60 Years message from Jim L’Estrange, plus…

Jim L'Estrange, CEO Cancer Council NSW

In 2015, Cancer Council NSW celebrated 60 years since we first began. We have achieved so much over this time and everyone involved in our work should be proud of the influence Cancer Council NSW has. This would not have been possible without the commitment and contribution of our volunteers.

I would just like to share with you where we’ve come from and highlight some of our successes.

We were first established in 1955 and began our work with just seven members, who were committed to discovering what causes cancer. They set out to begin funding research, with an initial investment of £24,500. Today, we commit over $14 million to funding cancer research each year.

In 1976, we established our first regional office in Newcastle. Today, we have a network of 17 offices across NSW. Our volunteers contribute to every aspect of our regional program delivery, working in our offices, transporting patients, providing in-home support and assisting people affected by cancer in one of our 23 volunteer information services in hospitals and treatment centres.

In 1984, we first called on community members to volunteer with us. Today, more than 32,500 volunteers and community supporters work across every area of the organisation – from operational areas such as HR, Finance and IT to mission delivery areas, such as program development, program delivery and community engagement. Since the early 1980s, our Slip Slop Slap Seek and Slide campaigns, our SunSmart programs and other sun protection campaigns have helped educate people about skin cancer prevention. 86 per cent of childcare services and 76 per cent of primary schools now participate in our SunSmart Program.

In 1986, we held our first Daffodil Day. Today, it is the largest national fundraising event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Last year, 4,400 volunteers took part at over 600 locations across NSW, raising $3 million to fund our work.

Together with our CanAct Community, we called on the Government to legislate for public areas to be smoke-free and the NSW Government banned smoking in children’s playgrounds, sporting fields, covered bus shelters and taxi ranks, with a ban in outdoor dining areas due to come into effect in 2015. Together with the CanAct Community, we called for a ban on solariums and they were banned in 2014. And as a result of our Saving Life 2015 campaign, the NSW Government announced their commitment to the removal of chemotherapy co-payments.

During the last 60 years we have seen great success, and we have created great change. We are now the only cancer charity that works across the whole cancer journey, conducting and funding world-class research, working to prevent cancer, empowering and supporting people affected by cancer, and ensuring that governments take action to reduce cancer risk.

We have only been able achieve all of this by working with our community. As our vision states, ‘Together we will beat cancer’.

Thank you for all your support and I would like to invite you to join us as we celebrate our 60th birthday.


Jim’s messages to volunteers in Volunteer Voice from 2016


October 2016

This will be my last message in Volunteer Voice as I step down as CEO of Cancer Council NSW.

Over the last three years, I have had the privilege of meeting so many of you and I have always been inspired by your energy and enthusiasm. You dedicate your time selflessly to help us achieve our vision that together we will beat cancer.

And together we have achieved some amazing things.

We have contributed almost $15 million every year into funding and conducting world-class research.

We have provided people with the information and support they need to cope better with cancer.

We have worked to prevent cancer in the NSW community by encouraging people to lead healthy, cancer-smart lifestyles – because we know that preventing cancer is one of the most effective ways of beating cancer.

Our new “1 in 3 Cancers” Prevention Campaign looks at all the ways in which people can reduce their cancer risk through healthier lifestyle choices – it is great for Cancer Council NSW to be taking the lead in this important area. I encourage you all to visit the website to check out the campaign and take the Cancer Risk Quiz.

Your commitment, passion and knowledge has been pivotal in all these things and many more.

I know Jeff Mitchell, who is already a Board member and will be the new CEO, will continue to work with you and our staff to keep doing amazing work.

I hope your time with Cancer Council NSW continues to be positive, enjoyable and rewarding and I sincerely thank you for all your support.

September 2016

Following my announcement in July that I would be leaving Cancer Council NSW, the Board has conducted an extensive recruitment process, and announced today that Jeff Mitchell will be taking over as the new CEO.

Jeff brings to the role valuable familiarity and knowledge of Cancer Council NSW, having been a member of the Board of Cancer Council NSW since April 2015, where he has chaired the Audit and Risk, Investment and IT Committees. He is now looking forward to playing a more hands on role in the organisation’s future.
Mark Phillips, Chair of the Board, commented:

“We are delighted to have a person of Jeff’s calibre as our new CEO. Jeff is a great leader and brings extensive commercial experience to the role, as well as an obvious passion and empathy for the work and ambitions of Cancer Council.”

