Northern NSW volunteer news

A big thank you

Daff Day - Brunswick Heads2

Daffodil Day 2017 was another amazing fundraising event for Cancer Council NSW.  In its 31st year, Daffodil Day is actually one of the largest fundraising events in the Southern Hemisphere.  People across the Northern Region showed their support for the people they know (or even those   they don’t know) who have been affected by cancer.

Thank you to all of our Daffodil Day Team Leaders and Volunteers across the Northern NSW, Coffs and Mid North Coasts and New England and North West regions for dedicating your time and energy to this event.  Your commitment to selling our fresh daffodils and merchandise, and spreading our messages is very much appreciated.

We understand that a great deal of planning goes into running a Daffodil Day site.  We are also very lucky that many of our team leaders have been working on this event for many years – thank you for your continued support and running your site like a “well oiled machine”!  This year, we were also lucky enough to have some new team leaders take on the challenge of running their local site.  We thank you for “stepping up” and making it happen this year – without you, we may have had to cancel some integral community sites.

 “This year, collectively our wonderful team leaders managed over 1,000 volunteers across 161 sites across the Northern region. The funds raised are being banked and calculated at the moment and we are looking forward to celebrating our fundraising outcomes later this month.  Last year, Cancer Council NSW raised $2.1 million dollars for vital cancer research, prevention programs, support services and advocacy campaigns that directly benefit people across our region. Team leaders and all volunteers are an integral part of Daffodil Day and without them, we would not be able to raise the amount of funds that we do,” Rhian Paton – Kelly, Regional Manager for Northern NSW said.

We hope that you all enjoyed the rewards and challenges of Daffodil Day this year and we look forward to sharing the good news of fundraising outcomes in the next Volunteer Voice.  Many thanks!

Daff Day - Mid North Coast2

Daff Day - Moree2


The Stars of Lismore – Dance For Cancer a huge success raising $78,828!

Stars - Adam Boyce2

The second Stars of Lismore – Dance For Cancer was held on Saturday 5 August at the Lismore Workers Club to an audience of almost 650 people.  The final fundraising tally has come in with the event raising $78,828!

11 brave local stars wowed the audience with their show stopping and well-rehearsed dance routines, which they have been practicing for almost 6 months.

“The stars and their talented teachers put on fantastic and varied performances in all genres and really wowed the crowd,” said Abby Wallace Cancer Council NSW Community Relations Coordinator, Northern Rivers.

“The stars and teachers shared an incredible journey together they will never forget. They donated their time to raise money for their community for a great cause, and got completely out of their comfort zones to do it, and that is truly amazing,” said Ms Wallace.

The night kicked off with the opening act dance performance with all of the stars and teachers, and were joined on stage by the guest judges as a special surprise. The judge’s choice was awarded to Rhiannan Beardow from Karen Ireland Dance Centre and Katrina Beohm from Katrina Beohm Real Estate.

The sought after people’s choice award went to Nathan White from Bank of Queensland, Lismore and Roisin Francis from Jump Shake Dance. The Highest fundraiser award went to Dr Adam Boyce from Oncology North Coast who raised a staggering $10,528, with support from his teacher Serena Joy from Atre Gitana.

Funds raised this year will help continue to fund world class research, patient support services such as the Cancer Council transport to treatment service in Lismore, plus much more locally, all thanks to the community support and stars and teachers giving up their time to get groovy on stage.

Stars - Lauren Wild2

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Helping Our Next Generation of Healthy Youngsters

Children from the Home Interaction Programs for Parents and Youngsters are enjoying their healthy lunch boxes full of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Children from the Home Interaction Programs for Parents and Youngsters are enjoying their healthy lunch boxes full of fresh fruit and vegetables.

What a successful financial year for Eat It To Beat It in Northern. With the support of all our program facilitators, the nutrition unit and local community, we have reached 1,217 parents through nutrition workshops, exceeding the target by 93 parents.

The feedback from the community has also been positive and encouraging.

Parents are able to make changes in their homes to increase the fruit and veg intake of their families.

