Greater Western Sydney volunteer news

Blacktown City councillors take the pledge


Blacktown City councillors pledge their support for the I Care for Palliative Care campaign.

Blacktown City councillors have thrown their unanimous support behind the I Care for Palliative Care campaign.

Cancer Council NSW volunteer and International Woman of the Year 2017 for the Riverstone electorate Nicole Winram encouraged councillors to take the pledge and endorse the campaign at a council meeting on April 27.

Nicole was supported by Cancer Council NSW Greater Western Sydney Community Programs Coordinator Natalia Atcha.

In an address to councillors, Ms Winram spoke about her personal experience and the importance of improving palliative care across the state.

She also challenged Blacktown City Mayor Stephen Bali to encourage other Greater Western Sydney mayors and councillors to take the pledge and endorse the campaign.


Penrith comes together at Relay For Life


Participants at the Penrith Relay For Life, photo by Ellise Michelle Photography

More than 1,100 participants took to the track at Penrith Paceway for the 16th annual Cancer Council NSW Penrith Relay For Life on 29 and 30 April.

The moving Candlelight ceremony featured some of the youngest Relayers, who shared stories of inspiration and hope with others, before dedicated participants continued relaying long into the night.

More than 70 volunteers donated their time to make the event a success by supporting the committee in managing proceedings for the day.

One volunteer who continues to go above and beyond at each Penrith Relay For Life is Ross Hutchinson. Ross took on the role of master of ceremonies throughout the entire 24 hours.

Thanks to incredible support from the Penrith community, this year’s Relay has already raised more than $200,000, with a target of $400,000 expected to be reached.


Previous months’ news:

Advocate and MPL Nicole Winram Awarded International Woman of the Year for electorate of Riverstone.

nicole winram

Minister for Women Tanya Davies joined Member for Riverstone, Kevin Conolly MP, to announce that our very own volunteer Nicole Winram is the Riverstone electorate Local Woman of the Year for 2017.

Nicole has been an inspiring volunteer in the Greater Western Sydney region for the last two years, after she lost her husband to cancer. As a community advocate and campaigner, Nicole was instrumental in the Saving Life Campaign to raise awareness of the financial burden that co-payment fees were placing on the families of those receiving infused chemotherapy treatment. Her advocacy efforts contributed strongly to the NSW Government committing to invest $76 million to abolish the co-payments system, and the Premier made special mention of Nicole’s advocacy efforts in the campaign.

You may also recognize Nicole in the current advocacy campaign ‘I Care for Palliative Care’, in which her story is featured in a booklet to urge Health Minister Brad Hazzard to end the shortage of palliative care by funding 10 additional specialist palliative doctors, at a minimum; 129 extra palliative care nurses; and culturally appropriate palliative care for Aboriginal people. She is also involved in the local Relay For Life, Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea and Daffodil Day fundraising projects.

“I congratulate Nicole on her outstanding achievement and thank her for her exceptional example,” said Minister Davies.

Nicole joined the Minister for Women, Tanya Davies at the 2017 NSW Women of the Year award ceremony held at the Sydney International Convention Centre on Wednesday, 8 March.


Penrith Relay For Life

ziad pic

With Penrith Relay for Life around the corner, the committee and wider community are working hard to get the word out there about why we relay.

This year’s Penrith Relay for Life HOPE Ambassador is 12 year old Ziad Soltani, who at 11 was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour and rushed to hospital.

Originally told that he’d be paralysed in 12 months and dead in five years without the tumour removed, Ziad had surgery in November last year and now wants to spread the word amongst kids that cancer can be beaten whilst raising $25,000 for the cause. Read more about Ziad’s story here


Another moving story is that of Negin Mahmoudi, who was motivated to relay after her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Negin shared her story with us at last year’s relay and you can watch it here

Come down to Penrith Relay For Life on April 1-2nd at Penrith Paceway and share your story with us!


On 11 March, Greater Western Sydney Community Speaker Cathy Zhao represented Cancer Council NSW to the Auburn Diversity Service Senior Carnival.

