Western NSW volunteer news

10 Questions to ask

10 Qs

Mel Nixon, Community Programs Coordinator – Western NSW, was proud to represent Cancer Council NSW at the recent Albury Regional launch of the ‘10 questions’ series of pamphlets, to be made available online and throughout aged care and health facilities in NSW. The leaflet series, produced by NSW Nurses and Midwives Association in collaboration with the Aged Care Roundtable partner organisations, were created to make sure that people living in aged care facilities in NSW get the best care possible.

Two years ago, Cancer Council NSW made a submission to a government Inquiry into Registered nurses in nursing homes in NSW, as our Organisation feels strongly that a registered nurse should be on duty at all times. Cancer Council NSW will continue to advocate on this issue until we know that people with cancer who live, and die, in a nursing home can be cared for by a registered nurse if needed.

The pamphlets were written by Round table members and, while some content isn’t directly related to people with cancer, Cancer Council NSW was happy to endorse them. We believe they will empower potential residents, and their families, to ask questions about registered nurses in aged care facilities; and we know these are important questions to ask because, sadly, not all facilities will have them.

Bernadette Roberts (Senior Policy Analyst, Cancer Council NSW) co-authored one of the pamphlets launched, about palliative care in nursing homes. It was co-authored with Jo Russell, who works as a palliative care nurse practitioner in aged care in Sydney. To check out the series go to www.10questions.org.au/leaflets


Everyone has culture


Lucky Cancer Council NSW interns Abbie Melrose and Shannon Hall (pictured with Dougal in Daffodil Day glory), from the Wagga Wagga office, were recently given the opportunity to attend the “Everyone has Culture” Training in Griffith presented by Dr Roy Laube from the Transcultural Mental Health Centre.

The three hour workshop, supported by PHN Murrumbidgee, focused on teaching health professionals and clinicians about the relevance of culture to mental health practice, how mental health may differ for those from Cultural and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds, cultural expressions of seeking help and participating in treatment and the benefits of cross culturally skilled practice for health clinicians.

Abbie, a third year Social Work Student at Charles Sturt University felt as though she benefited a great deal from the workshop.

“As a future Social Worker, we will be practicing with a wide range of people.  All of them have stories to share, different cultures and different ways of living their lives”, Abbie commented. “One of the major learning experiences that I will carry into my future practice is the Transcultural mental health assessment checklist. Before I attended this workshop, I was unaware that a diagnostic tool had been developed to make sure that Cultural and Linguistically Diverse peoples received culturally informed assessments. This checklist will be invaluable to my future practice and will allow me to confidently cover all the necessary areas to provide appropriate culturally informed practice to my clients”.


Relay For Life Summit 2017

TheWesternNSWteamandRFLCommitteeMembersatth 115600 colour corrected

On Friday 21 July, 16 Relay For Life committee members accompanied five local staff members to the 2017 Relay For Life Summit; with over 138 volunteers and staff attending the event.

The event started with some networking over dinner, included a lively drumming session on the Saturday morning, and an even livelier Awards Dinner on the Saturday night.

In between the celebrations and relationship building, there was a lot of time spent on Relay For Life planning, information sharing, and building the foundations for a strong Relay For Life season going forward!

The weekend spent with our amazing Relay For Life volunteers really highlighted how privileged we are to have such engaged communities to produce such quality volunteers in each of our communities.

Lily and Greg at the 2017 Relay For Life Summit.

Lily and Greg at the 2017 Relay For Life Summit.

Welcome Back!


The Orange Office was abuzz with the return of staff member Bree Kelly, who has returned from her twelve month maternity leave back into her Community Relations Coordinator role.

She has very much enjoyed her time off with her new son, Tommy, but is ready to go for her events back in the office.

It also gave rise to a Thank You for Camilla Thompson (Community Programs Coordinator Western Region) who celebrated five years at Cancer Council NSW. She was thanked with a certificate signed by Jeff Mitchell.

Camilla started with the organisation as a Relay For Life Coordinator, moving into the programs role three years ago and enjoys every aspect of her role – especially Improve Your Long Game, where Camilla is well-known for her drive-drive hook (also known as the tree-top keeper).


Transport volunteer numbers increase

A recent 'Thank you' card.

A recent ‘Thank you’ card.

Twelve new volunteer drivers have joined the Orange Transport to Treatment program. Training took place on Monday 18 June.

The support we get from the local community is overwhelming. Volunteer driver numbers are almost sitting at 35 for the transport program now – as I am sure many of you can appreciate, the option to escape the winter months of Orange appeal to quite a few of our volunteer drivers, hence why we needed to increase our driver numbers!

Our transport program continues to receive ‘thank you’ cards, donations and phone calls from both families and recipients of the program.

It is wonderful to see how community members, local media and Cancer CouncilNSW can work together to assist cancer patients and their families along their cancer journey.


Previous Wester NSW Region news:


Breasts, Boyle and Breast Cancer Network Australia on the Border!


Breast Cancer Network Australia recently held an information forum in Albury. The ‘Breast cancer treatment, care and looking after yourself’ forums were attended by over 160 members of the local and surrounding communities.

Those attending heard from some great guest speakers, including Olympic athlete Raelene Boyle AM, MBE (pictured with Robyn Daly of Albury) on topics highlighting the medical, physical and emotional aspects of living well after a breast cancer diagnosis.

Ms Boyle was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996, and in the years since she has become an ambassador for breast cancer, explaining how she realised her public profile could help her play a role in helping other women and men confront and overcome some of the hurdles placed in front of them when encountering breast cancer.