“The Eat It To Beat It program has helped my kids become more involved with meals. My kids love their fruit and carrot sticks and healthy sandwiches. They flip through the book for other healthy options. It’s really helpful and the kids enjoy packing their own healthy lunch boxes now,” said a mother of two from Northern NSW.


Kerry Celebrates End of Chemo


Kerrie with her big heart raising money as she celebrated the end of her chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer.

When Kerrie O’Sullivan was diagnosed with breast cancer, her close-knit group of girlfriends flocked around her to support her in every step of her cancer journey.

They cooked for her, they would take it in turns to take her to chemo, and would sit with her during every treatment. They would throw weekly get-togethers, coffee dates, walks and girls’ nights in to keep her mind occupied and to help her stay positive.

Her friend Lisa Thomas got the first fundraising ball rolling, organising with a local restaurant a girls pink lunch followed by her getting a tattoo to mark the journey they were all about to embark on together with Kerrie.

After nine months of treatment Kerry had her final chemotherapy session in May 2017, and along with her girlfriends organised an end of chemo celebration fundraising dinner raising over $1,600 to help Cancer Council NSW support other woman not so lucky to have the great support network Kerrie had during her journey.

Kerrie still has a long way to go in her journey.

After her diagnosis Kerrie found out she carries the BRCA gene and has just had a double mastectomy to try to help reduce her chancers of the breast cancer returning.

“Staying positive and strong was the only option I had. The girls would not let me think any other way. The support network I had got me through my worst days. Now coming out the other side I want to help other women in any way I can just like my wonderful friends helped me,” said Kerrie.


Rotary Club of Tamworth First Light supports Inala House

inala house donation

Cancer Council’s Inala House located on the grounds of Tamworth Rural Referral Hospital provides cost-neutral accommodation for cancer patients and their carers when travelling to treatment in Tamworth.

Generous donations from the community mean that we can continue providing this vital service. Thanks to the Rotary Club of Tamworth First Light who presented us with $8,500 to update the bathroom vanities in the house.

Patients often stay for many weeks at a time whilst undergoing treatment, and this upgrade will make a significant improvement to the house, often seen as a home away from home.

To learn more about ways you can support Cancer Council NSW go to


More support for ‘I Care For Palliative Care’ campaign


Mitch Williams lost his mum, Di, to cancer in 2015 and vowed that he would work to improve access to palliative care in his local area to ensure no one had to go through the same experience as them.

Living in Tamworth, he discovered that while the hospital had a fantastic palliative care unit, there was only one palliative care nurse to service patients who wanted to pass away at home and the whole area was serviced by only one part-time physician.

Whilst Di was surrounded by the support of her family, and even though the palliative care nurse was wonderful, it was sometimes two to three days between visits due to a huge geographical area and the nurse having 70-80 patients on their books at the time.

We are so grateful for the support Mitch has given Cancer CouncilNSW working on the ‘I Care for Palliative Care’ campaign.


Previous Northern NSW Region news:


MP congratulates Manning Valley Relay For Life Committee on grant approval

The Manning Valley Relay For Life Volunteer Committee are thanked for their contributions by Dr David Gillespie, Federal Member for Lyne. Pictured in photo from left to right: Katie Mead – Cancer Council Community Relations Coordinator for the Lower Mid North Coast Lance Scriven – Manning Valley RFL Committee Chair Julie Blanch – Manning Valley RFL Committee Ceremonies Coordinator Kevin Ballard – Manning Valley RFL Committee Entertainment Coordinator Dr David Gillespie – Federal Member for Lyne Hayley King – Manning Valley RFL Committee Sponsorship Coordinator Bruce King – Manning Valley RFL Committee Logistics Coordinator.

The Manning Valley Relay For Life Volunteer Committee are thanked for their contributions by Dr David Gillespie, Federal Member for Lyne.
Pictured in photo from left to right:
Katie Mead – Cancer Council Community Relations Coordinator for the Lower Mid North Coast
Lance Scriven – Manning Valley RFL Committee Chair
Julie Blanch – Manning Valley RFL Committee Ceremonies Coordinator
Kevin Ballard – Manning Valley RFL Committee Entertainment Coordinator
Dr David Gillespie – Federal Member for Lyne
Hayley King – Manning Valley RFL Committee Sponsorship Coordinator
Bruce King – Manning Valley RFL Committee Logistics Coordinator.

