Greater Western Sydney volunteer news

Coles welcomes Cancer Council community speakers

coles workshop2Cancer Council NSW volunteers Kamal Hadid and Alex Forster at the Coles Regional Distribution Centre health and wellbeing workshop.

Cancer Council NSW Greater Western Sydney volunteers Kamal Hadid and Alex Forster rubbed shoulders with staff at the Coles Regional Distribution Centre in Smeaton Grange as part of a health and wellbeing day on 17 August.

Mrs Hadid and Mrs Forster volunteer as community speakers for Cancer Council NSW and used the opportunity to speak with Coles staff about cancer and the impact it has on lives across the state.

Coles staff also took the opportunity to share their own cancer stories and experiences with Mrs Hadid and Mrs Forster.

The health and wellbeing day focused on work and life balances, helping to educate Coles staff on the importance of staying healthy and active.  

Many Coles staff donate regularly to Cancer Council and Mrs Hadid and Mrs Forster reported they were delighted to see Cancer Council volunteers at the event.

 

Volunteers receive state award recognition

Volunteers(2)2Michael Tran and Denise Daynes after Michael was named the winner of the Young Volunteer of the Year Award.
Volunteers(1)2Nepean Cancer Council Information Services volunteers received the Volunteer Team of the Year Award.

Cancer Council NSW Greater Western Sydney volunteers were recognised at the regional finals of the NSW Volunteer Awards on 22 August.

Fairfield’s Michael Tran was named the Young Volunteer of the Year for the Sydney Outer Western and Blue Mountains region, while the Nepean Cancer Council Information Services team received the Volunteer Team of the Year Award.

Michael Tran, a year 12 student at Canley Vale High School, has volunteered at Fairfield Relay For Life for the past two years. In 2017, Michael joined the organising committee as schools coordinator, with a specific focus on engaging the school community and helping spread Cancer Council’s message to the youth of Fairfield.

“Since 2014, Michael has engaged his high school to commit to being a ‘Sun Smart School’, as well as subscribing to a year-round calendar of Cancer Council supported events such as ‘World’s Greatest Shave’, ‘Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea’ and many ad-hoc community driven fundraisers,” Cancer Council NSW Greater Western Sydney Community Relations Coordinator Denise Daynes said.

“In 2016, he was instrumental in getting six schools to attend Fairfield Relay For Life, with approximately 350 of the total attendees. The Fairfield Relay For Life was extremely youth-focused, and Michael not only ensured teams attended, but was productive in ensuring that everyone who attended enjoyed the event, playing a role in logistics and entertainment activities.”

The volunteer team at Nepean Cancer Council Information Services held off a strong field of 28 challengers to take home the Volunteer Team of the Year award. Since the service started seven years ago, Nepean CCIS volunteers have helped more than 12,000 people with cancer-related inquiries.

“Our volunteers provide people with a friendly and understanding space where they can talk and be in a ‘no white-coat’ environment,” Cancer Council NSW Greater Western Sydney Community Programs Coordinator Natalia Atcha said.

“They connect people with experts on our helpline, peer support programs, online communities and with up-to-date and relevant resources for a particular situation.

“But they are also there to hand out warm cups of tea and chat, to help give out lunch when the oncology nurses are too busy, and to see if any of the patients receiving chemotherapy would like another knitted beanie, gloves or a warm blanket.”

The state winners of the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards will be named later in the year.

 

Paul happy to lend a hand

Paul Rabaud2Paul Rabaud (right) has been a volunteer with Cancer Concil NSW for more than 10 years.

Paul Rabaud has been volunteering for Cancer Council NSW for more than 10 years. His main role with Cancer Council has been through Blacktown Relay For Life, where  Paul sits on the committee as site and logistics coordinator. Paul has also been involved with Western Sydney Cancer Action Network, campaigning for better palliative care services in NSW.