Cancer Council NSW – Western Community Partnerships Coordinator Mel Nixon and Volunteering and Partnerships Coordinator Linda Hoey were invited along to provide some local information on support services such as Transport to Treatment, and were joined by other providers from across the Region.

Individuals took to the opportunity to share with providers what they identified as being the local breast cancer issues facing their communities.


Stars of Orange Dance for Cancer


The local Orange community was treated to its third annual Stars of Orange ‘Dance for Cancer’ over the weekend, and there was a massive response with over 555 people filling the hall and collectively raising over $125,000!!

There was so much excitement in the lead-up to the event, with tickets selling out weeks in advance, and our Stars doing incredible fundraising events leading into the night. The night saw a buzz of exhilaration as each performance was broadcast LIVE to six screens throughout the venue – it was impossible to miss out on any of the action. The night also saw Facebook light up with thousands of views on the night across each of the performances.

The night was taken out by Matt Findlay’s raunchy burlesque-styled pole dancing in Judge’s Choice, while Robyn & Murray Evans enjoyed the spoils of People’s Choice raising over $2,300 through GiveEasy text to vote system. Our highest fundraiser Lan Snowden, was able to smash his initial goals of $10,000 and raised an incredible $14,500.

Orange has really jumped behind this event, with all channels of media pumping front page stories (three over the past two weeks), plus radio and commercial TV. We cannot wait to begin planning for an even bigger 2018 event!


Riverina Field Days


An estimated 15,000 ag(riculture)-curious people inundated the Griffith Showgrounds for the annual Riverina Field Days, showcasing everything from the latest on-farm technologies to live demonstrations.

Mel Nixon (Community Programs Coordinator, Western) was invited by hosts, the Wine Grapes Marketing Board (WGMB), to the two day event, to chat with the community on all things cancer and to promote the Griffith Transport to Treatment (T2T) service.

With Griffith turning on some lovely sunny weather, volunteers Caitlyn Nixon and Georgia Kohlhagen kept the crowds well covered with SPF 50+ and even achieved victory in a friendly dodgeball competition with our Kiwi stall neighbours.

Plans are already underway for next year’s field days and Cancer Council NSW look forward to again being part of such a great community event.

Pictured: (left-right) Mel Nixon, Brian Bortolin, Cait Nixon & Georgia Kohlhagen (Cancer Council NSW volunteers)


Western’s Biggest Morning Teas

ABMT High Tea in Dubbo.

ABMT High Tea in Dubbo.

From beginning the campaign with two successful High Tea launches taking place in early May, to the official day for Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, we want to say a huge thank you to all staff and volunteers attending many of the hundreds of Biggest Morning Teas we’ve had in Western NSW.

From Deniliquin and Berrigan, to Broken Hill and Bourke, to all in between, it is safe to say it has been another successful year, with many a scone eaten.

Deniliquin lays a long table.

Deniliquin lays a full table.

ABMT Griffith-style, a full room, a great time.

ABMT Griffith-style, a full room, a great time.


Ver Migay Nguluway


The weather turned on a fabulous day for the Murrumbidgee Local Health District Aboriginal Health Women’s Day on May 3 in Narrandera.

Mel Nixon, with volunteers Judy Heard and Mel Fuller, helped facilitate the event, with over 70 Mums and their children coming along to learn about healthy eating, Eat It to Beat It, Transport to Treatment and Sun Smart, as well as joining in other activities such as oral health checks, sexual health updates, Cultural Dance and Drumming.

A big hit on the day was this amazing possum skin blanket (pictured) crafted by Wiradjuri Aboriginal Elder Aunty Joycelan Williams and her daughters. The blanket is said to encourage healing and feelings of wellbeing.


I Care For Palliative Care Business Blitz in Dubbo


On Wednesday 17 May, legendary CanAct leaders Trish and Susie, together with Camilla, hit the pavement in Macquarie Street in Dubbo to seek endorsements from local businesses for the #ICare4PallCare campaign. In just a couple of hours, the three managed to get over 20 pledges from Dubbo shops and organisations – displaying the pledge sign in their windows and posing for photos to show they truly care about the issue.

Since then Trish has managed to get a few more organisations on board the campaign – including the Aboriginal Employment Strategy in Dubbo (pictured).

The Dubbo community continues to demonstrate that the lack of palliative care in NSW is a huge issue, with the local media and stakeholders passionately supporting the Cancer Council campaign.

Keep up the good work Trish and Susie and your team of fabulous advocates.


Broken Hill Education Event


Over 25 health professionals attended a Cancer Council NSW education event held in Broken Hill on Wednesday 17 May. The focus of the education event was to equip health professionals with information on Cancer Council NSW support services, local Broken Hill support services, and an update on Cancer Council NSW research.

Guest speakers at the event included Associate Professor David Smith, Broken Hill Cancer Care Coordinator Sandra Turley, and Jo Beven the McGrath Nurse for the Royal Flying Doctors.

Our key message to get across was that no matter where you live community members including cancer patients, carers or health professionals, can access cancer information and support. Whether the support be via a telephone support group, financial assistance or reading/downloading a publication on skin cancer for example. By targeting health professionals who are dealing with community members daily we hope to increase the awareness of support services and help those who may be going through a cancer journey.

Cancer Council NSW staff members also had the opportunity to call into Wilcannia, Bourke and Cobar, to meet with GP’s, and community nurses to promote all the wonderful services and assistance that can be accessed via the Cancer Council NSW Information and Support Line 13 11 20.


Stories in the media:

House donated in Orange


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