Hunter Central Coast volunteer news

Innovation Award – Clint Ekert from Hunter Central Coast

chris ekert‘Clint held Australia’s first horse-back Relay For Life in Merriwa in early April. Clint worked collaboratively with Work Health and Safety Lead, Jan Smith, Community Programs and Events Coordinator, Glen Parsons, and the local community to hold a very successful event which will now be an annual Relay’ – Shayne Connell, Regional Manager Hunter Central Coast Region 



Steel Magnolia Nominee


Donna Robertson, Chair of Gosford City Relay, has been nominated for the Lifeline Steel Magnolia Award.

Donna was selected as one of six finalists who were highlighted at a nominees’ luncheon. Whilst Donna was not the winner for this year, we are certainly very proud of her and her achievements.

Easter Tennis aces $100,000


Another successful Seniors Easter Tennis Tournament was held at District Park, Broadmeadow, over the Easter weekend. Perfect weather and strong entries from across the state made for a great few days of on court action.

Off the court, the Cougars Tennis Club raised an incredible $7,800!

Cougars have been supporting Cancer Council NSW in the Hunter for the past 10 years, and during this time have raised over $105,000 – an amazing result and a huge thanks to Frank Kitcher (pictured), and his team for their commitment during this time.


Central Coast Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea Launch


We had a lovely morning launch Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea last Thursday with 45 of our valued VIP Hosts, including Ailsa and Helen, who have been hosting for 22 years!

Our local ambassador Andrew Church shared his cancer journey and kindly donated his award winning cookbook and business mentoring books. Andrew Church was awarded 2016 Gosford Citizen of the Year and is an award winning author, master chef and owner of a local war museum.

Last year Andrew was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer and now loves sharing his story to support others in their recovery.


SunSmart Dougal a hit with the kids!


It’s always a team effort in the Hunter and this week was no exception with our regional manager Shayne pulling on the Dougal suit to accompany our Regional Administrator, Georgie on a visit to Jesmond Early Education Centre to talk to the children about being SunSmart when playing outside!

Dougal Bear was a big hit with the littlies handing out stickers and reminding them all about the importance of wearing a hat, sunscreen, protective clothing and sunglasses as well as playing in the shade.


Queen Ada helps launch Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea


Our much-loved Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea host, Ada Staader, took centre stage, and said she “felt like the Queen” at the launch of the Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea campaign at Luna Park, sharing her cancer story and cooking tips with MKR’s Will and Steve.

Ada has been supporting Cancer Council since 1999, when she lost her brother Leonard to cancer. She held her first Biggest Morning Tea that year and hasn’t missed an event in the 17 years following, raising over $50,000.

“I do the morning tea because I want to achieve something. Even just the feeling of helping people, and the people that come and help me and come to talk about cancer – I think that achieves something,” Ada said.

Now a sprightly 86 years old, Ada spends the months leading up to the event making the relishes and pickles and handicrafts she sells at her event, and she still has the energy to get up at 4am on the official day to bake her famous scones!

We love you, Ada, and can’t thank you enough for your amazing support and dedication… not to mention the delicious tomato relish!


Stars of the Central Coast


Our 10 Stars took to the stage at a sold out Laycock Street Theatre on Friday 7 April to dance for cancer! 

29 year old Bowel Cancer Survivor, Hollie Fielder, took out the title with her moving Contemporary piece that told the story of Hollie’s cancer journey. She received a standing ovation from a teary audience and thee 10’s from the judges. It was an incredibly moving performance, which reminded everybody in the room exactly why they were there.

The People’s Choice Award went to our powerhouse sister act, who performed a 90’s Pop routine (think Salt & Pepa and Spice up your life) with their dance instructor, Mariah Sumner.  The crowd loved their energetic performance, and the girls danced for their 56 year old mum and 12 year old nephew, both of whom they have lost to cancer.

Highest Fundraiser was STAR1045 Sales Executive, Anthony Zibara, who raised $22,000 by virtual busking (putting hilarious videos of himself dancing on his social media and promising more moves to those who donated). He didn’t disappoint as he danced his “70’s Motown” routine complete with brown trousers, big afro and giant smile!  And let it be said, his hips don’t lie!

A live 13 piece band played all of the performances, our judges and hosts entertained the crowd, and everybody had a great time. We raised $115,000 and were reminded once again how much we love the Central Coast community!

This year’s event ticked us over to the $500,000 for this amazing event in just four years!

