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GALLERY: Greater support for World’s Greatest Shave

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It was deemed Mission: Possible and, thanks to the Greater Bank and Greater Charitable Foundation, the assignment went off without a hitch.

CEO Scott Morgan, deputy chair Jayne Drinkwater and a hirsute Garry Hazell celebrated the organisation’s new partnership with the Leukaemia Foundation (LF) by taking part in the World’s Greatest Shave at the Hamilton head office on Wednesday 16 March.

With staff members eagerly watching on, and shouting words of encouragement, the trio quickly sported new looks, via the handiwork of Jimbo the barber.

“It’s just hair, it will grow back,” said Ms Drinkwater, who is also a director with the Greater Charitable Foundation.

“It is a lot easier [to do this] than what some people are going through.

“This shows we’re not just supporting the Leukaemia Foundation financially but physically, too.”

The three-year partnership between Greater Charitable Foundation and LF will reduce the economic burden and improve health outcomes for people living with blood cancer and their families.

The organisation has committed $229,500, along with the $11,000+ raised by the three brave souls, to ensure the ongoing delivery and expansion of the foundation’s Financial Assistance program, designed to assist residents throughout the Hunter region, wider NSW and South-East Queensland.

The initiative provides patients and their families with monetary support such as covering household bills, and fuel and grocery vouchers, as well as offers advocacy to those with financial hardship after diagnosis.

The investment from Greater Charitable Foundation will expand the Financial Assistance Program by both increasing the number of blood cancer patients financially supported by 50% and increasing referral pathways to financial counsellors, with the funding to be directed to support people living with blood cancer.

An overwhelmed Leukaemia Foundation’s acting head of philanthropy Sally Cane said more than 110,000 Australians were living with blood cancer at any given time and in excess of 5,700 people lost their life to blood cancer each year.

“[Today] is an amazing day,” she told the Newcastle Weekly.

“It’s great to see an organisation like the Greater Charitable Foundation stepping up.

“This donation will make a huge difference to cancer patients – and help hundreds of people.

“Blood cancer can develop in anyone, anywhere, at any age and at any stage of life.

“So, we are focused on making sure every Australian with blood cancer gets access to the trusted information, best-practice treatment and essential care they need.

“We are delighted to be entering into this partnership with Greater Charitable Foundation, which will provide $76,500 each year for the next three years.

“The cost of treatment can financially cripple blood cancer patients and their families, as a blood cancer diagnosis typically means one or more people within the household are unable to work full time. This reduction in income is only one contributing factor to the financial burden of blood cancer.

“After diagnosis, a patient is also faced with out-of-pocket expenses, ongoing treatment and rehabilitation costs and a very real possibility of not being able to return to full-time work due to long-term treatment side effects.

“For those who live in rural and regional areas, it also often means temporarily relocating to the city to receive ongoing cancer treatment that can be anywhere from a few weeks to up to 12 months in duration.

“We also know that health outcomes are worse for people in financial stress during their blood cancer treatment, so alleviating some of those pressures can make a massive difference to their longer-term prognosis.”

Greater Charitable Foundation chief executive officer Anne Long said the alliance with the Leukaemia Foundation would deliver many benefits.

“Research shows that blood cancer patients experiencing financial hardship have poorer survival outcomes at five years compared to other blood cancer survivors, so if we can help them avoid financial hardship, we hope to bring their survival outcomes in line with others with the same blood cancer,” she stated.

“As well as assisting people with their immediate needs, the Leukaemia Foundation Financial Assistance program also aims to improve their financial literacy through connecting them with counsellors, which dovetails perfectly with our new funding strategy of improving the overall financial wellbeing of participants.

“We are delighted to be partnering with the Leukaemia Foundation and we are very excited to think that our support could help people in our communities live longer and healthier lives.”

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