The Manning Valley Relay For Life Committee were indeed honoured to have the Federal Member for Lyne, the Honourable Dr. David Gillespie, in attendance at their debriefing meeting.

Dr. Gillespie attended the meeting to congratulate the committee and the Committee Chair, Lance Scriven, on successfully securing a sizeable grant. This very welcome grant was provided by the Department of Social Services to assist the volunteer committee with the expenses associated with holding the Manning Valley Relay For Life. These funds enable the committee to obtain resources and services that enhance the volunteer experience for all involved in the Relay For Life events.

“The whole community, the Commonwealth government and myself really appreciate the commitment of Relay For Life organisers and participants for all the things that they do to raise money for cancer sufferers and Cancer Council NSW,” stated Dr Gillespie.

The Manning Valley Relay For Life Committee Chair, Lance Scriven said, “the Manning Valley Relay and the funds raised enables the continuity of Cancer Council’s free Transport to Treatment service where cancer patients who would struggle to get to treatment no longer have that worry.

“Local cancer patients can also access our free Legal and Financial Planning Services who assist with cancer-related financial issues such as getting early access to superannuation or insurance benefits, dealing with mortgage hardship and advising on Centrelink, debt management and budgeting.

“Additionally, monies raised at Relay helps Cancer Council NSW investigate new ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer, to educate people in our community about ways to reduce their cancer risk and to support people during their times of greatest need.

“Nearly 30% more Australians are alive today, thanks to events like Relay, who would have otherwise died from cancer over 20 years ago. We have come a long way and couldn’t have done it without the support of the Manning Valley community, but we still need your ongoing support to help achieve a cancer-free world.”


Altruistic Reasons for Volunteering

Art Beavis is part of the Advocacy Team for the Cancer Council NSW, Northern Rivers.

Art Beavis, Advocate for Cancer Council, Northern Rivers.

One of our dedicated Advocates and Member of Parliament Liaisons. Art Beavis, 78, has been volunteering with Cancer Council NSW for eight years and says he believes people volunteer to give back to the community.

“In my case, I do it for the Cancer Council, because I believe the fight against cancer needs all the help it can get. People like me have skills that we can use. My background is marketing and community speaking, so that’s the way I can play a part, and it’s very rewarding,” Mr Beavis said.

A recent study by Apia found that over fifty percent of Australians over 50 engage in volunteering in the community. Nine out of ten volunteers in NSW over 50 say they engage in volunteering for altruistic reasons. The most common reason being to contribute to their community (67%), with many of them reporting that they believe it’s the most meaningful.

“I do think that it is the sort of activity that attracts the people in that age bracket because essentially a lot of us are retired or semi-retired, and we have time on our hands. Whereas younger people live very busy lives and often can’t spare the time,” Mr Beavis said.

Mr Beavis, from Lismore, said people over 50 have a lot of life experience to share: “Young people haven’t got that experience yet so they’re not as likely to be able to make the same sort of contribution.” 

Geoff Keogh, Head of Apia Customer Value, said these statistics are a true testament to our retirees’ commitment to helping others.

“Australians over 50 have at least half a century of experience to offer, and it’s pretty remarkable that over half of this demographic are putting their skills and knowledge towards a worthwhile cause,” Mr Keogh said.


Dancing up a Storm!

Special thanks to our dancers, Danny Salfield from Bay FM, Amanda Allen from Byron Crossfit, Basil Cameron (Byron Shire Council), Jo O’Connor from Suffolk Park Post Office and Kim Dowling from the Ocean Shores Tavern. And their dance teachers, Hayley Sturgess (Dance Lab AU), Candice Leigh (Pole Catz), Susan Tsicalas (Brunswick Bootscooters), Clement Moana (Passada) and Ish (Funky Moves).