Paul was recently asked to provide advice to the Camden and Districts Relay For Life committee as they were without a logistics coordinator. He has now joined the committee and travels to Camden weekly to meet with other members. A cool, calm and collected approach has made Paul a brilliant committee member and he always brings a laugh to every meeting. Thank you Paul for your commitment to Cancer Council NSW.

 

Spreading the word on Blacktown Relay For Life

R4L at Btown hospital2Volunteers at Blacktown Hospital promoting Blacktown Relay For Life.

Dedicated Cancer Council NSW volunteers from Blacktown Hospital CCIS and Blacktown Relay For Life joined forces to promote Relay For Life in October. Volunteers spoke to people visiting Blacktown hospital about Relay For Life and even managed to convince several hospital staff to wear Relay For Life shirts.

The hospital visit was the start of a campaign to help spread the word about Relay For Life in the Blacktown community.

 

 

Previous Greater Western Sydney Region news:

Darts Challenge targets men’s health

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Mark Geyer, Leanne Langdon, Samantha Newman, Rod Titovs and Natalia Atcha.

PENRITH Panthers legend Mark Geyer was among more than 30 enthusiastic darts players to ‘target early symptoms with a bullseye’ at the Pioneer Tavern in Penrith on July 21. Geyer and Cancer Council NSW partnered together for the fourth Darts Challenge for men’s health.

Community Relations Coordinator for Cancer Council NSW Greater Western Sydney Leanne Langdon said the challenge was a great way to encourage men to have ‘the talk’. “We know men are significantly more likely than women to die of preventable cancers” she said. “The Darts Challenge is a great platform to encourage men to have a casual chat about their health while enjoying a game of competitive darts and raising funds for a good cause.”

The 2017 Darts Challenge raised $1,200 for Cancer Council NSW. The challenge has raised more than $25,000 for Cancer Council NSW research, support and prevention programs since it started in 2013.

 

Fairfield Relay For Life goes ‘Around the World’

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Kamal Hadid knows cancer does not discriminate. A Cancer Council NSW volunteer for the past decade, Ms Hadid said the tenth Fairfield Relay For Life was the perfect platform to “face the enemy with a big smile” and put cancer front and centre of thinking. Fairfield Relay For Life will embrace the theme ‘Around the World’ in 2017, celebrating diversity and working towards a cancer free future.

Ms Hadid said all people from all cultures had a role to play in eliminating cancer. “It’s about being courageous,” she said. “You don’t hide from your enemy – you scandalise the enemy. Show you’re the stronger party.”

Ms Hadid said Relay For Life was a great way to connect the community with a common cause and urged people to participate.

“Sign up for Fairfield Relay For Life today and face your enemy with a big smile,” she said.

“It’s better than sitting in a corner crying and hoping it will go away.”

Fairfield Relay For Life is on November 4 and 5 at Prairiewood High School. Early bird registrations for Fairfield Relay For Life are now open.

Sign up today at http://fundraising.cancer.org.au/site/TR?fr_id=4904&pg=entry

 

Greater Western Sydney celebrates NAIDOC Week

Cancer Council NSW staff in Greater Western Sydney were kept busy during NAIDOC Week, attending various events and providing information on the ‘1 in 3’ cancers campaign.

Following an official flag raising ceremony at Campbelltown City Council civic centre, Cancer Council’s Community Engagement Manager (Programs) Aruni Ratnayake joined dozens of people in a march to Bradbury Park for NAIDOC Week festivities.

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Mrs Ratnayake was joined by Macquarie Fields MP Anoulack Chantiving for the march and enjoyed performances from young indigenous dancers.

 

NAIDOC week at Penrith

NAIDOC week at Penrith

Cancer Council staff Leanne Langdon and Natalia Atcha handed out information on the ‘1 in 3’ cancers campaign to the Penrith community at NAIDOC Week festivities on July 8.

The Penrith NAIDOC festivities included jumping castles and face painting activities for children.

NAIDOC march in Campbelltown.

NAIDOC march in Campbelltown.

