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Support for rural
Oncology Massage Ltd is a not-for-
profit training organisation teaching
massage therapists how to work safely
with people with cancer. While we have
over 180 qualified oncology massage
therapists on our national register, not
many are in regional or rural areas.
Recent statistics have shown
that country people have a higher
incidence of a cancer diagnosis and
less access to supportive care in their
communities. This is where we need
your help. Our goal is to increase
these numbers to ensure regional
cancer centres are adequately
supported by OMTs in the area.
Here’s how Rotary can help:
• Sponsor a massage therapist in
your community by assisting with
individual tuition costs to qualify as
an oncology massage therapist (see
website for details).
• Sponsor a regional course: we
can train between two and 12
therapists on any one course, and
if costs are covered, we can reduce
the tuition fees on that course,
encouraging more local therapists
to attend. It also means that in
areas where there might only be a
couple of therapists, we can afford
to take the course to them, rather
than them travelling to us.
Putting oncology massage therapists
into a medical setting is all about
funding. Helping to purchase the
electric massage table or assisting with
resources like linen or uniforms could
encourage regional cancer centres to
employ an oncology massage therapist,
and potentially provide a free service to
As a charity, we are always seeking
general donations as well. We are
self-funded and operate solely on
course and membership fees, and the
generosity of people who give us their
time and expertise when we need
it. Donations are tax deductible and
are used to increase our community
awareness activities and perform course
For more information go to www.
contact Kylie Ochsenbein on 0410 486
767 if you would like to invite her to
talk at your next meeting.
A different polio journey
My husband Barry is a member of
the Rotary Club of Engadine, NSW.
In the December-January edition
of Rotary Down Under there was
an article by Anne Ford, quoting
Monica Saville and titled “A Polio
I admire Monica for the work she
is doing as a Rotarian to eradicate
polio in parts of the world where
polio is still rampant, but I’m afraid
this article does not reflect the
journey most polio survivors in
Australia are experiencing in their
I am a member of Polio NSW.
In the general business section of
the latest issue of Polio Australia,
a committee member said, “It is
rather perplexing that Rotary sends
money overseas to eradicate polio,
but thinks little of its survivors in
Australia. Members of Polio NSW
have approached Rotary and are
encouraging cooperation between
Rotary and Polio Australia regarding
polio in Australia.’’
My polio journey continues. I was
born in the country town of Kyogle,
NSW. I contracted polio in a major
epidemic that occurred in the ’30s.
I spent two years at Camperdown
Children’s Hospital. Then there
was time at The Far West Home
in Manly. Years followed wearing
a calliper and coping with name
calling at high school (“here
comes hopalong”). There was no
counselling in those days.
I underwent an operation as a
teenager to help with foot drop.
Fairly normal years in later life
followed. Then came the onset
of what is called “Post-Polio
Syndrome‘’ – not the onset of old
age, as some would suggest. Ask
any person who has lived with the
results of polio.
Physiotherapists who have never
treated survivors of polio sometimes
do more damage than good.
Polio survivors could all tell you
the same sort of story. The feeling
of weakness all over, the lack of
confidence, balance just about
gone and periods of depression,
needing help to get out of a chair.
When I go out, these questions
crop up: How far do I have to
walk? Are there any stairs?
The National Disability Insurance
Scheme cuts out at 65. It is of no
help to the older survivors of polio
who have been struggling and
continue to battle on with little or
no help from our government or
Rotary in Australia.
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