Special thanks to our dancers, Danny Salfield from Bay FM, Amanda Allen from Byron Crossfit, Basil Cameron (Byron Shire Council), Jo O’Connor from Suffolk Park Post Office and Kim Dowling from the Ocean Shores Tavern. And their dance teachers, Hayley Sturgess (Dance Lab AU), Candice Leigh (Pole Catz), Susan Tsicalas (Brunswick Bootscooters), Clement Moana (Passada) and Ish (Funky Moves).

On Saturday 17 June, five local stars performed in front of a strong crowd at the Mullumbimby Ex-Services Club for the Stars of Byron fundraising event. Business owners and other notable characters from the Byron Shire joined forces with some of our local and fabulously talented dance teachers to put on a spectacular display of salsa, hip hop, pole and line dancing! The night was a fabulous success, everyone who attended raved about the entertainment, location and food.

“It was so wonderful to see all of the Stars and Dancers efforts come together and be such a great success,” said Talita, one of our on the night volunteers.

Stars of Byron Shire Dance For Cancer is a fantastically unique event that really is for the Stars and Dancers. The community effort to get behind Cancer Council NSW and all that we do is remarkable and we couldn’t continue what we do without you.


Dancing up a Storm! …continued

tamworth stars

Last Saturday night Tamworth Town Hall was filled to breaking, the palpable excitement could be felt for miles. The Stars of Tamworth Dance for Cancer 2017, one of Cancer Council NSW’s newest fund raising initiatives, was about to begin.

With a flurry of feathers and a twinkle of sequins, ten Tamworth local personalities and their designated dance professionals took to the stage.

John Hyde, Tracey Cullen, Malachi Schofield, Pat Burrows, Helen Rixon, Ella Smith, Matt Pritchard, Sam Treloar, Allison Forbes, Ed Acosta and Emily Roy found repertoires that tangoed, two-stepped and displayed unforgettable toe-tapping delights to watching family, friends and colleagues.

Tamworth City Dance Academy and Cherie Gaites of Dancing for Fun and Fitness donated hours of their time to aid the dancers in the lead up to the big night, and it all deemed worth it – the competition was fierce.

Awards were divided into three categories – Judges Choice ( taken out by John Hyde, who incidentally was the only recipient of the ever elusive score of “10”), People’s Choice ( awarded to Sam Treloar for his fabulous two-step routine to a Bjork classic) and finally the Highest Fundraiser Award (given over to Helen Rixon).

All together our stars raised over $35,000 – a massive achievement.

Guest MC’s for the night Jon Wolfe, Jodie Crosby and Alyece Simmonds, ran the stage with fabulous commentary providing the perfect backdrop for the dancers – it was a night of outstanding fun, food and entertainment.

A staggering $60,000 of valuable funds were raised for Cancer Council NSW through this exciting new event. Tamworth Dance for Cancer has firmly etched its place on the Cancer Council calendar.


Getting to know… David Young, Cancer Support Group Leader


This month we had the pleasure of getting to know David Young, the cancer support group leader for two groups based in Byron Bay & Ballina.

David, 60, married with two grown up children, has lived in Byron Shire for over 20 years. About five years ago David was diagnosed with Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia, a type of Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Not long after, David established the Byron Cancer Support Group.

David is incredibly passionate about the delivery style of the groups.

“Support groups are such an important ‘healing’ platform. It can get emotional – it allows people, if they want to express themselves, whether that is laughing, shouting, crying or not saying anything – they can do that.

“It is often the only place where people can share how they are ‘really’ feeling and be properly understood by people in the same boat. It feels great that one is being really heard and understood.”

Thank you David for sharing your insights and passion with us.


Drivers continue to produce the goods


The year is 2001, Facebook wasn’t invented, we all had the post Olympic blues.

But in Taree a forward thinking group of volunteers decided to make a difference; so they commenced driving Cancer Patients to treatment.

Since that day and with the help of Cancer Council NSW, many of those drivers are still volunteering. This year we celebrated the 10 year volunteer service for Raymond and Reon, while Tony has been driving for 16 years.


Pam O’Shea hosts her final Biggest Morning Tea, having raised 25,000 for Cancer Council NSW


Local cancer sufferer Pam O’Shea knows just how important Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is for people affected by cancer. This year was particularly important to Pam, as it is likely to be her last event due to her illness. Pam graciously says:

“We host Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea to contribute, to local servicesand to research. I have cancer and I want to help people who are suffering the same as me. It means a lot to me knowing that I am doing something good and making a meaningful contribution to my local community.