 

 

Nepean wives of veterans host biggest morning tea

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Nepean Wives of Vietnam Veterans Women’s Support Group hosted an Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea in June.

The morning tea was attended by about 150 guests.

The group fundraises for the Nepean Cancer Centre and Mount Druitt palliative care unit and is one of only two support groups of its kind in NSW.

The ladies have been meeting for 17 years and regularly knit scarves, hats, quilts and caps for the Nepean Cancer Centre.

The group meets on the second Thursday of each month and is looking for younger women to join who have a partner in the armed forces.

 

Blacktown truck rollin’ for Relay

Blacktown Relay For Life chair Bob Fitzgerald with a Blacktown City Council garbage truck promoting the event.

Blacktown Relay For Life chair Bob Fitzgerald with a Blacktown City Council garbage truck promoting the event.

A giant purple garbage truck promoting Relay For Life has hit the streets of Blacktown.

An initiative of Blacktown City Council, the truck was one of six to feature in a street parade as part of the Blacktown Festival on Saturday 27 May.

Blacktown Relay For Life committee chair Bob Fitzgerald and Cancer Council NSW Greater Western Sydney Community Programs Coordinator Natalia Atcha were invited to get a close-up look at the truck at council’s Rooty Hill depot on Friday 19 May.

“It looks magnificent,” Bob said.

“Having the truck five days a week on the streets, covering the whole Blacktown area, it’s a great advertisement for Relay For Life.”

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Early bird registrations open for Blacktown Relay For Life

Blacktown Relay For Life will celebrate 15 years in 2017 with a huge program of events scheduled for the weekend of October 28 and 29.

New Blacktown Relay For Life chairperson Bob Fitzgerald said this year’s event at Blacktown International Sports Park promised to be the best yet.

“You can camp at the venue. It’s got all the facilities you need and it’s a great experience for the kids,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

“Come and have a look around. Sign up and walk for an hour or walk for 24 hours – it really doesn’t matter as long as you enjoy yourselves and support the cause.”

The family-friendly 24-hour event has plenty to keep both young and old alike entertained.

An inflatable gym, go karting, a rock climbing wall, free book reading and a Bunnings plant workshop are sure to be a hit with the kids, while mum and dad will enjoy live entertainment on stage throughout the day and night.

‘Mr and Mrs Relay’ and the ‘Zombie Midnight Lap’ are a chance to get dressed up and have some fun, while the candlelight ceremony is an opportunity to reflect on those who are no longer with us.

There will be fireworks and emergency services displays along with performances from the NSW Police Band.

Food will be on sale to purchase throughout the event.

Teams are encouraged to sign up now, with early bird registrations open.

To sign up today, visit here… or find out more by visiting the Blacktown Relay For Life Facebook page.

 

Remembering Antonia at Bossley Park Biggest Morning Tea

More than 40 people gathered for the morning tea at Bossley Park.

More than 40 people gathered for the morning tea at Bossley Park.

Friends and family of Antonia Megale gathered at Bossley Park to remember the beloved grandmother while raising money for Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea.

Antonia’s granddaughter and Cancer Council NSW Greater Western Sydney volunteer Isabella Leonello organised the morning tea on Sunday 28 May, which raised more than $6,000.

Ms Leonello said 45 guests attended the morning tea and enjoyed trivia and guessing games, along with raffles and delicious cakes, slices and other delicacies.

“We set up a marquee in the front yard and mum helped with the cooking,” she said.

“The whole marquee was covered in photos of my grandmother.”

Mrs Megale was diagnosed with endometrial cancer (a type of cancer that attacks the lining of the womb) in 2013 and died in September 2016.

Businesses contributed dozens of raffle prizes for the morning tea, while others donated chairs, balloons and flowers.

“I was really shocked at what people were willing to give,” Ms Leonello said.

“I’m so thrilled at what we were able to achieve. My fundraising goal was $3,000. To double that was beyond exciting.”

Alexia Casamento enjoys her morning tea.

Alexia Casamento enjoys her morning tea.


