New Humanity Movement

Health: Person, Environment

Anne & Brian Hickey 


In the modern Australian city, Anna's illness becomes the occasion for a community to give a credible answer to the pain of patients, leading to new results even from the scientific and legal standpoint.

By Lorraine Lipson-Melbourne (Australia)

Melbourne, South Eastern Australia. The state capital of Victoria is the second largest city by population, and is an important administrative, financial, cultural and recreational center. Libraries, cultural workshops, new trends, the Australian city is the capital of literature recognized by UNESCO for its ability to trend. It’s in this city that writers, intellectuals and artists meet, and like a new frontier, they pioneer the vanguard which is then exported worldwide.

Anna Hickey lives in this city from birth. For nearly forty years,  she’s been accompanied by a rare form of skin cancer. Immediately the disease is discovered, Anna realizes that, apart from the very invasive treatments, it threatens her social life, her relationship with people, risking isolation that borders on the absurd.

It’s through the courage, faith and support from her husband Brian and her other friends who live with her the ideal, that Anna is able to make of her physical limit, an opportunity to improve and grow.

Anna understands that, like her, there are other people who live with the same disease, the same dangers of isolation. She decides to create a support group for improving the quality of life of these people and their families.
Anna is not alone in starting this adventure, as a fruit of her city, she is able to trend. She involves immediately besides Brian, the medical team that’s taking care of her, and her friends who share a concrete ideal, that of universal brotherhood, which wants to make the world one family ..

The beginnings, however, are not the best, and the first attempt to form a local support group hits a wall for the low participation of other patients.
Anna and her friends do not give up; they contacted a professor of an institute for medical research in another Australian state, who in turn offered to contact other patients in the same condition. With this first small "network", 10 people from different states of the country responded positively to the call. For many of them it’s the first contact in years with people with the same disease.

It’s perhaps the moment to try again for the second time, to organize a meeting for all: to publicize the event, Anna  makes a move, "travels" with the phone and internet, around the country contacting the main skin cancer treatment facilities and many specialists throughout Australia. Existing consolidated groups of patients in the United Kingdom and the United States of America are informed, so they can promote and support the initiative on their websites.

In the city, there are other medical specialists and collective self-help groups, that do not hesitate to give their support, seeing from the network being formed also in Melbourne, a real opportunity to share experiences and exchange useful information for all patients . A small group of them undertake such long journeys from all over the country to attend this first meeting.

Later the network expands on the internet, facilitating communication between patients and families, including families themselves, to promote a genuine sharing of sorrows and achievements related to the disease, leading to a more mature conscience to be the same people with the same dignity to live, even with a skin cancer.
Today, the Australian group is part of an international network of self-help.

One result of this initiative is striking: a patient decides to undergo, for the first time, clinical  and pharmaceutical trials for a  medical doctor who before was unable to find patients to enroll.
Another Australian doctor is thus encouraged to continue the search for government grants to assist patients who need to undergo expensive treatments.

These are all confirmations that even here in Australia the ideal of fraternity involves and encourages a community to seek the wounds of the city, moving together to find a common solution. In this case, thanks to these new channels of communication and mutual support, those who have been isolated for so long, now share expectations and achievements of a sometimes painful journey, but also initiatives that not only improve the living conditions of patients, but support the medical research more effectively.

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