“Whilst the Board is sorry to see Jim leaving us, we feel that the organisation will be in safe hands with the baton being passed to Jeff. We thank Jim for his tireless efforts over the past three years. He has made a major contribution in furthering the role of Cancer Council, both in NSW and nationally, in mobilising the community to reduce the impact of cancer.”

Jeff is very excited at this opportunity:

“I have seen a lot of great work and momentum during my time on the Board of Cancer Council NSW, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to play a more hands on role in the organisation’s future.”

The coming weeks will be a transition phase to ensure Jeff is ready to hit the ground running when he officially starts in the role on Monday 24 October.

On a personal note, I have deeply appreciated your energy, enthusiasm, leadership and support. It has been a privilege to have been CEO of Cancer Council NSW for the past three years.

August 2016 and Daffodil Day

On Friday 26 August Daffodil Day marks 30 years in Australia. We have achieved many milestones over the past 30 years with the generous support of our volunteers.

Volunteers like Jennie Smith who first volunteered at a stall in 1987 and hasn’t missed a Daffodil Day since.

“I started out as a volunteer at a stall in Bankstown, but have now been a team leader in Chullora for many years. 2016 is my 29th Daffodil Day – so I’ve been involved almost from the very beginning! I just love doing it. Year after year, the same people come back to our small stall to support us. Quite a few people come to the stall to tell us their personal cancer stories – it’s both an immensely rewarding and emotional day.

“I’ve seen how there have been so many incredible discoveries over the past 30 years, so I know that any stall, no matter the size, will make a difference. Hearing people’s stories and knowing that the funds we raise will make a difference fills my heart with love. I absolutely love coming back each year.”

Jennie Smith, palliative care nurse.

On behalf of Cancer Council NSW, I’d like to thank volunteers like Jennie and many others like her who make Daffodil Day so memorable and successful. It is your passion and dedication that allows us to continue our work and achieve our mission of beating cancer.

Daffodil Day is also a great opportunity for us to get out into the community and I really recommend all volunteers to participate in this event. There are so many ways to get involved in Daffodil Day. Show your support for someone you know (or even don’t know) who has been affected by cancer by wearing a daffodil pin, signing up to volunteer, making a donation or purchasing merchandise.

For more information on Daffodil Day and to get involved click here.

I hope you will join me and the rest of Cancer Council NSW this Daffodil Day – a day where we proudly show the daffodil, and the hope that it represents, across the whole NSW community.

July 2016

Daffodil Day, Friday 26 August, is fast approaching and this year we proudly celebrate 30 years.

As you know, Daffodil Day is one of Australia’s best known events and has raised over $133 million nationally for life-saving cancer research, support services and prevention programs, which is a fantastic achievement. But more than this, Daffodil Day is a special day where we proudly show the daffodil, and the hope that it represents, across the whole NSW community.

All of this is possible only thanks to people like you – we couldn’t do it without the support of thousands of volunteers on the day and a community that gives so generously.

If you’re a long-term supporter of Daffodil Day, thank you for your dedication, passion and contribution over the years and I hope you’ll join us again this year.

If you’ve never participated before, I really encourage you to get involved. Daffodil Day is a great opportunity for us interact face-to-face with the community and thank them for supporting the work of Cancer Council NSW.  

For more information about Daffodil Day 2016 and to get involved, click here.

June 2016

Volunteers are so important to Cancer Council NSW and the work that we do.

Your support and commitment, your passion and knowledge, helps us carry out our day-to-day work and our long-term initiatives

I want to take every opportunity to thank you for your efforts and make sure that your time at Cancer Council NSW is positive, enjoyable and rewarding, which is why I’m really proud to introduce our new volunteer benefits package

This benefits package provides a range of benefits available to registered volunteers, wherever you’re based or whatever your role is. Click here to read more about the benefits on offer and how to access them.

It’s a pleasure to be able to provide a variety of benefits, which I hope will be of use to you.

We look forward to continuing to work in an open and impactful partnership with you, so thank you once again for your continuing support.

May 2016

Over the past few years, I have been lucky to meet many of you and I have spoken at quite a few events you have attended. At each of these events I talk about the fantastic contribution and support we have every year from our volunteers.

I always talk about the energy and enthusiasm you bring, which inspires us to do our best and make sure our work is relevant to the community.

In this National Volunteer Week it is another chance to say thank you for everything you do and celebrate all the wonderful people who are helping us achieve our vision that together we will beat cancer.