Rita Megale, Luisa Megale, Isabella Leonello, Stella Libri, Melina Trimarchi and Rose Leonello with a photo of Antonia Megale at the Bossley Park Biggest Morning Tea.

Rita Megale, Luisa Megale, Isabella Leonello, Stella Libri, Melina Trimarchi and Rose Leonello with a photo of Antonia Megale at the Bossley Park Biggest Morning Tea.


Keira Burgeth, Luisa Leonello and Alana Fedele at the Bossley Park Biggest Morning Tea.

Keira Burgeth, Luisa Leonello and Alana Fedele at the Bossley Park Biggest Morning Tea.


More than $6000 was raised at the morning tea.

More than $6000 was raised at the morning tea.


More than 40 people gathered for the morning tea at Bossley Park.

More than 40 people gathered for the morning tea at Bossley Park.

 

Hospitals Host Biggest Morning Teas

Hospitals across Greater Western Sydney threw their support behind Cancer Council NSW by hosting an Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea in May

Staff from Westmead’s Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre shared stories over a cup of tea and a cake on Thursday May 18, raising $1,150.

Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals raised a combined $1,879 through their individual morning teas on Thursday 25 May.

On the same day, Liverpool Hospital raised $656 at a morning tea. Staff baked and donated goods for the morning, while volunteers from the hospital and Cancer Council NSW helped run the stall.

Blacktown Biggest Morning Tea Cancer Council Donation. Left to right:Lorraine Mc Ilvenna (Consumer Representative), Kerrie (Cancer Council volunteer- in the background), Olga Fernandes (Volunteer cancer care centre)

Blacktown Biggest Morning Tea Cancer Council Donation. Left to right:Lorraine Mc Ilvenna (Consumer Representative), Kerrie (Cancer Council volunteer- in the background), Olga Fernandes (Volunteer cancer care centre)


Mt Druitt rolled out the big cups.

Mt Druitt rolled out the big cups.


At Liverpool the spread for Australia's Biggest Morning tea really spread.

At Liverpool the spread for Australia’s Biggest Morning tea really spread.


Big cups, mugs at hand, all contributing to a successful ABMT at Westmead.

Big cups, mugs at hand, all contributing to a successful ABMT at Westmead.

Hundreds hit the track at Hills Relay For Life

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The 16th annual Hills Relay For Life saw hundreds walk to beat cancer at Castle Hill Showground on the weekend 20 and 21 May.

More than 1,200 registered participants joined the dedicated committee and volunteers for 24 hours, to celebrate life and remember loved ones.

Hundreds gathered at the candlelight ceremony to hear stories of inspiration and hope, before participants continued to Relay through the night.

A highlight was the dog walk on Sunday morning, with dozens of people bringing their pooch along to participate.

Forty volunteers donated their time to make the event a success by supporting the committee in managing proceedings.

Thanks to incredible support from the Hills community, this year’s Hills Relay For Life has already raised more than $290,000, and we confidently expect to reach the target of $330,000.

 

Hawkesbury Relay For Life launch night

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A crowd of just under 200 gathered at Windsor RSL for the Hawkesbury Relay For Life launch trivia night on Saturday 27 May 27.

The theme was ‘Through the Decades’, and participants dressed to impress, with the most popular outfits being those from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

Participants also enjoyed games, including a coin toss, scavenger hunts and heads or tails. A silent auction raised $737 and a lolly bar $316. The night raised more than $5,000 for Relay For Life.

Hawkesbury Relay For Life is on the weekend 9 and 10 September, at Hawkesbury Showground, Racecourse Road, Clarendon, NSW.

For details contact Krystle Goulding or Samantha Newman on 02 9354 2007 or email gwsevents@nswcc.org.au .

 

Dear volunteer,

On behalf of Cancer Council NSW, I would like to thank you for supporting our push to improve palliative care services.

You have played no small part in the big win we had when the NSW government announced more funding for palliative care services. Working in collaboration with many other organisations we can celebrate this milestone.

