Dr Trevor Olsen, who together with Bernie Stevenson and the Holland Park Lions Club, formed the Lions Leukaemia Foundation on 9 October 1975.
40 years of love, sweat and tears
During the 1970s, life for Queensland leukaemia patients, their families and the nursing and medical staff who treated them, was very different to what it is today.
Treatment meant months of chemotherapy, severe side effects and isolation in a Brisbane hospital without support. Most patients didn’t survive. For rural and regional families who travelled to Brisbane for treatment, accommodation was scarce and expensive.
Patients were kept isolated from their families out of fear of infection. Parents were not allowed to comfort and care for their children, and patients and their families were left to combat the psychological challenges of treatment on their own. Medical staff did their very best to deliver quality care under difficult conditions.
Bone marrow transplant facilities were only available in Sydney and Melbourne. Queensland patients strong enough to undergo a bone marrow transplant travelled south, and their families made their own arrangements and covered the expenses.
Southern states also had other medical equipment available such as blood separator machines which were not available in Queensland.
Medical care, support, research and education
Frustrated by the lack of medical treatment and support facilities, Brisbane’s only clinical haematologist, Dr Trevor Olsen decided to raise funds himself to purchase medical equipment to be donated to the Mater Hospital. His first purchase, with the help of Kurilpa Lions Club, was a lamina flow bed which protected the occupant from germs.
At this time, Dr Olsen was treating a young boy whose father happened to be the secretary of the Holland Park Lions Club. Bernie Stevenson watched his young son die from leukaemia, and knew first hand the trauma of the disease and its treatment. Bernie introduced Trevor to the Holland Park Lions Club and the Lions Leukaemia Foundation was formed on 9 October 1975.
The Foundation set four goals to provide medical care, patient support, research and education for patients, their families and nursing staff.
From these humble beginnings, our organisation now provides world-class patient support services to hundreds of Queenslanders every year affected by leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and related blood disorders.
The Foundation invests millions of dollars in cutting edge medical research with the ultimate aim of finding a cure for these devastating diseases. Please donate now and join us as we continue to increase survival rates and improve the quality of care for patients and their families.