Friday, May 15, 2009

ONJCWC one year on... update

It has been one year since we all trekked across the Gobi desert in China, along the Great Wall. We swapped blisters for stilettos and frocked up for the Myer Precious Metal Ball last month. I joined Olivia Newton-John and other appeal ambassadors in celebration of Myer’s $1 million partnership with the ONJCWCA.

Here I am looking over plans for the Olivia Newton-John Cancer & Wellness Centre with the project manager Megan Gray

We have raised in excess of AUD $250,000 and we are still counting! The appeal’s current fundraising target is to raise a further $13 million, with support from the community, foundations and individual donations. I visited the Austin Hospital just before I left Australia to catch up on the exciting news... we have building plans... and we are set to break ground for the demolition of the old building at the end of the year. You all know that if I can accessorise walking boots, I can accessorise a hard hat! Someone give me the hammer!

We are getting closer to creating the centre. Patients are being moved out of the old cancer services building at Austin Hospital’s Heidelberg House over the next two months (June/July 2009). The old cancer services building will be demolished by the end of this year to make way for the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre.

Pictures from the Myer Precious Metal Ball, joined by Olivia, Tottie Goldsmith and The Queen!

The architects are designing an environment quite different to your typical hospital. This centre will have a calming, relaxing atmosphere. The interior design for the Wellness Centre will encompass and amalgamate all the senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. The designers are working towards a 'green star rating' of 5. This is the highest level, and very hard to do when clinical treatment is the priority - but we will make it happen!

The public areas of the Cancer Centre will use more ‘natural’ materials in general, we are looking into things such as bamboo flooring, to provide a welcoming, comfortable, non-institutional feel to the hospital. Views to the outside particularly up to the Yarra Ranges. Landscape and lighting will be enhanced throughout these areas to complement the spaces. The interior finishes will provide a healthy, productive, safe and healing environment for patients and staff, with materials that are sustainable and that have low toxicity. Some materials that are being considered are bamboo flooring, environmentally friendly carpets, timber panelling and screens and stone.

Olivia looks over plans with the head architest Daryl Jackson

A less visible part of the project, but also of great importance to the comfort of patients, is the Ecologically Sustainable Design aspects known as ESD. This includes areas such as energy efficiency, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, indoor environment air quality, water conservation and waste minimisation.

Once fully completed, the centre will include dedicated research into vaccines, treatments and ultimately cures for all types of cancer; working in collaboration with the internationally renowned Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research that is head-quartered in New York . The Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre will be home to the largest clinical research site of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research worldwide - to develop innovative cancer therapies. Construction of the $157 million Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre is scheduled to commence towards the end of 2009, and open by 2012 – pending on funding.

This is not a concept anymore... its a reality. I thank you all for sponsoring me a year ago and helping to bring this project to life. More news very soon.


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