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Tasmania’s Grove family grateful for ‘home away from home’

Publish Date: 17/11/2016

Tasmania’s Grove family has returned home to Tasmania after being one of the first to call the Leukaemia Foundation’s new Patient Accommodation Centre (VPAC) in Melbourne “home” for two months.

Simon and Chris Grove moved into the VPAC on August 1, after Simon received an allograft transplant at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in June. The couple’s two teenage sons stayed behind in Tasmania while Simon underwent his treatment.

Located in the Melbourne CBD and close to major metropolitan treating centres, the VPAC’s fully furnished apartments are specifically designed to meet the special requirements of people with blood cancer who must urgently relocate to undergo lifesaving treatment.

Diagnosed with a relapse of acute myeloid leukaemia in December 2015, Simon says despite struggling emotionally to come to terms with the trauma that he has been through and with a way to go in his recovery, he has so much to be grateful for.

“We were absolutely delighted to be able to stay in the Leukaemia Foundation’s new accommodation,” said Simon. “My family and I would like to thank everyone who made the VPAC possible as it has really helped to take the pressure off when I was so unwell.”

As if Simon’s diagnosis and urgent treatment weren’t enough for him and wife Chris to deal with, Chris suddenly had to return to England for her father’s funeral. While she was away, Simon’s mum came across from England to stay in the apartment to help care for him.

Tennille Lewin, Leukaemia Foundation Blood Cancer Support Manager for Victoria-Tasmania, said this experience had been especially testing for the Grove family, so the Leukaemia Foundation’s support was crucial during this time.

“This was exceptionally difficult as Simon had recently completed his transplant and was quite unwell,” said Tennille. 

“It was a great relief to Chris to know that Simon was going to have somewhere to stay so close to the hospital where he had his treatment.”

Simon says the four months were particularly challenging and he is relieved that his family are together again.

"I'm sure that being home will help with my recovery, but I'm expecting it to be quite a while before I feel more robust, both physically and emotionally,” said Simon. “It’s incredibly reassuring to know that the Leukaemia Foundation and their support are just a phone call away should I need them.”

The average length of stay in Leukaemia Foundation accommodation is four to six months but this can extend to 24 months in some cases. During these challenging times, the apartments will help to keep families together and relieve the uncertainty and financial burden of having to move away from home.

The Leukaemia Foundation's 'Building of Hope', the $9.1 million VPAC, was made possible by the generosity of donors, fundraising campaigns and a $500,000 grant from the Victorian Government. In addition to the apartments, the VPAC’s facilities include a support services centre with Leukaemia Foundation staff on hand to meet the emotional and practical needs of families impacted by a blood cancer diagnosis.

Please make a generous donation today to ensure the Leukaemia Foundation can continue to keep families like the Grove's together and provide them with all the practical and emotional support they need.

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