Our partners at STAR1045 created a great video for us, which gave our STARS the chance to talk about why they are doing it, and how much fun it has been. The video can be found on the Rabbit & Julie Goodwin Facebook page here

We got some great media from the Central Coast Express Advocate about the event, which you can read here


Face of Cessnock Relay

GOOD CAUSE: Relay for Life chair Steph Ekert, Face of Relay Kelly Moylan and Relay for Life Hunter community relations coordinator (with a second guernsey for this edition of the region's news) Clint Ekert.

GOOD CAUSE: Relay for Life chair Steph Ekert, Face of Relay Kelly Moylan and Relay for Life Hunter community relations coordinator (with a second guernsey for this edition of the region’s news) Clint Ekert.

Long-time Cancer Council NSW supporter, volunteer and passionate advocate, Kelly Moylan, has been selected as the Face of Relay for the 2017 Cessnock Relay for Life.

After she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, Kelly went through over 12 months of treatment, including surgery and chemotherapy, and was given the all clear in 2008. Since then she has worked tirelessly for Cancer Council NSW as a MP liaison, a member of the local Cancer Action Network, committee member for the Cessnock Relay for Life. and host and team leader for both Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea and Daffodil Day.

Congratulations on a well-deserved honour, Kelly!

Read some media coverage here:


Previous months’ news:

Gosford City Relay For Life


Rain, rain and more rain proved that Relays cannot float after council closed the venue grounds and we were forced to cancel our beloved Gosford City Relay For Life for 2017.

The irony was that we moved the event forward from May to March as we have had terrible weather every year… so ahh, yeh, that went well.

Having never had to cancel one of our Relays before, we churned around ideas of postponing the event,  of holding an indoor alternative or a condensed indoor version of Relay, but ultimately, our committee decided that Relay is so beautifully unique that we would be doing a disservice to our dedicated participants and teams by giving them anything else but Relay For Life as they know and love it.

So we have invited them to represent Gosford at Mingara Relay For Life in October, where both ends of the Central Coast will unite in full force to fight cancer, the best way we know how – by Relaying.

It has been understandably heartbreaking for our selfless Chair and committee, who proved just how amazing they are throughout this process as they continued to put their Relayers first. These are a truly remarkable group of humans and we feel incredibly lucky to work alongside them.


Horsing around for Relay For Life


The small rural community of Merriwa has hosted what must be the most unique Relay For Life event in Australia!

Saturday 1 April 120 riders completed a 23km horse ride through the beautiful countryside as part of the Merriwa Relay For Life celebrations. The ride kicked off at 8am with stops for morning tea and lunch along the way, before they rode back into town for the start of the Relay.

The event has raised over $20,000 and there are big plans within the community to at least double the amount of participants and funds raised next year, congratulations on an amazing result!


Relaying to help get patients to treatment


Cessnock Mayor Bob Pynsent (left), and State Member for Cessnock Clayton Barr (right)

The burden of organising transport to cancer treatment has been lifted for people living in the Cessnock area with the launch of a free transport service.

The Cessnock Patient Transport Service is being coordinated by Cessnock Community Transport with the support of trained Cancer Council volunteers and is being funded by the annual Cessnock Relay For Life.

Angela, a local woman with stage three breast cancer was the first to use the service after she was told she couldn’t drive because of the effects of her chemotherapy. She said the new service has taken away the extra stress of not being able to drive to Newcastle for her treatment.

Read more about Angela’s story here.


Healthy Sports Club Initiative

The Healthy Sports Initiative

Both Lisarow Ourimbah Junior Cricket Club and Narara Wyoming Junior Cricket Club partnered with the Central Coast Cancer Council Community Office in the Healthy Sports Program.  Over the past two years they have worked towards improving Sun protection and implementing Smoke Free areas during the Cricket season.

Both Clubs have been successful implementing the resources provided by the Cancer Council and developed policies on Sun Safety and Smoke Free. Congratulations and well done for taking on this initiative and making a difference in their local communities.


An ongoing productive partnership with Star1045


Central Coast renewed its exclusive media partnership with STAR1045 for another three years. The partnership is valued at over $150,000, and they work in tandem with volunteers across all of our fundraising events from Daffodil Day, Relay For Life, ABMT, Stars of the Central Coast and Rally for a Remedy, as well providing advertising, hosting events for us, providing man power for us and generally being awesome!

We are lucky to have such focused, strong support from STAR1045!


A generous gift in memory of Lyn


When Len Maslen won a Mitsubishi Mirage through a competition with Mortgage Choice, he knew he wanted to do something special with the prize.

After losing his wife Lyn to breast cancer in 2014, he generously chose to donate the car to Cancer Council NSW in her memory.

The car will be the major prize in the 2017 Lyn Maslen Hunter Central Coast Relay For Life raffle. Len says he had never won a thing in his life and describes his wife Lyn as the ‘lucky one’ who always won raffles and competitions, but says he knew she was looking over him the day he won the car, and that donating it was simply ‘meant to be!’     


