In celebration of NAIDOC week, local Indigenous elder and artist Byron Broome officially unveiled GenesisCare’s new radiation therapy treatment machine, Mee-Bar Miggi, with a naming ceremony.
Since launching the machine GenesisCare has been able to treat up to 80 patients a day with minimal wait lists, providing local cancer patients with rapid access to the latest treatments and techniques.
The new machine is named Mee-Bar Miggi, which represents the spirit of the salt-water turtle. This ties in with the name of GenesisCare’s first machine, Mon Repos, which is named after the breeding area of the local turtles in Bundaberg.
To celebrate Bundaberg’s rich Indigenous culture, GenesisCare commissioned Indigenous artist Byron Broome and his daughter Nikkiya, to create paintings, titled Burral the Creator, for the patient wait area at GenesisCare.
Byron said the collection of four paintings tell the story from the beginning, starting with the sun and the moon, through to creation, and healing which was fitting for the GenesisCare centre, before finishing with the painting of Mee-Bar, which represents a saltwater turtle's life cycle.
Byron said he felt very honoured to be asked to create an artwork that displayed his Bunda people’s culture and history.
“Our Mee-Bar, a saltwater turtle that travels all over the world, but there is only one place he comes back to, and the mother Mee-Bar always comes back home to Bundaberg,” Byron said.
“The reason for us Bunda people, when we see that Mee-Bar come back in, it’s the recycle and the reunion of our land.
“The cycle continues all the way back to Bundaberg, and we come back to our main sign back in the middle (of the fourth painting), and GenesisCare is doing exactly the same thing, that we have been doing way back, and healing our people.”
Bundaberg’s GenesisCare centre opened in 2018 as part of a public-private partnership with Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service to increase access to world-class cancer care for both public and private patients in the region.
GenesisCare Bundaberg unit leader Chris David said they began treating patients with the new machine earlier in the year, and it had already made such a significant difference in terms of wait lists.
“When a patient receives a cancer diagnosis the last thing they want is to have to potentially wait weeks for treatment and it can definitely amplify feelings of anxiety and concern,” he said.
“Our second treatment machine will allow us to expand our stereotactic program to include more tumour streams, meaning patients no longer need to travel to Brisbane or another metropolitan area to access the latest treatments and techniques.”
GenesisCare Bundaberg centre leader Lyn Tate said the new treatment machine, the Elekta Versa HD linear accelerator, had significantly increased the centre's capacity to treat local cancer patients using stereotactic body radiation therapy (SABR); a new high-powered treatment that targets tumours in fewer high dose treatments than traditional therapy.
“Some of the ways we celebrate Indigenous culture here at GenesisCare is through our beautiful artwork and also by naming both our treatment machines after local Indigenous areas of significance,” Lyn said.
“Many of our patients comment on the artwork and the joy it brings them during what is otherwise a very difficult period in their lives.
“NAIDOC Week is an important reminder for us all to live our values of cultural inclusivity and diversity in everything that we do at GenesisCare and also in our private lives.
“The Bundaberg Region and surrounds has a rich Indigenous culture and here at GenesisCare we have always endeavoured to partner with the local Indigenous community to develop culturally inclusive care for our patients.”