Hunter Central Coast volunteer news

Meet Marie Claire

Marie Claire2 Celebrating over 21 years of service this Daffodil Day: Marie Claire has been participating in Daffodil Day since 1995, and has every Dougal Bear to prove it.

Marie Claire’s drive to volunteer and continue volunteering came from watching her mother and sister lose the battle to cancer. She wanted to join the fight against cancer by helping to raise valuable funds that can help find a cure.

Marie has collected every Daffodil Day bear and Dougal Bear since she began volunteering. The very first bear was a dinosaur, so the dinosaur is very special bear to Marie-Claire, as it represents both the beginning of her twenty-year collection, and the beginning of her time as a Cancer Council volunteer.

Having volunteered at three sites across the years – Bateau Bay, Mingara and Chittaway Bay, Marie has met and talk with many Central Coast people who give to Daffodil Day each year. She has experienced a wonderful amount of generosity at every site, most recently, at Chittaway Bay where she volunteers with a great team.

The dedication that Marie has shown to Cancer Council and Daffodil Day over the past two decades are amazing to say the least. It is through the dedication and commitment of volunteers that Daffodil Day continues to be a fantastic day. Thank you so much to Marie-Claire and all our dedicated Daffodil Day volunteers for a fabulous Day.


Dougal was warmly welcomed to the Central Coast on Daffodil day as he visited the sites around the Central Coast giving out hugs, high fives and waves. There was one point where he was almost mobbed by a group of preschool children who caught sight of him as they were playing outside.



Cancer Council Secures Freemasons Support


The Hunter Port Stephens & Newcastle districts of the Freemasons have nominated Cancer Council NSW as their charity of choice.

Regional Manager Shayne Connell attended a fundraising dinner last weekend and was presented with a cheque for $1,000, which adds to their already impressive donation of over $10,000.

The relationship with the local Freemasons group came through a connection with one of our hard-working Hunter volunteers, Leah Farrell.

The group were looking for a new group to support and, after hearing Leah speak with such passion and enthusiasm about the work of Cancer Council NSW, they unanimously decide to channel their fundraising activities in support of local programs and services.

Thank you to Leah and the Freemasons for their continued support!


Sewing Group making a difference on the Central Coast


Helping Hands Sewing Group meet bi-monthly at the Hobby Sew Store located next door to Cancer Council NSW Community Office at Erina Fair. Hobby Sew works in partnership with Cancer Council NSW and provides the use of their premise and sewing machines for the Helping Hands Sewing Group.

Last month the group made 252 pieces of headwear for cancer patients, including some for children with cancer plus Tote Bags for X-rays, Drainage Bag covers and Chemo Pump Bag covers.

We disperse the headwear and other items primarily throughout Central Coast and Hunter region Hospitals and other treatment centres, plus some to Sydney Royal North Shore Hospital and Children Hospitals in Sydney.

The Helping Hands Sewing Group commenced in July 2013 and they have continued to get together to provide this amazing resource for cancer patients. It has also provided an avenue for people to build friendships and have a social outing.

Some of the group also sew from home to keep a steady supply of headwear for the cancer patients. During the last financial year 1541 pieces of Headwear, 143 Tote bags and Pump and 130 Drainage bag covers were made.

Congratulations to all involved, we thank you ‘sew’ much!


Community responds to call for volunteers


More than 20 potential volunteers attended the information session in Muswellbrook this week for the soon to be launched Upper Hunter Palliative Care Respite Service.

Upper Hunter Community Programs Coordinator (Palliative Care), Erin Daley, says the response from the community to the new service has been really positive.

“We’re thrilled that so many people have shown interest in becoming respite volunteers. We will be working closely with our new volunteers over the next few months with ongoing recruitment and training.

“Our aim is to have the program operating with our volunteers out in the community offering much-needed support in October,” said Ms Daley.

The respite program will complement existing palliative services in the Upper Hunter and is being expanded following the successful pilot program in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.


Dafnee the belle of the ball at Relay!