“We had over 50 people from Chinderah attend our event. It means a lot to our community. So many people are affected, so the support is so strong.

“My friend Pattie Morgan and I have been organising this morning tea for eight years, in which time we have raised over $25,000 for Cancer Council NSW. We do it for everyone affected by cancer.

This year Pam and her amazing team raised $1,500. Well done Pam!

Pictured, Pam with her carer and loving husband.


Northern are Stars crazy!


The Northern team are crazy for ‘Stars Of’ – this year we have seven events happening.

We have all been getting creative and adding new elements to bring excitement to this great event. The great thing about ‘Stars Of’ is it brings together different personalities from the community. It’s a project that is innovative and unique which is why it is a favourite of our volunteers.

 “I’ve loved working on Stars of Byron Shire Dance For Cancer, getting to know all the Stars and dance teachers has been great. I can’t wait to see my baby come together on the night,” said Naomi, Event Intern for the Byron Bay office.

 Northern can’t wait for the next few months – start shining your dancing shoes!



Overcoming Bowel Cancer in Northern NSW


Cancer Council volunteer Rosslyn knows firsthand the impact of Bowel Cancer and the effect it has on individuals and families.

In 2012 Rosslyn was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and while the diagnoses was somewhat of a shock, mentally she was ready.

“I can remember anticipating the diagnoses, so when being told by the doctor the results, I was ready.”

After six hours of surgery and six months of chemotherapy, Rosslyn now lives with an ileostomy bag and has been given the all clear by doctors.  Since her final appointment Rosslyn now lives an active life, working with the Great Lakes Hospice group, supporting her family actively participating in the Great Lakes community, and enjoying her favourite sport, golf.

“I live life just as much now as I did prior to my diagnoses. We’ve come to accept cancer and we need to live with it. I encourage all my family members and everyone in the community to be aware of all the signs and have your checks regularly.”

Rosslyn is currently a Cancer Council NSW advocate volunteer, and a previous member of the Great Lakes Relay for Life committee. Of recent her engagement and support in our Palliative Care campaign is greatly appreciated. 

While June was Bowel Cancer awareness month. Rosslyn, as a bowel cancer survivor, takes a vital interest in increasing awareness, June and every month.


Armidale Cancer Council Information Service Team – 2017 New England Volunteer Team of the Year

armidale referral service

The Armidale Cancer Council Information Service (CCIS) Volunteers have been operating since November 2013 and work in the Armidale Rural Referral Hospital Oncology Department. The service currently has 10 committed volunteers working within this operation and these highly motivated volunteers assist cancer patients, carers and families while visiting their oncology specialists at Armidale Hospital.

The specially trained Cancer Council volunteers have been providing support and cups of coffee to those visiting the oncology department over the past three and a half years under difficult circumstances due to operational constraints within the oncology department and clinic protocols.

The operational issues saw the resignations of 80-90% of existing volunteers over this period through lack of engagement and inability to provide the service we know we could.

Thanks to the commitment of the volunteers within this service, and with the assistance of Armidale Hospital Oncology staff who recognised the threat of losing a valuable service to their patients and the Armidale and New England community, we were able to make some key operational changes and the service has subsequently gone from strength to strength.

There needs to be a special mention made to one of Armidale and Cancer Council NSW’s most valuable volunteers, Jo Dolan, for her enormous commitment to the cause in “hanging in there” over the entire life of the CCIS, and the only volunteer to do so. Jo is not only the longest serving CCIS volunteer but also a trained Advocate, Community Speaker, Support Group Leader and Relay For Life Committee member for Armidale.

The Armidale CCIS program has not only taught me the lessons of never giving up and working closely with those stakeholders in your community, but more importantly the value of our amazing and dedicated volunteers who join us every day in our fight to beat cancer and without their assistance we would not be able to achieve what we do in our communities.

Paul Hobson Community Engagement Coordinator, Northern Region – Tamworth Office


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