Vanessa Donati P1050542 cropped
 Mar 22, 2018

New opportunities for leukaemia patients

A remarkable gift in her Will of $1.4m from patient Jena Riordan is providing life-changing opportunities for people diagnosed with acute leukaemias.

Vanessa Donati is in the newly-created role of Acute Leukaemia Clinical Nurse Consultant, funded directly by Jena’s generous bequest. Providing reassurance, stability, wisdom and guidance to patients on a long and complicated treatment path is a major part of her role.

“My role is to counsel patients through their diagnosis, provide information about their cancer and treatment options, give them a sense of familiarity and stability and help co-ordinate their often complex treatment path,” says Vanessa.  

Patients can contact Vanessa at any time, giving them reassurance and the knowledge that someone is there who cares about them through their treatment journey. “It’s really patient-focused,” says Vanessa. “Getting to know patients and families – that’s what I love and that’s what inspires me to learn more, do more and help them.”

A critical part of Vanessa’s role is to re-open a national acute leukaemia registry at the ONJ Cancer Centre.  This registry will be a critical component of future research efforts.  “What we hope by getting this registry open is that we will start to get access to research opportunities and new clinical trials. This could be life-changing for patients,” says Vanessa.

Reflecting the ONJ Centre’s vision of ‘You Matter’, Vanessa hopes her role helps patients have a better understanding of their leukaemia and a better diagnosis, treatment and wellness experience. “It’s more about taking care of the whole patient, not just the process. This new position is like joining the dots of the team together through one person who is always there for the patient.” 

“This bequest has really helped open up the leukaemia program here and has given opportunities that would otherwise have not been possible – such as clinical trials.”

– Vanessa Donati

You can create a lasting legacy by making a gift in your Will just like Jena. Many people have thought to include a gift to the ONJ Cancer Centre in their Will because cancer found a way into their lives. Their gifts – whether small or large – play a huge part in helping families living with cancer. To learn more contact Sevi Skaleris, Bequest Co-ordinator on 03 9496 5361 or email or click here