Latest News

Arrow celebrates 30 years

Bone marrow and stem cell treatment outcomes have improved significantly since Arrow held its first meeting in February 1987. Back then, it was unimaginable that transplants would one day be used to treat Australians suffering from autoimmune disorders, anaemia and other non-malignant disorders.

Arrow is proud to have contributed to the medical research advances that helped to save the lives of thousands of Australians over the past 30 years, and we thank you for your support.

Hawkesbury Canoe Classic (HCC) reaches its 40th year milestone

John Kelly and HCC President Kent Heazlett
John Kelly and HCC President Kent Heazlett

"We took a long time to get there but getting there is really all we want to achieve!" said HCC President and veteran paddler Kent Heazlett after paddling his 23rd Classic in October.

The HCC presented Arrow with $150,000 at its 40th anniversary presentation dinner in November 2016, bringing the total raised to a huge $3.85 million since Kent paddled his first Classic.

Kent has since paddled with a number of Arrow directors, including Arrow Chairman Mark O'Hara, who paddled his 17th Classic last year in memory of his good friend, Greg Neate.

Kent Heazlett and Arrow Chairman Mark O'Hara
Kent Heazlett and Arrow Chairman Mark O'Hara

Matthew O'Hara and Chris Neate paddled for the first time in memory of Chris' father Greg, and completed the 111km overnight paddle in under 12 hours. They raised $4310 in support of medical research.

Arrow/HCC scholarship recipient Alexander Martyn
Arrow/HCC scholarship recipient
Alexander Martyn

"The HCC is not just a race, it's like family," said Arrow/HCC PhD scholarship recipient Alexander Martyn at the 40th annual Hawkesbury Canoe Classic (HCC) presentation dinner where Arrow was presented with $150,000 in support of Research Scientist, Dr Melinda Tursky; and two PhD students who are making excellent progress in their respective areas of bone marrow transplant research.

This year Arrow celebrates its 30th anniversary - a milestone that could not have been achieved without the generous ongoing support of the HCC.

Autologous stem cell transplantation for multiple sclerosis - investigating new management options

For adults, most stem cell transplants are used to treat blood cancers. Autologous stem cell transplantation is a promising strategy for the management of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who do not respond to conventional measures. However, this is still an investigational treatment and carries significant potential risks and side effects.

MS is an autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system, with no known cause or cure. It is usually diagnosed in patients aged between 20 and 40 years, and is most common in females. The symptoms and progress of MS are unpredictable and vary from person to person, but according to MS Australia 50-80% of people with MS cease to work full time within 10 years of diagnosis.

St Vincent's Hospital Sydney has been treating MS patients with autologous stem cell transplantation as part of a prospective phase II trial from 2010-2016. The results so far show that this treatment appeared safe and effective, with improved function as measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), and improved quality of life, especially for patients with relapse remitting type MS. The treatment is part of an on-going clinical trial.

New bone marrow transplant ward within reach

We are excited to report that construction work on the new bone marrow transplant ward at St Vincent's Hospital, will commence in June 2017, with estimated completion for the new 24 single bedroom facility in the first quarter of 2018.

St Vincent's Hospital's Facilities Department provided the following report:

The building of the new ward within an occupied health care facility with acute care wards above and below the site has required additional rigor and risk mitigation. One of the significant infrastructure challenges is the installation of state-of-the-art mechanical air conditioning and ventilation systems needed to achieve the required negative pressure clinical environment and circulation allowance. Adding to the complexity of the project, the building work will require concrete cutting and drilling into both the floor and ceiling concrete slabs.

The decommissioning of the current ward Xavier 9 South, which includes contingencies for ongoing service delivery and disruption to patient flow and alternative arrangements for BMT patients, has been an additional operational component of the planning process to date. This decommissioning planning has been occurring in parallel to the capital works and service planning. St Vincent's Health Network Sydney have applied the highest level of detail in its assessment and planning to ensure patient, visitor and staff safety is the utmost priority.