Cathy Zhao presentation

Cathy presented on the topic of ‘five most common cancers’. It is known that Greater Western Sydney has a high population of multicultural communities and we were honoured to educate the 70-plus audience mainly from Turkish, Arabic, Dari and Chinese backgrounds on what Cancer Council NSW is, how they can reduce the risk of cancer, how to detect early signs of cancer, and how to find relevant information.

Our key point of the presentation was stating that the five most common cancers discussed account for over 60% of all cancers diagnosed in Australia. Also stating that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women in Australia will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 85.

These figures include the three different types of skin cancers, which, combined are the most common type of cancer. Many audiences members had a chat after the presentation and gathered information that they could read to their families.


Big Wigs Attend Blacktown Cancer Centre to Open New Service


Blacktown Hospital Divisional Director Professor Mark Mclean and our very own Regional Manager Rory Alcock officially opened the much awaited Wig Library, close to one year since the inauguration of the Cancer Council Information Service at the new Blacktown Cancer & Haematology Centre in 2016.

The project builds on an existing strong partnership and will involve Cancer Council volunteer hairdresser, Kathy Mandarano, to style patients, and Hospital Admin staff to coordinate bookings. The service aims to enhance patients’ quality of life, particularly for those who are unable to purchase their own wigs. Kathy holds this assignment close to heart through her own personal experience, and believes in providing care with empathy, love, respect and honesty.

The library currently only has about twenty wigs, and we are calling out for donations of wigs. Please email if you have any supplies.



Previous news from the Greater Western Sydney Region

Greater Western Sydney Mashes Hunger with Spuds


As part of the February team meeting, Volunteer Partnerships Coordinator Shirley Buczak thoughtfully organised for us to volunteer at Foodbank – a Not For Profit which stores the food industry’s surplus food then acts as a pantry to the charities and community groups who feed the hungry.

After six hours of bagging potatoes, the team now get along like chips and gravy! It really is a great bonding experience whilst driving a wedge in community struggles.


Greater Western Sydney Tees Off First Round of Events


golf pic

Slip slop slap: Cancer Council NSW programs coordinator Eleanora Bergamaschini with Cumberland Country Golf Club general manager Andrew Laplain and ambassador Phil Burge leady by exmaple when it comes to sun safety. Picture: Geoff Jones

Cumberland Country Golf Club has urged members to lift their game when it comes to sun safety.

The Greystanes club has come on board Cancer Council NSW’s Improve Your Long Game program.

The program is a collaboration between Cancer Council NSW and Cancer Institute NSW that encourages golfers to wear sunscreen on the course and on the green, with a reminder to reapply throughout the game.

The program also assists golf clubs to communicate messages about skin cancer and the need for sun protection.

Men aged over-40 are more than one-and-a-half times more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma and more than twice as likely to die from it as women of similar age, according to Cancer Council NSW community programs coordinator, Eleonora Bergamaschini.

Two in three Australia men will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer before the age of 70.

“Sun protection, like golfing technique, needs attention out on the course. Recreational golfers spend extended periods outdoors in an environment that is highly reflective of UV radiation and with minimal shade available as players move across the fairway, putting them at a high risk of sunburn, skin damage and skin cancer,” Ms Bergamaschini said.

Cumberland Country Golf Club general manager Andrew Laplain added:

“We are very pleased to work closely with Cancer Council NSW to continue to get the sun safety message out to all our members and visitors. It is encouraging to see more players using umbrellas for shade, wearing bucket hats and re-applying sun screen, a trend that is encouraged from our most senior members to our Juniors. Improve Your Long Game is an excessive campaign embraced by all players of this great game.”

Cancer Council NSW recommends golfers use sun protection when the UV Index is three and above, and for golfers to check the UV Index before they set out on the course and reapply sunscreen every two hours.

Long time club member and Cancer Council NSW ambassador Phil Burge said sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before going onto the course, and reapply at the turn, for maximum effect.

Read the original story here.




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