The Mingara Volunteer committee were connected, inspired and empowered at the Relay For Life Leadership Conference last weekend.

They have all came away with new friends, new ideas and ready to pack a punch this Spring season!



Our beloved resource van, Dafnee, also made her first official appearance in the Ballroom and was very well received. The bookings are coming in thick and fast to have her appear at Relays across the state!


Funding to extend Palliative Respite Service


Caring for someone with a life-limiting illness is often stressful and demanding. Now, thanks to a significant funding announcement, the burden will be a little lighter for carers across the Hunter region. The Cancer Council Palliative Care Volunteer Service addresses the often-overlooked needs of the carers, as well as supporting patients who live alone. Trained volunteers spend time with palliative patients allowing their carers to take some time out.

The service is supported by Hunter New England Local Health District which recently announced a continuation of support, with a further $225,000 funding over the next three years. The community-based program has been designed to complement current palliative services. After a successful pilot program in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie under the guidance of Lower Hunter Community Programs Coordinator (Palliative Care) Tina Pidcock, the respite service is now being expanded across the Upper Hunter.

Upper Hunter Community Programs Coordinator (Palliative Care), Erin Daley, says it’s important for carers to look after themselves as well.

“Palliative care services do a great job looking after the physical care and medical treatment for patients, and Cancer Council’s service will offer important emotional support and respite for carers and patients,” said Ms Daley.


Getting Festive in a BIG way!


This year will be our fourth year of Central Coast Carols and we are so excited to announce that this year the event will move to a new home – Central Coast Stadium!

It’s a huge win for us and will allow for the growth of the event and our goal of making it the biggest and best Carols event on the Central Coast.

We couldn’t have done this without our great relationship with our friends at Star1045 who support us in just about every crazy idea that we throw at them, and our friends at Central Coast Stadium taking a huge chance on us! With $20,000 in sponsorship locked in already, we are as excited as a kid at Christmas!


Hunter Advocates Celebrate Success


Upper Hunter and Hunter CAN members.

Members of the Hunter Cancer Action Network (CAN) and the Upper Hunter Cancer Action Network recently met in Dungog for their annual regional planning day.

The group included a mix of new and long-term CAN members and new MP Liaison volunteers who spent the day mapping out the priorities for their future advocacy work, including lymphoedema, point to point transport legislation, and junk food sponsorship. It wasn’t all hard work though, with the group taking some time out to celebrate the amazing success of the Palliative Care campaign.

Both CAN’s have worked tirelessly on this campaign; keeping the pressure on their local MPs, collecting pledges, sharing their stories with media and spreading the word within their communities. Congratulations and thank you for your commitment to taking action to make a difference!


Previous Hunter & Central Coast Region news:


NSW Premier in Singleton


The celebration of the $100 million announcement for palliative care services in NSW continued across the region when NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen visited the Singleton Cancer Council.

The Premier was in town for a cabinet visit and took time out of her busy schedule to pop in to thank the staff and volunteers for their work on the Palliative Care campaign and also learn first-hand about the important impact the Cancer Council is having across the Upper Hunter region.

Hear more from the Premier and Regional Manager Shayne Connell in the video below.


240,000 Reasons to Celebrate


The Stars of Newcastle danced their way to new heights this year with the event raising $240,000, and making it the most successful Stars event ever held in NSW! The sell-out crowd enjoyed an amazing night of entertainment and fine food with very impressive dancing from all of our Stars.

Whether they were leaping from the stage, shimmying their way to Bollywood, or rocking out to Top Gun hits, everyone agreed the dancers really gave it everything this year, both on the dance floor and in their own personal fundraising events.

We have to thank our amazing volunteers who worked the crowd fundraising on night and supported all our Stars leading up to the event. Thanks also to the amazing production crew from Out of the Square Media and Hunter TV who live-streamed the event to everyone watching at home in their PJs.