Project timeline:

  • Scheme design Clinical User Groups are scheduled to commence with the Principle Design Consultants in February 2017
  • Existing ward decommissioned May 2017
  • Engage building contractor May 2017
  • Construction works commence June 2017
  • Construction works are estimated to take twelve months to complete - first quarter of 2018 expected completion.

With the generous support of our donors, Arrow has now raised $270,000 of the $300,000 needed to fund a patient room in the new ward.

We thank our generous individual donors and:

The Dave 'Coke' Wards Memorial 2016

Last year's Dave 'Coke' Wards memorial raised $9184.15 towards the new ward. A huge thank you to organisers Wayne King and Chris Beeby, and Megan Balfour (pictured with her family) for the tremendous effort that she has put into the trivia night for the past 3 years.

Women wear wigs with confidence thanks to Tour de Cure.

Wig Library Logo

As well as funding 18 cancer breakthroughs over the past decade, Tour de Cure has continued its generous support of Arrow's Tracey Scone Wig Library, having donated $15,000 towards the much-loved service in December. We thank the Tour de Cure riders, support crew and volunteers for giving women the opportunity to take on cancer with confidence.

Danny Moore (pictured left) and Peter Hinds (pictured right)
Danny Moore (pictured left) and Peter Hinds (pictured right)

Research by Arrow/HCC PhD scholarship recipient, Michael Papadimitrious, published in Oncolmmunology

Michael Papadimitrious
Michael Papadimitrious

Arrow is pleased to announce that a research paper written by Michael Papadimitrious has been accepted for publication in the journal OncoImmunology.

The research paper is titled: 'CMRF-56+ blood dendritic cells loaded with mRNA induce effective antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses; 2016; Fromm, P.D. & Papadimitrious, M.S. et al.'


Shaun Rosen Scholarships for Nurses' Education and Training

Applications now open

Shaun Rosen, a former patient, experienced first-hand the difference that nursing staff make to the lives of patients throughout the transplant process, and established the Shaun Rosen Scholarships to help registered nurses further their education and training in the field of haematology oncology and bone marrow transplantation.

Shaun Rosen and Nina Candy
Shaun Rosen and Nina Candy

Applications are now open to nurses of St Vincent's Hospital Sydney to apply for scholarships to attend these upcoming conferences:

October 28 - 30
APBMT Congress

November 13 - 16
HAA Annual Scientific Meeting

February 22 - 26
CIBMTR BMT Tandem Meetings

March 26 - 29
EBMT Congress


3 Trace Richey Nursing Scholarship's awarded in 2016

Freya Seale
Freya Seale

The first Trace Richey Nursing Scholarships have been awarded to: Freya Seale and Grace Ridler, both transplant nurses from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital; and Thembekile Muhango, a registered nurse from the Cancer Care Centre unit of Nepean Hospital.

Freya, who is studying Haematology Nursing, expects that the course will enable her to offer an even greater level of patient care, and wrote in her application: "I expect to have a broadened knowledge of the care needed for haematology patients and a greater understanding of the pathophysiology of haematological disorders. This will enhance my clinical practice, ensure I deliver care in a holistic manner, and assist with future postgraduate study which I wish to undertake."

The Trace Richey Nursing Scholarship, established by Arrow Director, Neil Pennock, aims to further the education of nurses working in the field of Haemolology and Bone Marrow Transplantation in memory of Trace Richey.

Sylvia Hartog Nursing Award

In November 2015, Arrow awarded the Sylvia Hartog Nursing Award to Mr Nabin Karki and Ms Rebecca Paul. Both nurses attended the 42nd Annual Meeting of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation in Valencia, Spain.


Arrow/HCC PhD scholarship recipient Alexander Martyn to present his research findings at the Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen, Germany.

Alexander Martyn
Alexander Martyn

Alexander Martyn, from the School of Chemistry, University of Wollongong, is researching a promising new approach to the treatment of haematological malignancies and the prevention of disease reoccurrence, and has been invited to present a talk titled, "The design and synthesis of Thioridazine-VLA-4 antagonist hybrids as multi-action agents for treating haematological malignancies" at the Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen, Germany.