We in Greater Western Sydney have been involved since 2012, following the restoration of the funding for palliative care in North Sydney. The Saving Life campaign in preparation for the NSW State election on March 28, 2015, had many of you involved in local candidate forums. You did some pretty amazing things to focus on the five issues we were advocating for to then celebrate a win by abolishing the chemotherapy co-payment.

We continued to advocate for better palliative care and most of you then supported Cancer Council’s I Care for Palliative Care campaign in the past year. Visits were made to 20 out of the 26 Greater Western Sydney Members of Parliament with 18 MPs (eight Labor and 10 Liberal) signing the pledge. You helped get community support by asking people to sign a pledge of support and also organise a local launch of the campaign.

Going through the names of the advocates who helped in the past five years, I remembered those days of supporting Yvonne (McMaster) with the first petition, the debate in the NSW Parliament and the past few months of the current campaign.

We have yet again proved that it is such grassroots campaigns that work to change policy and now we can sit back and enjoy this win. I wanted to send this special message of thanks to all of you as what you have done will help so many patients and their families.

Kind regards,    

Aruni Ratnayake, Community Engagement Manager (Programs), Cancer Council NSW

 

Di determined to beat cancer diagnosis

di cohen picture grab

Cancer Council NSW volunteer Di Cohen with some of her extensive collection of Dougal bears.

Cancer Council NSW volunteer Di Cohen is determined to get back to doing what she loves best – working for her community.

The great-grandmother of eight has been volunteering for Cancer Council NSW in Greater Western Sydney for 22 years. In February, after feeling unwell and visiting her doctor, Di was informed she had pancreatic cancer.

It is Di’s second cancer diagnosis, and just like the first time 24 years ago, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she is determined to beat the disease.

“I won’t let it beat me,” she said.

Di first found out about Cancer Council NSW while receiving treatment for breast cancer. She began volunteering at the Greater Western Sydney office, which was the start of a long affiliation with Cancer Council NSW.

“I volunteered in the Greater Western Sydney office five days a week. Then they brought in laws that meant you could only volunteer for a maximum 16 hours a week. In Australia, I think people should be able to make up their own minds about the number of hours they want to volunteer. I’ve never felt pressured into doing any more than I wanted to. I love doing it,” Di said.

Di said supporting events like Cancer Council’s Relay For Life, Daffodil Day and Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea was vital to beating cancer.

“It’s important to help get the message out there – to let people with cancer know they’re not alone. Hopefully, when my great-grandchildren are grown up, we’ll no longer have to worry about cancer,” she said.

Regional Manager for Cancer Council NSW Greater Western Sydney Rory Alcock said Di’s passion for helping those touched by cancer was evident in everything she does.

“As an office volunteer for 15 years she has been the friendly face on reception greeting visitors and triaging callers to staff members. The office has been a quieter place without her and we’ve all missed not having her with us,” Mr Alcock said.

“Di’s ability to connect and chat to anyone and everyone also made her a great Daffodil Day team leader at Westpoint Shopping Centre. I don’t think anyone could pass her stall without purchasing a daffodil or a Dougal bear.

“However, I think if Di was forced to name the volunteer role closest to her heart it would be as the Blacktown Relay For Life committee member responsible for honouring and celebrating survivors and carers. As someone who has had cancer she made sure that Blacktown Relay For Life’s survivors and carers morning tea was treated as the VIP event it should be.”

Di said she hoped to return to volunteering with Cancer Council NSW soon.

“I’ve met a lot of nice people through Cancer Council, people who I’m still friends with years later. I’d like to be able to get back – even if it’s just a couple of hours one day a week. Giving back is what makes volunteering so worthwhile,” she said. 

Mr Alcock said people who wanted to volunteer with Cancer Council NSW in Greater Western Sydney could call (02) 9354 2000 or visit www.cancercouncil.com.au for more information.

 

Catch up with previous months’ news by going here and then clicking on your blue ‘region’ link.

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