Passionate advocate and breast cancer survivor Sandra Kanellos’s goal has been achieved – purchasing a $15,000 piece of equipment for The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (TQEH) to help healing for women after breast cancer treatment.
Giving up was never an option for Sandra who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. Thankfully, through chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, Sandra is now cancer free and giving back to those affected today.
“Cancer doesn’t just end after chemotherapy and surgery, for most women diagnosed with breast cancer it will be a seemingly endless round of appointments, follow-ups and treatment sessions,” Sandra said.
“After surgery and treatment at TQEH, my life was filled with visits to both the Physiotherapy and Breast Endocrine Department for constant check-ups and rehabilitation.
“The physiotherapist helped me manage the painful post-operative swelling (called Lymphedema) that is common after breast cancer surgery and lymph node removal. Unfortunately, my symptoms continued, and my breast surgeon recommended cold tip laser treatment at a private clinic Stepney.
“After only a couple of laser sessions, the swelling and discomfort in my arm and scar tissue on my breast improved dramatically and restored movement in my arm.”
From this experience, Sandra wanted to help others in a similar situation and give them access to the laser treatment at their local hospital.
“The laser treatment was an incredible turning point that I wished could have happened earlier in my journey. I now want to help other women in the community reduce their pain and restore their health, confidence and wellbeing through the laser therapy.”
Sandra held a Pink Velvet Ball to raise the funds needed to purchase the equipment and ended up raising an overwhelming $60,000! The remaining funds will be used to support TQEH’s Plastics and Reconstructive unit, which provides reconstructive surgery for women following breast cancer.
The laser has been installed in TQEH’s Physiotherapy Unit and has already helped more than 20 breast cancer patients. Senior Physiotherapist at TQEH Margaret Saxon says the laser therapy has helped relieve patients’ symptoms including heaviness and aching in the arm.
“The introduction of the laser therapy has certainly had a positive effect on our patients, and I am sure it will prove to be an effective adjunct to lymphoedema treatment for patients at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital now and in the future,” Margaret said.
Sandra is extremely thankful for her strong support network of family and friends who made this possible.
“I’m grateful to everyone who supported my fundraiser and helped me reach my goal. And most importantly, I’m extremely glad I can help other women access this laser machine that will improve their healing and wellbeing as it did mine.”