The Foundation’s signature project, John James Village, officially opened in August 2016 and is now operating at full capacity to provide much-needed respite accommodation for people with blood cancer and related illnesses, their families and carers.

The practical value of the Village is highlighted by a quick count showing the six units have already provided more than 1,000 bed nights to patients, families and carers since opening. All Members of the Foundation can be proud of the lasting contribution the Village is making to healthcare in the Canberra region.

The successful completion of the $7-million-plus project on land donated by the ACT Government at Garran also marked the achievement of an important Foundation goal set out in the Strategic Plan 2014-2019. The widespread community recognition the Village has achieved highlights the Foundation’s ability to successfully deliverer major charitable activities across the ACT, surrounding regions and much further afield.

Residents and community organisations have also quickly become Village supporters. One nearby retiree Mrs Margie Whitrow cooks and delivers nutritious meals for patients each week using produce provided by food rescue organisation OzHarvest (also a Community Health program recipient). Longstanding Village supporter, the Order of Australia Association ACT Branch, asked green thumb members to take part in a mid-winter garden working bee – complete with a fireside BBQ afterwards in the recreation room.

The Foundation is now considering how to progress Stage 2 of John James Village. The aim is to add capacity to the Village to meet the needs of patients already on a waiting for this specialised accommodation. Initial discussions have included ACT Government officials.

John James Village also quickly became a multi-award winning site, underlining the high level of commitment, professionalism and innovation shown by the many local partners who contributed pro bono or in-kind to the project:

Kingston architects DJAS won a prestigious Australian Institute of Architects Colorbond award for Steel Architecture.

• Deakin builders Project Coodination won the Master Builders Association ACT award for Excellence in Building – Special Purpose Dwelling and Adaptable Dwelling.

• Queanbeyan’s Moraschi Roofing won the 2016 National Metal Roofing Association and Cladding Association Premium Award for Specialist Works.

JJF Travelling Fellowship of Medical Oncology

The Foundation welcomes the recipient of a new Travelling Fellowship of Medical Oncology, Dr Andrew Soma, from the Solomon Islands’ National Referral Hospital, Honiara. Dr Soma met the Solomon’s High Commissioner in Australia, His Excellency Mr Collin Beck, to discuss the Foundation’s support.  The four week Fellowship, in mid 2017, gives Dr Soma the opportunity to see modern cancer treatment facilities and services in Canberra.  Dr Soma will soon be central to the establishment of the Solomon’s first oncology care clinic.

Thank You wall highlights community support

The ‘thank you’ wall at John James Village showcases the many local Canberra trades and businesses that supported construction of the Village with direct donations, in-kind and pro bono services. The wall, in the main administration building, is made up of timber ‘cells’ reflecting the interconnected nature of community.

Clinical Placements Program

Each year the John James Foundation hosts a group of final year medical students from James Cook University, Qld, as part of the Specialist Elective (Clinical Placements) Program.

The 10-week program exposes students to a broad range of medical specialities and environments.  Students have an opportunity to spend one-on-one time with Specialists working in both public and private settings.  Students spend time in private rooms, scrubbing-in to theatre, clinics, ward rounds and are even able to get behind the scenes in medical laboratories.

Previous participants say the program provides valuable insights, particularly into the realities of private practice and a broad range of medical specialities outside the public system – often for the first time.

Students who will participate in 2018 have now been selected. Information about clinical placement opportunities in 2019 will be available soon.