There is no better time than an anniversary to look back and reflect on how far we have come.
This year LiverWELL is proud to celebrate its 30th anniversary. From its earliest origins as the Hepatitis C Support Group in 1992 with a small group of staff, we have evolved through various locations and incarnations as the Hepatitis C Foundation of Victoria, Hepatitis C Council of Victoria, Hepatitis C Victoria, Hepatitis Victoria, to our current form of LiverWELL.
These changes have reflected shifts of public perceptions around hepatitis over the 30 years. Our organisation began with a focus on supporting those with hepatitis C, broadened its remit to encompass hepatitis C and B, and now encompasses all liver health conditions. However our vision hasn’t changed; it has always been around raising awareness, promoting understanding, and supporting those with liver conditions.
Over this time, our programs and services have been many and varied. We have expanded our community participation for lived experience speakers and Hep Heroes, recognising those in the community who raise awareness, give so much of their time and provide valuable first-hand perspectives of liver disease.
One highlight was the inclusion of new direct-acting antiviral treatment for hepatitis C on the PBS in 2016, making a cure that had previously been out of reach, available to thousands of people. LiverWELL has been proud to play a part in moving government strategy forward in expanding funding for hepatitis and blood-borne virus testing and treatment.
We have enjoyed collaborations and built valued relationships with a wide range of partners – prisons, schools, community health centres, Aboriginal organisations, partner organisations, hospitals, health care settings, local councils and multicultural organisations. Many staff and volunteers over the years have worked hard to raise awareness, provide training and education, support community events, and conduct health campaigns, all with the aim of connecting with those at risk, and encouraging testing and treatment.
“I’d like to congratulate LiverWELL and its preceeding organisations on 30 wonderful years”, said Maria Marshall, President of the LiverWELL Board. “As we look back over those years, it really is a story of growth and transformation. We have been fortunate to have had some very passionate staff and volunteers who have embraced our vision, and CEOs and Board members who have guided the organisation in new strategic directions”, said Maria. “We can thank these people for the organisation we are today and what we are able to achieve.”
“We are very positive about the future of LiverWELL”, said CEO Russell Shewan. “Although I have been CEO for only a short time, the legacy of our achievements is very apparent. We are proud of that history, and it positions us well for new developments. Looking forward, we are preparing our next strategic plan and imagining what can be achieved in the future, in viral hepatitis and liver health”, said Russell.
Stay tuned – more information is to come on LiverWELL’s history and how we will be celebrating the 30th anniversary this year. Be sure to follow us on social media and the website!
If you have a connection or story about LiverWELL – or our prior organisations – that you’d like to share, please get in touch.