Lions supporting vital research in Rheumatism and Arthritis

1 in 6 Australians are currently living with arthritis. That’s almost 4 million people and it’s expected to be 5.4 million by 2030.  

Rheumatism and arthritis can affect anyone at any age, and can cause significant pain and disability. 

The Lions Rheumatism and Arthritis Medical Foundation is on a mission to support research to help control and possibly eliminate rheumatic and arthritic diseases.  

With the help of Lions Clubs and their communities right across Australia, the Lions Rheumatism and Arthritis Medical Research Foundation has donated over $460,000 to rheumatism and arthritis research.  

The Foundation has worked closely with Monash University providing pieces of equipment to help fund vital work. The Foundation has also sponsored a PHD student for 3 years.  

Recently a $10,000 donation was made to Monash University to purchase equipment for the Psoriatic Arthritis team.  

For more information on The Lions Rheumatism and Arthritis Medical Foundation visit http://www.lionsrheumatismfoundation.org.au 

Lions Alzheimer’s Foundation supports new children’s book to better explain dementia

One of the fastest growing diseases in Australia, Alzheimer’s is now the second largest cause of death.  

Research into the causes and prevention of Alzheimer’s has never been more important and Lions Alzheimer’s Foundation is committed to raising awareness and the much-needed funds to support this vital work. 

The Foundation has recently teamed up with celebrity chef Maggie Beer to contribute to a national breakthrough book: A children’s picture book about living well with dementia. 

Dancing with Memories is written by Sally Yule and illustrated by Cheryl Orsini. 

Professor Martins was West Australian of the Year 2010 and Maggie Beer was Senior Australian of the Year. They collaborated on the successful Recipes for Life book, published in 2019. 

In the book, Professor Martins provides expert advice with a dementia Q&A and Maggie contributes recipes for healthy children’s food. 

The book is available at: www.dancingwithmemories.com.au or email sally@dancingwithmemories.com.au 

Part proceeds go to the Lions Alzheimer’s Research Foundation and the Maggie Beer Foundation, raising funds to support vital research in aged care and dementia. 

Lions Spinal Cord Fellowship raising funds for Step Ahead Australia

Spinal cord injury affects millions of people around the world and around 20,000 Australians are currently living with a spinal cord injury. The cost to patients and their families is significant. In Australia it is estimated to be $2 billion annually. 

Despite the costs and impact of spinal cord injury, funding to find a cure for chronic spinal cord injury is limited.  

The Lions Australia Spinal Cord Fellowship is committed to raising awareness and funds to support more research. 100% of funds raised by the Fellowship are provided to Step Ahead Australia, a leading Australian organization on a mission to improve the quality of life for patients and find a cure for spinal cord injury.  

Traumatic spinal cord injury results in the loss of neurons, support cells and the failure of severe nerve fibres to regenerate across sites of injury and re- establish neural circuits.  

Quadriplegia or Tetraplegia is the partial or complete paralysis of the upper and lower portion of the body, including legs, trunk arms and hands. Quadriplegia is a neck injury. Paraplegia is the partial or complete paralysis of the lower portion of the body, including the legs and, in many cases, some or all the trunk. Paraplegia is a back injury. 

By supporting the most innovative scientists and clinicians in Australia and throughout the world, StepAhead Australia is focused on the development of breakthrough nervous system repair technologies that can have a major impact on the quality of life for people suffering with these chronic disorders. 

To date the Lions Spinal Cord Fellowship has raised in excess of $2.3 million for StepAhead Australia.  

For more information on The Lions Spinal Cord Fellowship visit https://lascf.org.au 

For more information on StepAhead Australia visit http://www.stepahead.org.au 

Lions clubs help raise $4 million for childhood cancer research

A four-year partnership between the Australian Lions Childhood Cancer Research Foundation (ALCCRF) and the Garvan Institute has meant that children with high-risk cancers have received more tailored therapies based on the DNA sequencing of their individual tumors.  

The Lions Kids Cancer Genome Project joined the Zero Childhood Cancer Project in 2016, but the ability to sequence the cancer genome of hundreds of children required significant investment.  

The need was met by the commitment and passion of the Lions Club International Foundation, the Australian Lions Childhood Cancer Research Foundation and Lions Clubs around Australia – raising $4 million in total.  

Lions set out with an ambitious goal of sequencing the genome of tumour samples from 400 children and was spearheaded by Prof Dziadek and Prof David Thomas, Head of the Genomic Cancer Medicine Lab at the Garvan Institute and Director of The Kinghorn Cancer Centre. 

