During the latest COVID-19 outbreak in South Australia, we are proud to have continued our support for rural cancer patients travelling to Adelaide for treatment by keeping our Under Our Roof homes open.
The Hospital Research Foundation Group’s Under Our Roof project provides accommodation for country cancer patients receiving treatments at hospitals in Adelaide. The four homes are all close to cancer-treating hospitals and public transport.
All four Under Our Roof homes were fully occupied with patients and their support network during the lockdown, as their cancer treatment was approved to continue.
This included Mount Gambier mother Lisa Hawkins who stayed in one of the new homes in Bowden during her three-week radiotherapy treatment for breast cancer.
“I’d previously heard about the Under Our Roof accommodation through family friends who stayed in one of the Woodville West homes, so this eased the pressure of finding accommodation for my treatment,” Lisa said.
During this time, Lisa’s sister Tracy flew down from Canberra to stay with her for support whilst she received treatment.
“The fact I could have my sister stay and support me meant the world to me, as well as have my partner come visit on weekends,” Lisa said.
“The home was a Godsend and we couldn’t have asked for better. It’s such a stressor trying to think of a place to stay while dealing with a cancer diagnosis and these homes definitely ease that burden for rural cancer patients.”
Unfortunately for Lisa, cancer is no stranger to her and her family. She witnessed her loving mother Pam battle breast cancer, lung cancer (twice) and a brain tumour before unfortunately losing her life to the disease.
Lisa said given the family history, she regularly self-checks her breasts and went to her doctor after she’d had an itchy breast. She underwent all the tests, including a biopsy, mammogram and ultrasound.
“I’m very lucky I was onto it and got it checked straight away. I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer in April,” Lisa said.
“I had a lumpectomy operation, which also removed the node underneath my arm and the doctor discovered it had just started to spread.
“Fortunately, I didn’t require chemotherapy as it was caught quite early, only preventative radiotherapy.”
Lisa was finishing her final week of treatment when South Australia went into lockdown following a COVID outbreak, but she was able to finish her treatment and get a medical exemption to travel home to be with her partner and three daughters.
After finishing her radiotherapy, Lisa can now look forward and close this chapter of her life.
“I’m lucky I found my cancer when I did, and I will continue to self-check myself and also remind my three daughters and loved ones around me to do the same.”