nice – you just feel so safe.”

Natasha is showing her support for the RMH and its cancer teams and patients as the hospital’s 2022 Dry July ambassador.

As part of this, Natasha and a group of cancer nurses from the ward where she receives her treatment have teamed up to raise money to support other cancer patients and their families.

One of them is chemotherapy nurse Deb Tran, who is also a member of Natasha’s treating team.

"Dry July gives people the support they need so they can just focus on recovery and getting better,” Deb said.

“In our team, we are getting to know patients when they come in for diagnosis through to remission or end-of-life care - we see the big spectrum of life and how it affects them and their family.

“For us it is such a small part of what we can do for them. Knowing we are supporting patients through that massive emotional time, it is the least we can do.”

According to the Leukaemia Foundation, around 900 people in Australia are diagnosed with AML each year, which accounts for just 0.8% of all cancers diagnosed. AML is more common in adults over the age of 60, but can occur at any age.

You can support Natasha and the Royal Melbourne Hospital by signing up for Dry July or donating on the Dry July website at dryjuly.com/rmh

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