In simple terms, Alexander's project examines the mobilisation of malignant early haemopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) into the peripheral blood so these cells are no longer protected in the bone marrow from chemotherapy drugs.

We look forward to keeping you updated on the synthetic achievements that Alexander is accomplishing with support from Arrow and the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic.



Paul Seshold and the Life Cycling team
Paul Seshold and the Life Cycling team

Life Cycling brings new hope to transplant patients without a donor

Imagine being diagnosed with a blood cancer, and being told that a potentially lifesaving treatment is unavailable because a donor cannot be found. This is a reality for 20% of patients who do not have a sibling or unrelated bone marrow transplant donor.

After successfully recovering from a bone marrow transplant and overcoming two types of life threatening blood cancers, Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) and lymphoma, Paul Seshold rode the Col du Tourmalet in the Pyrenees, France, to raise funds for medical research. Over a year has passed since Paul and the Life Cycling team reached the summit, but the triumphs achieved continue through the funding of a new medical research project undertaken by Dr John Moore at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney.

Life Cycling has contributed the full $100,000 required for the project which aims to make bone marrow transplants available to patients that have not found a fully matched donor; and with this generous support the project has been expanded to include data from St Vincent's Hospital, Westmead Hospital, Royal North Shore Hospital, Melbourne Hospital and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.


Hawkesbury Canoe Classic (HCC) presents Arrow with $180,000!

Michael Papadimitrious
Michael Papadimitrious

The 38th Hawkesbury Canoe Classic (HCC), held in October 2014, raised a huge $180,000 to fund: Arrow/HCC Research Scientist, Thanh Vu, four Arrow/HCC PhD scholarship students and new medical research projects.

With the support of the HCC, Arrow/HCC PhD scholarship recipient, Michael Papadimitrious, will continue his research into the treatment of Multiple Myeloma using cellular therapy which uses cells from the patient's own immune system to treat the disease. Michael attended the HCC Association's presentation dinner along with Arrow board members and Paul Seshold, the inspirational guest speaker for the evening.

Mark O'Hara, Arrow's Chairman, said: "Arrow received a cheque for $180,000 at the HCC presentation dinner. This was a phenomenal result considering paddler numbers were down by at least 20% this year. The amount was far in excess of our expectations and will be invaluable in maintaining our current PhD scholarships as well as looking to fund additional research projects in 2015."

We are very grateful to the paddlers, HCC committee members and volunteers for achieving this amazing result in support of medical research.

The 39th annual Hawkesbury Canoe Classic will be held on the 24th October 2015.
To get involved or find out more visit:


Tour de Cure donates $15,000 to the Tracey Scone Wig Library

Tour de Cure - Riding to cure cancer

In December 2014, Tour de Cure generously donated $15,000 towards the purchase of new wigs, bringing the total raised in support of the Tracey Scone Wig Library $91,000 since 2011.

The ongoing funding provided by Tour de Cure has eased the devastation of hair loss by giving cancer patients complementary access to a wide selection of quality wigs in all styles and colours. Arrow can welcome patients to the Wig Library with the confidence that there is a wig to suit everyone.

Since 2007, Tour de Cure has raised more than $16 million dollars and funded 184 cancer research, support and prevention projects for men, women and children.

There are currently over 400 wigs on loan to patients suffering from hair loss associated with chemotherapy and with the Tour de Cure's continued support this year, Arrow will purchase around 120 new wigs for women and children facing the devastation of hair loss which is one of the most feared and emotionally distressing side effects of chemotherapy. With the average wig costing between $300-$800, this is a vital service for patients who can't afford their own wig.

In an unexpected turn of events, current Arrow staff discovered the story behind the inception of its Wig Library when Tracey Scone's mother, Robyn Cross, caught sight of a Tour de Cure poster in the window of her local pharmacy. Grateful for the Tour de Cure's generous support, Robyn put pen to paper to share Tracey's story, not knowing that her pharmacist also happens to be a director on the Tour de Cure board.

Read Tracey's story here.

To get involved as a rider, volunteer or guest rider, visit: