Metro Sydney volunteer news

Meet the team: Maddy Gough and Ali Boydell

Ali and Maddy2

This month we learn a little more about our Regional Nutrition Project officer Maddy Gough (right) and Communications and Events Coordinator, Ali Boydell (left).

Maddy coordinates and implements local strategies to maximise the effectiveness of the Eat It To Beat It program and Healthy Sports Club Programs and Ali develops and coordinates communication strategies that include traditional media and online channels to support regional priorities and build Cancer Council brand profile.

Ali also localises state based media and communications in-line with regional community plans along with coordinating regional response to reactive media requests. Both ladies are valued members of the Metro Sydney Team and enjoy working with volunteers.

Name: Maddy Gough
Role at Cancer Council NSW: Regional Nutrition Project Officer
How long you have worked at Cancer Council NSW: two years
Favourite part of your job: The people I work with and working on Eat It To Beat It is satisfying because schools and parents love it!
How you work with volunteers: I work with the Metro Sydney Eat It To Beat It Program Facilitators and university interns. Previously as a Community Programs Coordinator, I worked with Prince of Wales and St George hospital CCIS volunteers, MP Liaisons and SCAN advocates.
What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time? Watch Game of Thrones

Name: Ali Boydell
Role at Cancer Council NSW: Communications and Event Coordinator
How long you have worked at Cancer Council NSW: one year
Favourite part of your job: Working on a variety of different campaigns – it always keeps me on my toes!
How you work with volunteers: Find out what their passions and goals are and try my best to help them achieve what they want out of their volunteering experience.
What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time? There is a lot… probably my solo dance parties.


Mission Moment: Daffodil Day

Metro Sydney Team - Daffodil Day2

The daffodil symbolises rebirth and new beginnings as it is one of the first flowers of spring. This represents hope for a cancer-free future, with thousands being sold this Daffodil Day on 25 August. This special fundraising event ‘For Someone I Know’ brings hope to those living with cancer. Many people throughout the nation volunteered their time and efforts to help on this day, including our dedicated Metro Sydney employees and volunteers. It was a busy day full of excitement with 700 sites in NSW (204 of which were in Greater Sydney). MP Mark Coure2

One of the Daffodil Day sites was located at Oatley train station and we had the pleasure of Mark Coure attending, MP for Oatley. Mark understands the importance of selling merchandise and fresh daffodils to his local community to help raise much needed funds for Cancer Council. It is important we connect directly with State Government representatives to ensure that the community’s voice is heard. Our MP Liaison Program, which links a trained Cancer Council volunteer with their local Member of Parliament, is active in the Metro Sydney Community and Mark’s MP Liason, Lillian Birchall is doing a wonderful job at engaging Mark to help beat cancer.

It was great to see so many volunteers and employees of the Metro Sydney team out in their community raising funds and awareness for Cancer Council NSW. A lot of stories were shared and our Fireman Dougal Bears found new homes.  If you were involved in the day we would love to hear about your experience and see your photos. Please email your stories to

THANK YOU to everyone who donated their time or purchased an item on the day. The funds raised will bring us all closer to one day having a cancer-free future.


Volunteer role spotlight: Eat It To Beat It Facilitator – Alison Todd

Alison Todd photo2

We know that 1 in 3 cancers can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating well, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight. We also know 95% of adults and children in NSW do not eat enough fruit and vegetables every day. This is where our fantastic Eat It To Beat It Program Facilitators come in! Our Program Facilitators generously volunteer their time to provide parents with simple, practical, budget-friendly ways to include more fruit and veg in all family meals. Program Facilitators deliver free Healthy Lunch Box sessions and Fruit & Veg Sense workshops to parents of primary school aged children.

Alison is passionate about volunteering on the Eat It To Beat It program and she says “Parents want to give their families healthy meals but in today’s world that can be hard. The Eat It To Beat It program gives families just the right support they need to get started. The resources are family-friendly and help families stay on track.”

“Alison is a joy to work with as she has so much to give to others and clearly enjoys volunteering, as she has been with our organisation for 27 years! Alison is reliable and we are lucky to have her representing Cancer Council NSW” – Maddy Gough, Regional Nutrition Project Officer


Fundraising focus: City2Surf

City2Surf Volunteer Cheer Squad2

On Sunday 13 August there was a sea of yellow at the world’s largest fun run City2Surf. We had over 100 supporters participate fundraising for Cancer Council NSW, of that we had a team of 26 Charity Superstars that all had to raise a minimum of $1,000 with exclusive benefits. The vibe was electric and the weather was stunning as we joined the 80,000 other runners and walkers across the iconic 14km course.

The day kicked off in Hyde Park with Shannan Ponton (City2Surf ambassador and former Biggest Loser trainer) warming up the Charity Superstars in Hyde Park before we crossed the start line all the way up to Heartbreak Hill and ending at Bondi Beach. We had a welcoming cheer from volunteers at the top of Heartbreak Hill and on the home stretch to the finish line. Their motivating signs and giving high fives definitely helped our supporters get through!

The VIP Marquee at the finish line was a lovely way to celebrate everyone’s efforts for all supporters of Cancer Council NSW. The food and drinks donated by Turbans 4 Australia and Harris Farms and massages from the Chiropractic team at Macquarie University was welcomed by all.

It was a lovely surprise to see our volunteers feature on the post event City2Surf promotional video AND they also featured on the Fairfax City2Surf survey email sent to all participants.

As a result, we have raised $80,000 and counting. Congratulations to all our supporters and all the volunteers that helped us make City2Surf 2017 a success.


Volunteer story: UTS Careers Internship and Volunteering Fair

Holly and Grace2

 On Tuesday 8 of August I attended the UTS Careers Internship and Volunteering Fair with a fellow volunteer Holly Blair.  The fair was a chance for me to share my experience of volunteering at Cancer Council NSW with other students and promote the opportunities for volunteering to students who may want to learn more about their future career options. It was also a great development opportunity for myself as I was able to manage the setup of an event independently (brilliant practical experience) and communicate with like-minded students.  This event assisted Cancer Council NSW to raise awareness, share our brand and to meet future potential volunteer and interns.

From this experience I learnt that it is exhausting to smile for 2 hours straight! I also learnt how to communicate more succinctly when telling the students about Cancer Council NSW as similar messages were repeated over time, which I got used to.

My favorite part of the day was working alongside my fellow volunteer Holly and talking to the students about their own interests. I appreciated being given this development opportunity and to be trusted to represent Cancer Council NSW at this event.  – Grace Ai, Event Administration and Support Volunteer.

If you are interested in events and administration and are keen to get some practical experience we are currently recruiting for Event Administration and Tele-support Volunteers.  Please apply here.


Metro Sydney Volunteer Opportunities


Previous Metro Sydney volunteer news:

Meet the team: Monica Mikhael and Hayley Hornitzky

This month we introduce you to two of our valued team members Monica and Hayley. Monica responsible for the management and implementation of key community-based programs across the Northern Sydney region and Hayley provides organisational and operational support for the effective implementation of regional fundraising events. Please learn a little more about the girls below.

Name: Monica Mikhael Monica Mikhael
Role at Cancer Council NSW: Community Programs Coordinator
How long you have worked at Cancer Council NSW: I started as a volunteer in 2010
Favourite part of your job: working for a worthy cause with inspirational people
How you work with volunteers: I have worked with lots of volunteers over a number of programs including supportive care, fundraising, prevention and advocacy. Working with these dedicated individuals has to be one of the most rewarding parts of my job. I am privileged to have had the opportunity to meet and work alongside such incredible people.
A random fact about you: Not sure how random it is…but I am a mega Harry Potter fan. I am still slightly devastated that I never received my Hogwarts letter!

Name: Hayley Hornitzky  Hayley Hornitzky
Role at Cancer Council NSW: Regional Administrator
How long you have worked at Cancer Council NSW: 2 years
Favourite part of your job: Working at events with supporters and volunteers
How you work with volunteers: Manage interns/volunteers in the office, working with event volunteers and supporting RFL committees.
One thing I have learnt recently: Every conversation counts.


Mission Moment: SCAN turns 5!

SCAN leaders Jamie Seymour and Amber Reid with birthday cake

This July, Sydney Cancer Advocacy Network (SCAN) held a big birthday celebration to mark its 5th year milestone. The group formed in 2012 following Unite 4 Change conference in Sydney, when a bunch of passionate advocates from across Central and Southern Sydney agreed to meet regularly to work on a brand new state-wide campaign to get the NSW Government to improve sun protection in primary schools. Since then, SCAN has worked to improve parking arrangements for patients and carers at Lifehouse and to curb smoking outside the Sydney Children’s Hospital. It has campaigned successfully to get the NSW Government to abolish the chemotherapy co-payment. It has pushed the Health Minister to improve the regulations of e-cigarettes. Most recently, SCAN has played a pivotal role in the recent I Care for Palliative Care campaign that resulted in the NSW Government allocating an additional $100 million to enhance palliative care across NSW. A huge thanks to every member of SCAN who help us beat cancer through their contribution to advocacy. A special thanks to the current SCAN leaders, Jamie Seymour and Amber Reid for continuously providing their leadership, guidance, passion and support to SCAN.


Fundraising Focus: Relay for Life Leadership Summit 
Relay For Life volunteers connect, inspire and empower

The Campaigns Team in conjunction with staff from each of the Regional offices across NSW, executed the annual Relay For Life Leadership Summit over the weekend of 22-23 July in Metro Sydney. The Relay For Life summit is a chance for our staff, committee members and volunteer leaders to get together to connect, inspire and empower. It was a chance to celebrate and recognise their incredible contribution to the Relay For Life community they have made over the past year. It was a chance to connect with other Relay For Life staff and volunteers, and to be inspired as ideas and stories were shared throughout each session. There was also a chance to celebrate our achievements at the awards celebration with special mention to Sutherland Shire Relay For Life winning the Embracing Chance and Innovation category for the Metro Sydney regional award. It was a humbling experience, with new connections made and learnings to take away for all to implement and grow Relay For Life in each of our communities.


Volunteer Profile: Tony Breinl – Volunteer Community Speaker in Metro Sydney and Greater Western Sydney Region.
Tony Breinl

On retirement from my career as a hospital scientist in the haematology laboratory of a large public hospital I required an occupation. When I discovered that Cancer Council needed volunteer Community Speakers it took me back forty years to when, after much searching, I found hospital science as a career and realised ‘This Was It’. It had happened again – I had found my job in retirement. My time in the lab had been mostly spent at a microscope looking at blood films and bone marrow preparations for abnormal cells, or for the changes that indicate a particular disease. I therefore acquired a fair amount of knowledge about cancer along the way.

Over five years of giving presentations to a diverse range of groups – community, corporate and the like, acting as a kind of missionary dispensing a health gospel in terms of cancer – what it is, prevention, living with it, research and the role of Cancer Council NSW in all this. And I have found these talks immensely rewarding. I particularly enjoy talking through an interpreter to non- English speaking groups. I feel I am a link between them and the wider community, although some of them have difficulty in believing I actually volunteer.

Talk attendee: “You’re a volunteer?”
Me: “Yes.”
Attendee: “How much are you paid?”
Me: “I’m not paid – I’m a volunteer.”
Attendee: “Yes, I understand that, but how much do they pay you to be a volunteer?”
Me: “Volunteers are not paid.”
And so on. I am not sure I have been entirely believed.

I vividly remember my first presentation, jointly with another first time speaker. It was to the Filippine-Australia Friendship Association, held in a large hall in Fairfield. It was a large hall because there were 175 of them. 175! That we were apprehensive was an understatement but it went well, and it remains a personal record for me attendance wise.

I have talked to diverse groups. To the outdoor staff of the Royal Botanic Gardens (on sun protection), to the deck crew of a CSR bulk sugar carrier (ditto), to newly arrived immigrants from other countries at the Coogee Life Saving Club (sun protection again). I once gave a talk to a group of mixed SE Asian folk with not one, not two but four (four!) interpreters, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Arabic and Mandarin/Cantonese – this guy was especially busy as he had to translate in both dialects. They divided the 40 or so attendees into language groups, each with their own interpreter, I gave a digestible fragment of the talk and the curse of Babel descended on the group as each interpreter translated to his/her group. But it was all a lot of fun.

And these guys thank the speaker in the only way they know – they feed you. I have partaken of many and varied national dishes with the group watching intently to see if I like it. I generally do. 

So these are the random and disconnected jottings from a volunteer speaker who really loves his job and feels privileged to be doing it. I would even consider paying to do it, though no-one is to tell the Fundraising Division at Cancer Council NSW lest they feel they have discovered a new and innovative way of fundraising.

Tony is a valued member of the Metro Sydney Team. He does a wonderful job at ensuring the community is kept up-to-date with the latest cancer information and the progress we are making at Cancer Council NSW. He is a great representative of the organisation and inspires his audiences to take action to beat cancer. I am inspired by Tony’s energy and passion for the cause and we look forward to continuing to work with him to mobilise the community and to make great strides, each and every day to defeat cancer.  – Elise Cameron, Volunteering and Partnerships Coordinator.


Volunteer Opportunity: Eat It to Beat It Facilitators

 Are you willing to volunteer a small amount of time each month to facilitate healthy eating sessions to parents of primary school children? Cancer Council NSW’s Eat It To Beat It program runs free healthy eating sessions and workshops for parents of primary school age children, helping them to understand why fruit and vegetables are so important.

We’re currently seeking enthusiastic and confident volunteers with an interest in nutrition to volunteer in the Metro Sydney community. Our next Program Facilitator training in this region is scheduled for 12 September from 9am to 5pm in the Metro Sydney Region. To learn more about this opportunity and to submit an application please click here.



North Sydney Local Supports Daffodil Day.


Cassie Wallace, Customer Service Attendant at NORTHS League Club, has signed up for a Team Leader role on this year’s Daffodil Day. Cassie will lead volunteers in selling Cancer Council fresh daffodils, pins and merchandise at the North Sydney Daffodil Day stall.

“I got involved with Cancer Council’s Daffodil Day to show my support for those affected by cancer, to remember those that have passed away from cancer, and to be thankful for those who have survived.   

Over the last few years many colleagues at NORTHS have had friends and family members pass away from cancer. We have seen the devastating impact that cancer has had on our loved ones and the long and often painful journey those affected by cancer take. It’s a great feeling to be able to give back to the community and raise funds for Cancer Council. The more people get involved in Daffodil Day, the more we can do to work together towards a cancer-free future.

“I’d encourage people from Northern Sydney to get involved in any way they can, whether that involves buying a daffodil, visiting a Daffodil Day site, or joining me as a team leader,” said Cassie.


Bexley Resident’s ‘Cut For Cancer’

Elizabeth before.

Elizabeth before.

Bexley resident, Elizabeth Mauwa, has ‘cut right to the chase’ to help beat cancer. On 29 June, Elizabeth shaved her hair off to raise money and awareness for Cancer Council NSW.

Elizabeth said that she signed up for Cancer Council NSW’s Do It For Cancer program because she wanted to fundraise in a way that would include a personal challenge.

Elizabeth after.

Elizabeth after.

“I probably dared myself to do this more than there being an actual reason. When I started reading up on the stats though, it was cemented as something I was going to do. It also got me wondering how many people in my home country, Zimbabwe, were never diagnosed but died from cancer.

“Amazingly most people I spoke to at work had a story of someone close to them that had either beat cancer into remission or unfortunately lost their life to cancer.

“I got so many good wishes from people who were affected by cancer in some way, so that definitely made me hope that my little money would go some way to making a difference.

“I am proud to say that I have surpassed my fundraising goal and raised nearly $3,500 to help beat cancer,” said Ms Mauwa.


ENRICHing Survivorship in Metro Sydney


Lily Gubbay was diagnosed with cystic adenoid carcinoma in May 2015. Fortunately, Lily’s cancer detection happened early and the adenoid cystic carcinoma was successfully removed.

Lily participated in Cancer Council NSW’s ENRICHing Survivorship program earlier this year in Sydney’s Inner West. The program provided Lily with a range of nutrition information, involvement in physical activity and practical information, and discussion about adjusting to life following cancer treatment.

“The impact cancer has on your life is enormous. Being part of the ENRICHing Survivorship program allowed me to connect with other people who had been through similar experience, and then work together with professionals to improve our health. I enjoyed the program’s nutrition and diet advice, which allowed me to not just focus on the cancer but how to get back into my normal life,” said Lily.


Ann and Nigel ‘climb for cancer’ and raise $5,000


Ann and Nigel Leadbitter have safely returned home after visiting the North Face of Mount Everest in order to raise money for Cancer Council NSW. The Leadbitter’s have both lost a parent to cancer, and in late 2015, Ann’s brother Chris passed away from cancer at the young age of 54. In honour of Chris, their parents, and others who are affected by cancer, the Leadbitter’s were determined to climb the highest mountain range in the world to help beat cancer.

“It’s fair to say we’ve done some hard stuff in our travels, but I don’t think anything will ever come near to Everest. We’ve spent quite a bit of time reflecting on our journey and what we have achieved – standing at a place where only 200 people each year stand, hanging out with inspiring people, sleeping in multiple sleeping bags with every bit of clothing we had, and setting a new personal altitude record of 6,600m.

“Best of all, we reached our fundraising goal and raised $5,000 to help beat cancer,” said Nigel.


Previous Metro Region news:


Temporary Changes to the Metro Team

Our Regional Manager, Lauren McAlister, has recently commenced a three month secondment as Strategic Projects Manager for CEPD. This is a very exciting opportunity for Lauren, and as a result Jess Green, Community Engagement Manager for Mission has stepped into Lauren’s role as Acting Regional Manager. Jeny Gautam has also taken on higher duties and will be supporting our mission work as Community Engagement Manager for programs.

Lauren, Jess and Jeny will continue to work closely together to ensure our great work in Metro Sydney continues.


Meet the Team | Hannah Langman and Becky Dadswell

Hannah and Becky revised

Hannah and Becky.

This month we introduce you to our newest team member, Hannah Langman and our longest standing team member, Becky Dadswell.  Becky and Hannah work together in our Northern Sydney sub-community.

We would like to welcome Hannah Langman as the new Community Programs Coordinator in Metro Sydney, Hannah will focus her work on the Northern Beaches and Lower North Shore.

Hannah brings with her a wealth of experience gained in various roles with Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry National Office, Red Cross Blood Service and Canberra Hospital. Hannah has a Bachelor in Human Nutrition, and will have completed her Masters of Public Health in 2018.

We’re very impressed with her relationship and stakeholder management skills, her passion to work in a community facing role and all round positive and energetic personality! I believe she’ll be great fit for Metro, and I know she’s looking forward to meeting our fantastic team of volunteers! – Jess Green


Name: Hannah Langman      

Role at CCNSW: Community Programs Coordinator Northern Sydney.

How long you have worked at CCNSW: Four weeks.

Favourite part of your job: Meeting inspirational people in the community and working with such motivated, warm hearted people.

How you work with volunteers: I will engage with volunteers on a daily basis both at the Northern Cancer Institute, where I will manage a group of volunteers that will assist patients as they receive chemotherapy treatment and I will empower advocacy volunteers that act as MP liaison’s, as well as those who are members of the Northern Sydney Cancer Action Network.

A random fact about you: Three items that are still on my bucket list include travelling along the coast of America, adopting a rescue dog, and buying a property.


Name: Becky Dadswell

Role at CCNSW: Community Relations Coordinator.

How long you have worked at CCNSW: 8 years.

Favourite part of your job: The people and their dedication.

How you work with volunteers: A lot of my role over the years has been in working with volunteer committees and community supporters. They assist us with running our events or run their own and my role is to support them.

A random fact about you: I love circus arts like hula hooping and fire spinning.

What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time? Crochet, I love crochet and wish I had more time for it. It can be very relaxing and Zen-like.


Mission Moment | Palliative Care Win

New South Wales Minister for Health and the Minister for Medical Research Brad Hazzard, pledging his support for Cancer Council NSW’s I Care for Palliative Care Campaign.

New South Wales Minister for Health and the Minister for Medical Research Brad Hazzard, pledging his support for Cancer Council NSW’s I Care for Palliative Care Campaign.

We’d like to say a huge “Thank you” to our Metro Sydney volunteers and community for supporting Cancer Council NSW’s I Care for Palliative Care Campaign. Cancer Council NSW welcomes the news that the NSW government will invest $100 million into palliative care services. This is fantastic news, and we would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the incredible work of our community in ensuring this issue was in the hearts and minds of our politicians. Please extend our thanks to all of your networks who also supported this campaign.


Fundraising Focus | Stars of the North raises $138,000 for Cancer Council NSW

Stars of the North celebrating their fundraising success.

Stars of the North celebrating their fundraising success.

A big “Thank you” goes out to the Northern Sydney community for coming together on 24 June at NORTHS Leagues Club to fundraise as part of the second annual Stars of the North dance gala.

The fundraising event which raised a total of more than $138,000 for Cancer Council NSW, saw a line-up of 12 local business people, community leaders and cancer survivors paired with local dance instructors to learn a routine in a selected genre.  

Luke Simmons, the CEO of NORTHS, was a crowd favourite with his upbeat hip-hop routine, taking away the ‘People’s Choice Award’ by raising $1,070 on the night alone. Luke also took home the trophy as the overall winner of Stars of the North 2017 in first place for ‘Judge’s Choice’ by the event’s high profile panel of judges including Gail Giles-Gidney (Willoughby Mayor), Joanne Middonte (Co-Owner of Arthur Murray Crows Nest) and Deni Hines (Australian singer and songwriter).

Chairman of North Sydney Innovation Network and Squirrel Street, Jono Herrman, who performed a classic waltz, won the ‘Highest Fundraiser Award’, raising a phenomenal amount at just over $34,700.

Well done to the Northern Sydney stars for putting on an amazing show and giving their all to raise funds and a massive thank you to all the volunteers who helped make this event such a success. 


Volunteer Profile | Michelle Towns,  Information and Support volunteer at St George Hospital’s Cancer Council Information Service

Here is our lovely Michelle Town’s with her MP Lee Evans, both showing their support at one of our fundraising events- Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea.

Here is our lovely Michelle Town’s with her MP Lee Evans, both showing their support at one of our fundraising events- Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea.

I first started as a Volunteer for Cancer Council NSW in early 2011 when I applied to be part of the team that opened the Cancer Council Information Centre (CCIC) at The St George Hospital. Right from the start, with the initial training to take up this role, I realised that Cancer Council NSW looked after their volunteers. I was enjoying my role as well as the engagement with patients, carers and hospital staff so when a vacancy appeared on the SunSmart program I decided to become part of that team too.

My supervisor for this role was Mark Ludbrooke who was just as supportive as the Community Programs Coordinator who looked after us at CCIC. It was a fun program to be part of as I was able to drive to many primary schools in the Metro region and talk to their staff about implementing SunSmart. Somehow, I was also approached by another Cancer Council NSW Co-ordinator to become an MP Liaison. So now I’m also part of the Advocacy network, again with fantastic support from Carolyn Grenville.

I love being able to help people who are going through a tough time and feel good when I’ve been able to put a smile on someone’s face. I’m passionate about the changes Cancer Council NSW have been able to achieve.

However, I also like being organised and help out with behind the scenes work such as updating procedures and training new volunteers. Throughout my time with Cancer Council NSW I have had a number of different supervisors but the one overriding thing they all have in common is the support they give their volunteers.

My first line of contact now is Alex Koukoumas, Community Programs Coordinator (Southern Sydney, Metro Sydney) and like the others, no question is too silly for her to answer and her support and advice go a long way in making me very happy to be a volunteer with Cancer Council NSW.  – Michelle Towns

Since I’ve started managing the Cancer Council Information Service (CCIS) at St George Hospital, Michelle has been a key volunteer. She has assisted me with updating our procedures manual, checklists, training up new volunteers and liaising with staff members in the hospital, in addition to her role. She has been a joy to work with as she is very easy going, down to earth, full of experience and flexible to changes we have had in the centre.

A note from Alex:

In addition to Michelle’s own words, I also work with her volunteering in another capacity as a Member of Parliament Liaison (MPL) where she takes crucial issues that we are advocating on to her local MP Lee Evans as a member in his electorate. She has been very supportive in all our campaigns and is always willing to help out and learn more. Michelle has flourished in both roles and is seen as a leader for other CCIC volunteers and her fellow MPLs.  – Alex Koukoumas, Community Programs Coordinator


Volunteer Opportunity | Event Administration and Support Volunteer

Looking to gain experience, or have skills to share, in administration and/or events?  We would love for you to join our team as an Events & Administration Volunteer.

You can learn more about this opportunity and apply here



Northern Beaches Palliative Care Launch, hosted by Northern Suburbs Cancer Action Network

Cancer Council NSW staff Jess Green and Carolyn Grenville, NSCAN Chair, Liz Hing and MC Phil Gough.

Cancer Council NSW staff Jess Green and Carolyn Grenville, NSCAN Chair, Liz Hing and MC Phil Gough.

On Tuesday 16 May, Cancer Council NSW had the opportunity with local advocacy network, Northern Suburbs Cancer Action Network, and Chair Liz Hing, to host a Palliative Care Campaign Launch at Dee Why RSL.

The night was an absolute success. We had approximately 148 people attend, including the NSW Minister for Health and Member for Wakehurst, Brad Hazzard, and Member for Manly, James Griffin. For those volunteers who have participated in our Advocacy training, it was a great example of snow flaking!

Audience at Palliative Care Launch

Importantly the night could not have been such a success without the commitment, determination and passion of our local volunteers and advocates.

A huge “Thank you” to all those involved – thank you to those who spoke, managed RSVPs, printed name tags, collected pledges, took photos, provided gifts and donations, those who kept time, and wrote media articles! Thank you to those that MC’d, mingled, collected pledges, who brought friends, who put all the gift bags together. THANK YOU.

Importantly, thank you to Liz Hing, who has Chaired Northern Suburbs Cancer Action Network for over five years, and brings so much energy, passion and inspiration to all of our meetings and activities.

It was an incredibly moving event, and we will continue to campaign for a positive outcome for Palliative Care.


Meet the Team | Rashmi Nara and Alex Koukoumas

Alex and Rashmi - Meet the Team

This month we meet Metro Sydney team members Rashmi Naran and Alex Koukoumas.  Alex and Rashmi work together in Southern Sydney on the management and implementation of community based programs and events.


Name: Rashmi Naran

Role at CCNSW: Community Relations Coordinator

How long you have worked at CCNSW: 19 months

Favourite part of your job: My volunteers – they are such an incredible bunch of people, and I’m so humbled by their efforts and how much they give back.

How you work with volunteers: I work with volunteers (organising committee and interns) on a daily basis in my role to put together both the Sutherland Shire and Sydney Relay For Life. I really enjoy working with them to engage with each of the relevant communities and empower them to stage a successful event.

What are three things still left on your bucket list?

  • Trek to Everest Base Camp
  • Go on a volunteering holiday
  • Run an ultramarathon


Name: Alex Koukoumas

Role at CCNSW: Community Programs Coordinator

How long you have worked at CCNSW: 10 months

Favourite part of your job: Being able to represent Cancer Council in my local community. I also love working with the people in my team and larger organisation.

How do you work with volunteers: I work with volunteers on a daily basis in various roles: Cancer Council Information Service, Member of Parliament Liaisons, interns and Relay committee members. I enjoy working alongside them to make sure they know they can always approach me about anything that is concerning them and I am there to listen and help.

What are three things still left on your bucket list?

  • Travel to Greek Islands and Maldives
  • Get married
  • Have kids!


Fundraising Focus |Sutherland Shire Relay raises more than $300K

On 6 and 7 May, more than 1700 walkers, runners and supporters arrived at Don Lucas Reserve at Wanda Beach to support Cancer Council NSW and take part in the 2017 Sutherland Shire Relay for Life.


Highlights of the weekend included the opening ceremony being kicked off with our ribbon cutter being driven in a vintage car around the track, our survivors and carers being treated to a ‘High Tea By the Sea’ themed morning tea, and a variety of activities for children and adults including pony rides, a petting zoo, bungy jumping and mini jeep rides.

There were also food trucks, an ‘I Care For Palliative Care’ campaign launch, an INXS tribute band, and a heart-warming story shared at Candlelight Ceremony where there wasn’t a single dry-eyed face in the event.

Massive thanks to the incredible committee of more than 30 volunteers who have dedicated their hearts and souls into putting this Relay together, especially with relocating the Relay to a new venue after 15 years. Also a special thanks to our major sponsors Sutherland Shire Council and Tradies for helping us put on this event.


Volunteer Opportunity | Hornsby Relay For Life Event Committee Leadership Team

The Metro Sydney Team is seeking dynamic and enthusiastic volunteers to join the Hornsby Relay For Life Event Committee as part of the Leadership Team.

As a Relay For Life team leader and committee member you will be an advocate for this unique event. You will work with the Organising Committee to promote, organise and run the event on the day, which will be held on 4-5 November, 2017.

This role will run from July – November, with the opportunity to be ongoing or transition to other roles within the committee.

If you would like to learn more about this opportunity, please click here or contact Becky Dadswell on (02) 9334 1459 or


Volunteer Profile |Christine Saraff

Christine Saraff at Sutherland Shire Relay

Volunteer Role: Event Administration and Support Volunteer

What is your background? I am currently in my last semester at University of Technology Sydney, majoring in event management, and have been involved in various events across Sydney. My growing involvement in the events sector has been a natural progression for me as I hope to pursue a career as an event manager for both public and non-profit events.

What does your Volunteer Work Involve? My role involves providing administration support for both the Sydney and Sutherland Relay For Life. Tasks range from contacting participants, assisting with stocktake of event merchandise, preparing/updating various event documents, and assisting in the information tent on event days.

Why did you choose to volunteer at Cancer Council NSW? I chose to volunteer at Cancer Council NSW mainly because of a personal connection that I have with cancer, as my brother was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and has since passed away. By getting involved with Cancer Council NSW, I feel that I have been able to give back in some way and indirectly support those on their own cancer journey.  

What do you enjoy most about volunteering? I’ve enjoyed the inclusive and supportive team environment that is fostered and encouraged in the office, as well as having the opportunity to acquire practical skills and knowledge in event administration.

What work have you done at Cancer Council NSW that you are most proud of or excited about? Being at the event and supporting the team on the day has been the most exciting aspect, as it’s opened my eyes as to how supportive and generous both local communities are in supporting the cause. It also indicates that those in the wider community are equally generous. It’s heartwarming to know that when the going gets tough, we can all get together and support a worthy cause.


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