Last week Stuart and I joined our fellow Icon Group leaders in Mackay for the official opening of our latest Icon Cancer Centre. At Icon Group our reason for being is to provide the best possible cancer care, to as many people as possible, as close to their homes as possible. Conversations with Mackay people on the opening day really brought home just what this means to cancer patients and their families.
Every person I spoke to at the event had a personal story involving a friend or family member who had previously had to travel to receive radiation therapy for their cancer, and the impact that this had on not only the patient but those around them.
Radiation therapy typically requires daily weekday treatment sessions over a period of around four to eight weeks. Prior to the Icon Center opening patients from Mackay have had to travel to Townsville, Cairns or Brisbane to access that form of treatment. Our lovely patient Natalie Hine who spoke at the opening ceremony shared with the audience what it meant to her and her family – now she would be able to stay at home, sleeping in her own bed, with her husband and young children in close proximity to support her. It’s not hard to identify the positive impact this will have versus the alternative, which would see her having to spend six weeks staying in a hotel, away from her loved ones and support network. I definitely had a lump in my throat after hearing her words, and I’m sure I wasn’t alone.With over 600 people from the Mackay community coming along to the open day the following day on Saturday, the support we have from the local community is clear and very much appreciated. It’s really reinforced the impact that our mission has on a patient’s life and what drives our team members to do what they do every day. We had a similar experience in Hobart a couple of weeks ago, where our new center is already having an impact on patients seeking a swifter commencement to treatment.
So many people in Mackay have gone out of their way to tell our team members their own family stories, and to make sure we know how much they appreciate our investment in their community. The local media have also been fantastically supportive, here’s a link to a great news story 7 News Mackay ran on the evening of the opening.
Speaking of our team members, another great part of our day in Mackay was meeting up with the fantastic people working at the new centre. In this case though it was also a case of saying hello again to the many people in the team here who have either relocated from other Icon Group sites across the country, or rejoined us after taking a break to do something different. I love the way the diverse range of career options and geographies across the group provides these opportunities, and it’s a wonderful way of providing an Icon ‘culture injection’ to get new teams underway!
It’s an absolute honor and a privilege to be part of a business where you have the opportunity to deliver a service that makes a difference to patients and their families at the challenging time of a cancer diagnosis. Allowing people to stay at home while receiving their cancer treatment whenever possible really makes a difference – a recent study showed the role that travel burden can play in cancer diagnosis and treatment – and we’re excited by the opportunity that we have at Icon Group to make that possible for an increasing number of patients in Australia and beyond.