Through global and local fundraising, including a grass-roots drive that appealed to Australians to collect spare change to support the pioneering cancer research, Lions raised a significant $4 million for the Lions Kids Cancer Genome Project. This crucial investment made it possible to sequence the 400 tumour samples, completing a major milestone in 2020. 

Dr Joe Collins, Chairman of the Lions Kids Cancer Genome Project, says: “We are thrilled to have invested in this visionary project. To see it make such a difference for kids that have no options left is truly remarkable. The legacy that this project has left is that we’ve not only saved a number of children, we’ve helped establish a database that is going to help kids all over the world. Without Lion’s ’funding, this project may not have happened.” 

Taree Lions donate new water tanks to locals affected by bushfires

The mid North Coast of NSW was devastated by the Summer bushfires of 2019/2020.  

Lions in affected bushfire areas immediately rolled up their sleeves and took action.  From cooking thousands of meals for emergency services workers and evacuation centres to checking on residents and providing urgent support to those in need, Lions on the ground did whatever they could to support those in need in their communities.   

But in times of crises it’s not only the clubs and volunteers in affected areas providing support. When the summer bushfires hit, Lions were out in full force right across the country shaking donation buckets and hosting sausage sizzles and fundraisers for the National Appeal. With Australia’s help, over $4 million was raised for the Australian Lions Foundation National Bushfire Appeal.  

Lions in Australia were also supported by the strength of the International Lions organisation with over US$340,000 in financial support from the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) which mobilises quickly to support Lions Clubs in major disasters all over the world.  

The funding is helping communities recover. Taree Lions Club for example started purchasing, installing and filling water tanks for people who had lost their water sources in the bushfires. 

Lions volunteers pay annual membership fees to cover admin costs which means every dollar donated goes directly to the cause and through Lions’ large network of clubs we are able to quickly identify those who require assistance and find the best and most efficient ways of supporting those people and communities.

Need for Feed – Lions delivering for farmers in need

Need for Feed was established in 2006 in response to what was at that time the driest period on record. At that time, reportedly three farmers per week around Australia were taking their own lives and many others walking off the land, unable to cope with circumstances beyond their control.  

Lions member Graham Cockerell, had lost his own father years before to farm related suicide, and didn’t want see other farmers and their families go through the same heartbreak.  

The point is, says Graham, “My father wasn’t a bad farmer, in fact quite the opposite; He found himself in circumstances beyond his control where he could see no other way out”.   

Graham had given away one small truckload of his own hay to a group of farmers burnt out in East Gippsland. When he saw the scale of the destruction and spoke to those affected, he returned home determined to do something about it. He talked to his Lions Club, got them on board and rounded up a group of mates to get involved with the fundraising and finding more hay.  

The Need for Feed team came to the rescue during the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 and have continued on each year through fires, floods and droughts to provide fodder and raising funds to keep the trucks rolling.  

​The response to the latest drought has seen well over 1300 truckloads of fodder worth around 12 million dollars delivered to farmers totally free of charge into all of the eastern states including Tasmania and South Australia, along with more than 700 truckloads with a value of at least $6.5 million for those affected by last summer’s horrific fires. Over 90 truckloads have now been delivered to support those impacted by the current floods with more deliveries planned. 

These deliveries are usually accompanied by household hampers, personal care packs, Lions teddies and toys for the kids, and food for our best mates. Every farm has at least one dog! 

Now in its 15th. Year, Need for Feed take great pride not only in being managed 100% by Lions volunteers but also last year being adopted as a national Project of Lions Australia.  

The core group of Lions members on our committee are involved on pretty much a daily basis with over 200 regular volunteers.

Lions Disaster Relief Australia Project – supporting veterans and rebuilding communities

Lions volunteers are committed to doing what they can to help others and make a difference in the community and the organisation has a proud history of mobilising to help communities in times of crisis.  

Lions are always amongst the first to help and are still there when the smoke clears. We saw this with the recent bushfires. Volunteers on the ground were cooking meals for the fire fighters and providing food and essential items to affected residents whilst Lions clubs right across Australia immediately starting-shaking buckets and holding fundraisers for the national appeal.   

Lions Australia is proud to be partnering with Disaster Relief Australia, an organisation which unites the skills and experience of military veterans to rapidly deploy disaster relief teams in Australia and around the world.   

Disaster Relief Australia CEO Geoffrey Evans says the partnership will benefit both veterans, Lions clubs and the wider community. 

