What we do
We promote bone marrow/stem cell donation
The TLR Foundation (TLR) is on a mission to encourage more people to become bone marrow/stem cell donors. Our aim is to educate Australians about the vital role bone marrow plays in every person and how easy it is to potentially save someone else’s life.
Many people have heard of bone marrow but have no real idea of what it is or what it does, or what happens when it becomes unhealthy. We want people to know that bone marrow has one job to do – to produce stem cells. Blood stem cells develop into every single type of blood cell in your body.
Sadly over 12,000 people each year are diagnosed with a blood cancers and other diseases that stop the health production of stem cells which then affects healthy blood production.
In many cases, patients are successfully treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy but for others, their only chance of survival is to have their bone marrow/stem cells replaced by a donor who has the same tissue type, a match. There is only a 30% chance that this donor will be a family member. The other 70% rely on the generosity of a complete stranger, and TLR wants to help increase the chances of finding that match.
TLR wants to break the myth that donating bone marrow or stem cells is a painful process – because it’s not. It will however take a few hours of your time and as a result, you could potentially become a lifesaver.
At TLR our focus is on finding donors aged 30 and under as science has proven the younger donors give provide the patient with the best chance of a full recovery.
Trace Richey Scholarship
At the TLR Foundation (TLR) our focus isn’t only on the patients with blood cancers and other diseases treatable with a bone marrow/stem cell transplant, it’s also on the nurses who care for them.
After seeing firsthand the dedication and care given to patients like Trace going through this most confronting of treatments, we want to show our love and gratitude by helping nurses advance their careers in Haematology Oncology.
TLR is currently establishing its inaugural Trace Richey Scholarship which will fund a Master in Cancer and Haematology Nursing degree at the University of Sydney for one full-time or two part-time nurses each year…forever.
The course is designed for registered nurses who want to further their education and develop a comprehensive knowledge of the best prevention, diagnosis and management of these diseases and treatment trends, and explore the impact of these illnesses on the patient, the family and the community around them.
With the number of bone marrow/stem cell transplants increasing each year, the number of nurses specialising in the care of these patients needs to increase and TLR aim is to help as many of these nurses as we can.
Nurses, we love you!
Graft vs Host Disease
There are so many charities in Australia funding research into cancer and doing a great job, but our focus is not on cancer. The TLR Foundation is focusing on supporting research specifically into GvHD – Graft vs Host Disease, a common and sometimes life-threatening complication of an allogeneic transplant. This is the disease which took Trace from us.
GvHD is where the donated bone marrow/stem cells start producing new blood cells, but the new white blood cells which usually fight infection (T-cells) view the patient’s body as foreign and attacks the patient’s tissues. The chances of being affected by GvHD are decreased by finding a donor with a better matched tissue type, and this is why this is so important to us at TLR.
Over 50% of people having an allogeneic transplant will develop some form of GvHD but in many cases this can be very mild. In fact mild GvHD can sometimes be a good thing as the new donor T-cells can also attack any remaining cancer cells. GvHD is managed with medication but for some, GvHD can stay with a person for years or even decades after transplant, changing a person’s quality of life and putting financial pressure on the healthcare system.
TLR is committed to support research into the cause, prevention, treatment and cure of GvHD so that no person has to go through what Trace went through. The research has the potential to improve the transplant outcomes in a very real and practical way for patients and their carers.