Stars of the Central Coast


With just a few weeks until Stars of the Central Coast, our Stars are out and about fundraising. Bowel cancer survivor, Hollie got some great media during the week promoting her fitness work on the Central Coast and her upcoming fundraiser, “Be Your Own Super Hero”.

We have been getting along to see some dance rehearsals and they are pretty entertaining to say the least! With styles like 70’s Motown, Disco and 90’s Pop – the audience are in for a real treat!     


Sydney Volunteer Trip


Recently we loaded up a mini bus full of our fabulous Charlestown volunteers and headed down to Sydney!

During our visit to Head Office, we visited the helpline team, met with Katy from the EAC, and learnt about the amazing work being done within policy and advocacy. Our team also enjoyed a building tour courtesy of Steve Ray, and were able to charm our way up to the forbidden roof top.

CEO Jeff Mitchell personally thanked all our amazing office volunteers. A certificate of appreciation was presented to our fabulous Sue Boswell in recognition of her many years of work.

To top off our brilliant day, we spent the evening attending the Research Awards and hearing how our fundraising is helping in the fight against Cancer. What a trip!


Little people doing BIG things!


These little local legends held a bake sale to end all bake sales on their front lawn and raised a whopping $1,300!

The girls came into the office to present us with the money and some beautiful artwork that read, “We made $1,300 so don’t freak out – just stay calm and relax.”

Thanks for the advice girls, although it’s hard to relax when eight year olds are handing over that kind of cash!

It’s so lovely to see such community-minded little people on the Central Coast! What an effort!


Stars of the Central Coast


It was another weekend of fundraising on the Central Coast, with two of our Stars hosting their events on the weekend!

First up was our powerhouse sister dance duo hosting a “Beach Party” at Wamberal Surf Club. The terrible weather didn’t put a dampener on anyone’s spirits with everyone having a great time enjoying delicious paella, fire twirlers, drumming and a live band.

The theme was ‘Top: Formal, Bottom: Beach’ …and  suit jackets worn with board shorts were a pretty popular look!  The girls raised $5,000 towards their Stars of the Central Coast Campaign!

School principal, Shayne Player, along with fellow star from Wyong Neighbour Centre, Sharyn Burgess, joined forces for their fundraiser and held a lovely High Tea event at the Entrance.  With raffles and music, the afternoon provided some sunshine on a rainy day! Well done girls!


Dancing to Beat Cancer

Photo2.091648A local radio legend, a RAAF Squadron Leader, reality TV stars, and local business leaders, will pull on their dancing shoes and come together for the 2017 Stars of Newcastle event to be held on 17 June.

The event was launched last week, and the Stars have already banked over $13,000!

Last year’s event raised over $200,000 and we’re confident this year’s talented Stars will dance their way to another successful event.

Stars this year include NBN Presenter Sam Djodan, Radio 2HD’s Richard King, and Kim & Chris Elliott from The Block 2016.


I Care for Palliative Care Launch


Care campaign: Jennifer Creal with Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen and the new book, Our Stories.

Seven local Hunter MP’s publicly pledged their support at the official launch of the ‘I Care for Palliative Care’ campaign yesterday.

Local residents shared their palliative stories and echoed the push for more palliative care doctors and nurses to meet the needs of the local community.

For Dungog resident Jennifer Creal, timely pain management for her husband Christopher was lacking because of a two-week wait for specialist palliative care once his active cancer treatment stopped.

“People should have the sort of death they want,” said Jennifer, who believes that having family around when a loved one is dying is important.

Read more about Jennifer’s story here


Previous news from the Hunter Central Coast Region

New QBE and Cancer Council NSW service to ease patient transport burden

transport to treatment

Two years of fundraising bake sales, raffles and marathons have finally paid off with the launch of the new QBE Cancer Council Transport to Treatment service.

Staff from the Newcastle QBE office have worked tirelessly to raise more than $20,000 through donations, fundraising events as well as a community grant from the QBE Foundation, the insurer’s charitable arm.

The new service, recently launched in Newcastle, will be coordinated by Cancer Council NSW volunteers and will provide free, on-call transport to and from treatment centres for patients ensuring they arrive in comfort and at no cost.


An Attitude of Gratitude


When Joanne Murray speaks about her cancer experience, she speaks about the help and support that she received from Cancer Council NSW (CCNSW) and other organisations with nothing but gratitude. So being able to help the organisation that helped her, through volunteering, has brought the gratitude and appreciation full circle for Joanne.

Joanne’s own experiences with cancer influenced her decision to get involved with CCNSW as part of a work placement for studies in Social Work.