“Through Disaster Relief Australia, military veterans, emergency responders and motivated civilians can volunteer their time to assist with emergency and disaster relief operations. This not only helps communities devastated by disasters, but it also helps Australian veterans find purpose through community service,” he said.  

“Everyday Lions Clubs across Australia change lives and make the community a better place to live. Partnering with Lions Australia will provide veterans the opportunity to get involved in the incredible projects and initiatives lead by Lions clubs. It will also provide Lions clubs with skilled and experienced volunteers that can help continue and grow the wonderful work they are doing in the community,” Geoffrey added.  

Lions volunteers pay membership fees to cover admin costs which means 100% of funds donated to Lions club goes directly towards the cause.   

For more information on Disaster Relief Australia visit https://disasterreliefaus.org/ 

Jesmond Lions committed to local environmental conservation

The Jesmond Lions Club in Newcastle, NSW has a proud history in environmental conservation.

In particular, the Club has completed various projects at the Hunter Wetlands. Some of the projects include constructing barbecue shelters, boardwalks, bird hides and seating and planting many hundreds of trees and shrubs.

A major Club project was the construction of a fully-accessible sensory trail and boardwalk in 1994, something that other Lions club in the area were eager to get involved with. The sensory trail was a gift from Lions to the City of Newcastle to celebrate its bicentenary in 1997. 

Other Lions Clubs in the District worked together to raise funds for the construction, and a state government grant was also awarded, bringing the total money raised to approximately $45,000.

The sensory trail features contrasting coloured pathways, vegetation, bridges, boardwalks, windmills, an ornamental creek and a picnic shelter. The plants were chosen for their colour, shape, sound in the wind and feel so that vision impaired visitors could enjoy the experience.

When able to, the club sponsors international exchange students to visit Australia through the Lions Youth Exchange Program. These visiting students have also been encouraged to get involved in projects throughout the wetlands, such as building new breeding huts for the speckled ducks, an endangered species. 

The Club holds its regular meetings within the Wetlands’ beautiful surroundings and helps to run barbecues and other activities during the school holidays.

Another project dear to the heart of the Club’s members is tree planting at Pambalong Nature Reserve near Minmi, where they have planted over 5000 trees since 2012.

 

 

 

Clare Lions Club become recycling champions

South Australia’s wine town of Clare boasts less than 4000 people yet in a few years it has become a household waste recycling capital of Australia – thanks largely to the inspiring leadership of one Lions member – Pat Williams. 

Pat Williams shies away from titles like enviro warrior, yet in little more than a year he and his band of Green Team Lions have dramatically changed the waste disposal habits of many in Clare, 136k north of Adelaide. 

A campaign that began with a couple of pop-up information booths in Clare’s main street now has much of the town involved in a program recycling everything from soft plastics and ink cartridges to household batteries and old mobile phones. 

Not one to hold back, thanks to Pat’s passionate eco spruiking to individuals, businesses and local organisations there has been a giant turn-around in Clare’s thoughts, or lack of them, on recycling.  

Today there are club notices around town guiding locals to 15 drop-off points where items can be left for recycling, and more than 40 locals have signed to support the program. The local council is so impressed it volunteered to reprint and deliver the club’s brochure outlining the program along with rates notices to residents – at no charge.  

As the Club’s Green Team coordinator, Pat, a retired house builder and business manager, is delighted at Clare’s ready acceptance of the program after just a year’s operation – though he had no doubts it would be a winner. 

Pat already had a huge eco reputation in Clare following his Green Team’s involvement since 2014 in a project to re-establish, plant up and promote the local Gleeson Wetlands, now a mecca for naturalists, walkers and bird watchers. 

Note: This story has been adapted from a feature story by Lions magazine editor Tony Fawcett.  

Riverside Lions build mobile amenities unit for homeless in Launceston

Members of the Riverside Lions Club in Launceston Tasmania have built a mobile amenities unit providing homeless people access to warm showers and a place to wash and dry clothes.

The club saw the need for all community members to have access to a safe space to shower and wash their clothes, so set to work building the unit from the ground up in the club’s own work shed.

The club received a grant from the Tasmanian Community Fund and was also supported by a number of local businesses, particularly Samios Plumbing Supplies.

Construction of the unit totaled $25,000 and the club was pleased to have Tasmanian Premier The Hon Peter Gutwein attend the opening.

The unit is located at the Shekiniah House centre for the homeless in central Launceston and is managed and maintained by a team of volunteers.