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Rotary Clubs Partner with the Australian Lymphology Association

Rotary Clubs Partner with the Australian Lymphology Association

In a move to establish Australian researchers at the forefront of Lymphology research Rotary Clubs announced a critical partnership with the Australian Lymphology Association (ALA) by providing almost $90,000 to fund research into the causes of treatments of Primary Lymphoedema through Rotary Clubs and Australian Rotary Health to raise funds for a 3 year PhD Scholarship for research into Primary Lymphoedema, a life-long disorder that effects around 1 in 6000 children born with the condition.

The announcement came as a direct outcome of the ALA's inaugural awareness campaign which was recently acknowledged by the NSW Government at Parliament House following a Resolution of the Parliament's Legislative Council recognising the ALA as a leading organisation for lymphoedema awareness, support, advocacy and research.

When Cliff Hoare, Rotary Community Service Chairman (District 9680) of the Rotary Club of Dural heard of the ALA's Its Cool To Be Kind campaign, he knew that this was something his fellow Rotarians would be keen to support and launched the appeal at the District conference, inviting every Club throughout Australia, corporate entities and donations from individuals to support the campaign.

Australian Rotary Health, established by Rotarians, and one of the largest independent national research funds supports this research initiative. Since its establishment in 1981, the fund has provided more than $29 million in funding of health research in Australia.

Rotary fundraising is already underway to support a 3 year PhD Funding Partner Scholarship with advertising calling for expressions of interest from scholarship applicants commencing in September 2012, the successful applicant will be appointed to begin their research project in the first semester of 2013.

'I am very excited that Rotary Clubs have pledged their support to assist in promoting awareness of lymphoedema throughout the Australian community and equally, to be part of Rotary, an organisation which has the ability to change the future of people diagnosed with serious diseases through funding research," said Mr Hoare.

'Through the work of Rotary International and its affiliated organisations, tomorrow will be a better day than today, and hopefully we will find a cure or at least relieve the pain and suffering of people with diseases and disorders such as lymphoedema," said Mr Hoare.

Penelope Sanderson, President of the ALA welcomed the announcement saying, 'This partnership to fund research into Primary Lymphoedema was the initiative of Mr Hoare, District 9680 Community Service Chairman incorporating 67 Clubs from North Sydney, to Terrigal, Dee Why and Rouse Hill and is the most significant research investment in the history of the ALA.

'There is so little known about lymphoedema and historically, compared to other diseases and disorders, very little research into lymphoedema has been done throughout the world to enable a greater understanding of the disorder, the reasons for its onset and the development of methodologies for improved treatments," she said.

There are two types of lymphoedema – Primary and Secondary. There is no cure and causes life-long disability.

Primary Lymphoedema results in significant swelling of the legs and sometimes the arms and can become evident at different stages of life. The condition is seen in young children, teenagers and adults of all ages. It can be difficult to diagnose and treatment is often delayed due to a lack of awareness even amongst health professionals.

'In contrast, Secondary Lymphoedema is better understood. We know that it is the result of damage to the lymphathic system and there is greater awareness of the need to monitor symptoms among high risk groups such as cancer survivors.

'However, while current genetic and growth factor research can help us to better understand Primary Lymphoedema, there is so much more that needs to be done to understand the disease and its impact particularly on children," Ms Sanderson said.

Rotary International is a worldwide organisation with 33,901 Clubs in 209 countries with a total of 1,210,700 members. There are 1,158 Rotary Clubs throughout Australia with a total membership of 33,000.

The Rotary Club of Dural is one of the leading contributing Clubs in Australia to Australia Rotary Health having partnered 3 year PhD Scholarships for: Prostate Cancer (2), Ovarian Cancer, Liver Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, Breast Cancer, Dementia, Cervical Cancer, mental health and now Primary Lymphoedema.

The scholarships are highly sought after by the medical research profession. All the results of the research undertaken are made available worldwide to the medical profession and other research organisations and the students are encouraged to liaise with the funding partners and to keep them informed as to the research being undertaken.

Ms Sanderson said, 'Our first national community education and fundraising initiative, designed to raise funds for research and education into lymphology has been an enormous success and we are extremely grateful to Mr Hoare, Rotary District 9680, its members and all Rotarians including Australian Rotary Health for supporting this substantial research project.

The ALA, the peak professional body promoting best practice in lymphoedema management, research and education in Australasia with 350 Members throughout Australia and New Zealand provides the National Lymphoedema Practitioners Register which gives access to the public regarding those members who are trained to assess and treat people at risk of or who have developed lymphoedema and are continually updating their skills in the management and treatment of the condition so that they can provide best practice.

To support this initiative and make a tax deductable donation, corporate or individuals should contact Cliff Hoare on 0418 268 998



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