Local Hero celebrates health progress

Lymphoedema advocate and 2022 SA Local Hero Monique Bareham visited Mount Gambier for an afternoon tea with local groups at the Commercial Hotel.

Groups included the Mount Gambier Breast Cancer Awareness Group, the Mount Gambier Cancer Support Group and the Lymphoedema Coffee, Cake and Chit-Chat Group.

Lymphoedema is a chronic condition that causes swelling due to issues with the lymphatic system and treatment can include compression garments, exercises and massage.

Ms Bareham developed severe early-stage lymphoedema at age 30 due to her life-saving cancer treatment.

She is a passionate advocate who has fought hard to improve lymphoedema services and treatments, including in Mount Gambier.

Ms Bareham said since 2017, the Mount Gambier Lymphoedema Clinic was now open once a week at the Mount Gambier Hospital and local lymphoedema therapist Shelley Jevtic had been trained.

A SOZO machine was also purchased for Ms Jevtic’s clinic and a compression garment subsidy scheme is now in place in South Australia.

“While I had this opportunity to come to this part of the Limestone Coast, obviously one of the first things I wanted to do was see if we could get together to really celebrate what has actually happened since 2017,” Ms Bareham said.

“Now people with lymphoedema in Mount Gambier can access a free clinic for their lymphoedema management and get free garments for their lymphoedema.

“It’s been a really wonderful journey with this group, but we have still got a way to go,”

Ms Bareham has also connected with Member for Barker Tony Pasin, who attended the event, to discuss lymphoedema services across the state and the recognition of lymphoedema at a federal level.

“My message is that everybody with lymphoedema across the country should have the opportunity to have well-managed lymphoedema as I do and have a good quality of life,” she said.

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