Joanne started volunteering as a Research Assistant on a local Palliative Care Project. Once her placement was completed she made the decision to keep volunteering as the Coordinator for the Dafnee Resource Van with Sarah Russell. The aim of the role is to engage with the community and provide information about cancer and CCNSW to the wider community.

Joanne’s gratitude goes beyond what the Cancer Council did for her when she needed it. As a volunteer in the Erina office, Joanne is also thankful for the skills she has been able to build on and use to serve the community.

The gratitude that Joanne speaks about manifests itself in many ways. For Joanne, it started with the gratitude she felt towards the services provided for her from CCNSW, and has now come full circle where she is receiving gratitude from people for the work that she does.

This is what makes Joanne an exceptional volunteer and addition to the team. Her work with the Dafnee Resource Van, and providing information and support to people when they need it the most illustrates how Joanne has taken the gratitude she felt towards CCNSW, and is now using it to help others.


Stars of the Central Coast

stars of the central coast

After just two weeks tickets were all but sold out for Stars of the Central Coast!

Our STARS are off and fundraising with everything from High Teas to Beach Parties coming up over the next two months, not to mention some hard core dance training!

From Motown to 90’s Pop – these kids are busting the occasionally somewhat uncoordinated move in sweaty dance studios all over the Coast!


Volunteer News

Young Achiever of the Year Nomination

We are very proud of all of our Relay For Life Committees and Volunteers, and we now have another one nominated for Young Achiever of the Year! Lauren from our Singleton Committee has been nominated for her work with Relay For Life and many other charities in the local area!

Congratulations, Lauren!


Sailing Regatta continues to fund Hunter’s Home Help Program

heaven can wait regatta

The eleventh annual ‘Heaven Can Wait’ Sailing Regatta took place from 18-19 February across Lake Macquarie and is estimated to have raised $30,000 to fund the Home Help Program in the Hunter.

The Program, overseen by Cancer Council NSW, assists those who have recently undergone cancer treatment with house cleaning and lawn mowing.

It is estimated that over the past three years while the event has directly funded this Program, over 200 families have been assisted.

The 2017 event began with a charity dinner which featured sailing heavyweights Tom Burton (Olympic Gold Medallist), Leisl Tesch (Paralympic Gold Medallist) and Tom Addis (navigator on Perpetual Loyal, Hobart Race winner).

Sailing action got underway the next day with over 50 boats hitting the water in the one lap dash, 12 hour race, and 24 hour races which challenges even the most experienced of sailors.

A huge thanks to Mel Steiner and the Heaven Can Wait Committee – their efforts are truly remarkable.


Gosford City Relay is a family affair for the Robertson girls!

mother and daughter

Picture by Mark Scott

Meet Donna and Georgia! A mother and daughter super duo who are the heart of our Gosford City Relay For Life volunteer organising committee!

Donna is our Chairperson who leads and inspires our committee, and Georgia is the guru of sourcing fabulous prizes and organizing kids activities for the event.

To say that we are blessed to have these 2 incredible women in our Cancer Council – Central Coast family, is an understatement! Girl Power!

The Central Coast Express Advocate did a great piece about the girls, you can read it here.


Cancer survivor Hollie Fielder steps up to be her own superhero


At the age of 24, Hollie was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer and secondary liver cancer and was given a 5% chance to survive. 

Hollie had part of her bowel, liver and all of her gall bladder removed with chemotherapy thrown in amongst the surgeries.

“It was a challenging time of my life. I learnt a lot about myself, but I wouldn’t change it, simply because I truly believe everything happens for a reason, and it has led me to where I am today and the person I have become. I have been given this second chance to make a difference, to inspire others and help remove the stigma around bowel cancer that it is not just an old person’s disease.”

Four years on Hollie is still cancer free and she knows only too well how lucky she is.

Hollie’s journey has led her to become a bowel cancer advocate and a health and fitness trainer at Impact Gym and F45 The Entrance, where she aims to empower and inspire people to believe in themselves, to appreciate their health, and love the lives they lead.

Hollie has been invited to dance and fundraise as part of the Cancer Council NSW’s “Stars of the Central Coast” fundraising event.

Hollie is hosting a fundraising event which is aptly named “Be Your Own Super Hero”, and it’s no surprise that it is a fitness challenge.

Various high profile fitness trainers have donated their services to roll out five fitness sessions to participants, which will be run on Saturday 25 March 2017 at Adcock Park Velodrome from 4pm – 7.30pm.

A truly inspiring young individual with a fantastic attitude, naturally Hollie is throwing herself into this dancing challenge and enjoying every moment!


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