And a massive congratulations to our Community Relations Coordinator superstar Lauren Dale and Regional Administrator legend Georgie Young, who both worked tirelessly in the months leading up to the event, supporting our Stars at all of their fundraising activities and coordinating the most successful Stars event ever – you girls are amazing!

See one of the highlights below and have a look at the HunterTV site to see more of the action from the night.


Jumping the Queue for Cancer


The Stars of Newcastle hit the dancefloor at the third annual event held at a new venue this year, Wests City. Not only have this year’s Stars put in the hard yards perfecting their dance moves, but they’ve also managed to find the time to organise their own fundraising events and have already banked over $127,000.

One of our Stars this year, Clare Collins, is the owner of local pub, Sydney Junction Hotel which is really popular on a Friday and Saturday night. Clare came up with the idea of offering patrons a chance to ‘skip the queue’ to get inside by donating $20 directly to Cancer Council. The promotion was a runaway success, with our hard working volunteers and staff braving the cold to staff the door on Friday and Saturday nights, and raised over $15,000 in the first six weeks.

We also gave Dougal a chance to test out his own moves on the dancefloor ahead of the event, and he proved a hit with people lining up to make a donation and have a photo with him. Congratulations to Clare and her team for coming up with such a great promotion and to our amazing volunteers for giving up their Saturday nights!


Grey Matters


Hunter Central Coast Volunteering and Partnerships Coordinator, Aroha Nisbett created an awareness campaign here on the Central Coast for Brain Cancer Action Week, where our lovely volunteers got to knit some beautiful Cancer Council beanies to remind people that Grey Matters!  It basically took over the world, and we ran out of beanies and the phone rang hot with people desperately trying to order more! Icare (formerly known as Workcover) purchased them for their entire team (see photo attached).

We have lined up our knitting groups en masse for the campaign next year, and have ‘gangs’ with names like “The Knit Wits” on board to help us keep heads warm on the Central Coast while spreading the message of brain cancer awareness.


Stars of Central Coast


At the 2016 Stars of the Central Coast, Star Jodie Myers learnt to Salsa, and loved it! She loved it so much that she continued doing it long after the event had finished – and on the weekend, Jodie participated in the NSW State Salsa Championships! Yep. How cool is that? Who knew that Stars events could produce actual dancers!!

Go Jodie!


Behind the scenes with our Stars

sam djodan

In keeping with the theme, we also want to thank our local media partners, NBN Television who are not only providing an MC for Stars of Newcastle but have been supporting us with one of their Sports reporters, Sam Djodan, strapping on his jazz shoes to dance his way through his routine at Stars of Newcastle.

The cancer cause is close to the hearts of many at the station who recently lost a close colleague to cancer.

Sam is convinced his years of dancefloor antics at a number of local pubs and clubs has been valuable training and will stand him in god stead when he takes to the stage on Saturday. We’ll wait and see!


Ada’s Biggest Morning Tea


The Hunter celebrated a bumper Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea last week with hundreds of events being held across the region and many more planned across June.

Once again, our superstar host Ada Staader bounced out of bed at 4am to bake her famous scones!

Not only is she on track to beat her $4,500 result from last year but she and Patron Barbara Gaudry managed to give our I Care For Palliative Care campaign a great plug on NBN television.

See more of Ada’s story here.


Not a Trivial Result!


After losing her husband Peter to pancreatic cancer, Louise Bailey was determined to raise much needed funds for research in this area.

By organising a trivia night and sourcing donations from local businesses, Louise has raised an INCREDIBLE $25,000! 

A HUGE thank you to Louise from all of us at Cancer Council NSW Hunter Region.


Recognising our Amazing Volunteers


This week we recognised four amazing ladies who ensure our Singleton Community Office runs effectively on a daily basis.

Deb, Katherine, Nicole and Margie tirelessly give their time to assist with tasks in our office and administer some of our programs.

We know that their commitment to Cancer Council and hard work played a big part in helping the Singleton team score the 2017 Singleton Business Awards Excellent in Social Enterprise Award!


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