Trish Vermuyten, Margie Rock, Jennifer Lock, Wendy Saville and Verity Currey are five volunteers who will be sharing their stories with you throughout National Volunteer Week. Keep your eye out on Cancer Council NSW’s facebook page and Cancer Council NSW blog for their stories.

April 2016

For 23 years, many of you as volunteers have helped raise awareness and valuable dollars for Cancer Council NSW by being Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea hosts.

 This year’s Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea campaign, with the theme of “Gather, Share, Give”, was officially launched last week. We were lucky to have Catherine Guinta and Nancy Sherry, two of our most longstanding hosts and highest fundraisers, speak at the launch and share their experiences.

If you’re one of our regular hosts, thank you for your continuing support. If you’ve not hosted a tea before, I really encourage you to get involved – gather your friends, family or workmates, share a cuppa and tasty treats, and give support to those affected by cancer.

Visit our website for more information, tips and resources to help you get organised.

March 2016

We’ve kicked off our 2016 event season and I want to highlight two of our events.

The Relay For Life Autumn season started last weekend. It’s one of Cancer Council NSW’s key community events, bringing together so many different people for a common cause. Relay For Life has always been a really local community event and I want to thank all of you who either attended or supported a Relay in the past. If you’re keen to volunteer, email the Relay For Life team and find out how you can get involved.

The March Charge began today. We’re really excited to include cycling and swimming this year and have some great ambassadors on board. Watch videos of our ambassadors, including Olympic medallist Alicia Coutts, on The March Charge website.

So if you’re up for the challenge to run, ride or swim all the kilometres you can this March, register here or get behind this campaign and help promote The March Charge.

Thank you for your ongoing support of Cancer Council NSW.

Welcome to 2016

I hope you are all having a great start to 2016.

2015 was a great year, and I want to thank you once again for your support.

We would not be able to do what we do without your help, which is why we took the opportunity at the end of last year to personally call and thank many of our volunteers, donors and numerous others who supported us over the year.

2016 is set to be an even better year for Cancer Council NSW.

We have a new Chair of the Cancer Council NSW Board, Mark Phillips, who was appointed in December 2015.

Mark has been a Board member since 2013 and takes over from Bruce Hodgkinson.

We’re always looking for ways to improve your volunteering experience at Cancer Council NSW, and this year we will be reviewing volunteer benefits and recognition and rolling out new initiatives by June 2016.

We will continue working collaboratively and efficiently across the organisation, to make best use of our time, skill base and resources.

I’m excited about the year ahead and look forward to working with you all.

Jim L’Estrange


Highlights from 2015.

5 December 2015 marked International Volunteer Day.

We currently have over 2,300 regular volunteers and over 27,000 one-off volunteers and I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank every single one of you. At Cancer Council NSW, our mission is to work with and for the community to beat cancer, and volunteers help make this happen.

Volunteers are involved in every aspect of our work and give so much more than just their time. They provide admin and technical support at our offices; help organise and host many of our community events; work with us to rollout programs and services within local communities; and act as our on-the-ground advocates. Without their passion, knowledge and insight, we would not be able to work as efficiently or as broadly as we do.

Volunteers motivate us to work collaboratively and help us stay connected to the community. They inspire us to do our best work so that we can make a positive difference to the people and families affected by cancer.

Thank you once again for being a part of Cancer Council NSW and for everything that you do.

Jim L’Estrange

Watch Jim’s message to volunteers here.

From a little earlier in what was a very big year for Cancer Council NSW…

We’ve had a couple of busy and exciting months at Cancer Council NSW, with many events, activities and new initiatives taking place.

Firstly, thank you to everyone involved in Pink Ribbon Day and Seven Bridges Walk. Both events rely on volunteer support and community involvement to raise funds for our mission, so thank you for your help. 

Supporting people affected by cancer is one of Cancer Council NSW’s main priorities, which is why I’m really excited to let you know about our new partnership with AccorHotels.

This new service provides reduced-rate hotel rooms for cancer patients, carers and immediate family in NSW who need to travel to greater Sydney for treatment.

Having accessible accommodation close to treatment will mean that patients and their carers don’t have to worry about traveling and logistics but can focus on their treatment and recovery instead. Read more about this new accommodation service and its benefits.

Just in time for summer, the Cancer Council retail stores at Bondi Junction and Chatswood have been refurbished with a modern look, and there is a new collection of accessories and sun protection products out now. You’ll hear more about this in my next update.

There is a lot of great work happening at the moment and a lot more planned for the coming months. We couldn’t do any of it without your support though, so thank you once again.