Haemophilia Foundation Queensland Reception
Haemophilia Foundation Queensland President, Ms Shannon Gracey; distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to any First Nations people here this evening.
As Patron of Haemophilia Foundation Queensland, I am delighted to welcome you here for this reception to mark the beginning of Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month.
This month every year, as well as every April on World Haemophilia Day, I am reminded that, when I was born, the only treatment available for patients living with haemophilia was whole blood and fresh plasma.
The discovery that concentrated Factor VIII was an effective treatment was, literally, life-changing for haemophiliacs.
Despite that, the World Federation of Haemophilia estimates that over 65 per cent of people living with haemophilia worldwide have still not yet been identified and diagnosed.
That is a sobering statistic but, happily, the percentage of people with undiagnosed haemophilia, von Willebrand disease or other inherited bleeding disorders in Australia is relatively low.
This is largely thanks to the efforts of the Haemophilia Foundation, both nationally and here in Queensland, to raise public awareness of these disorders and dispel the many myths that have arisen since cases of abnormal bleeding were first recorded more than two thousand years ago.
The Foundation’s excellent website, its social media presence, wide range of publications and biennial conference are all part of that community education focus.
And we have the Light it up Red initiative, when cities around Australia light prominent landmarks in red to mark World Haemophilia Day in April, our own Government House among them!
That higher public profile has been critical to raising the necessary funds to support treatment centres, research into the disorders themselves, and the development of new and emerging treatments such as gene therapy.
On behalf of Queenslanders, I congratulate the Foundation on its promotional and fundraising efforts.
It is a vital contribution that has involved a focused, combined effort by the board, staff, members, and countless volunteers. Together, they embody the theme for Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month this year: Working Together.
As Patron of the Haemophilia Foundation Queensland, I thank everyone concerned for their dedicated advocacy on behalf of those living with bleeding disorders and look forward to presenting certificates to this year’s two exceptional awardees.