Statewide regional news archive to June 2017


Northern NSW

Southern NSW

Greater Western Sydney

Western NSW

Hunter Central Coast

On this page you will find news stories from your Cancer Council NSW Region that have appeared over previous months. The most current articles can be found here.

To explore your Region’s news archive, just select its name from the list above.

To explore past news items about volunteering with Cancer Council NSW from all around the state, click on the relevant Region name to read about fellow volunteers who may not be your neighbours, but who are linked by our shared mission to beat cancer. Everywhere.




Volunteers make the Metro Sydney Team happy

Volunteers Make the Metro Sydney Team Happy

Today( Monday 8 May) marks the beginning of National Volunteer week, which runs from 8-14 May.

The theme for Volunteer Week is Give Happy, Live Happy.

We know that volunteers make the Metro Sydney Team live happy.

We receive support from volunteers in every aspect of our work from office administration to supporting people impacted by cancer at our information and support services.

Without the support of volunteers we would not be able to deliver our mission, to lead, empower and mobilise the community to beat cancer.

We look forward to seeing many of you at the celebrations taking place at Woolloomooloo office through-out the week.  – Lauren McAlister | Regional Manager, Metro Sydney.

Please watch a short video message here about why volunteers makes us happy.


Volunteer Role Spotlight

Meet the team – Jeny and Angie

Jeny & Angie

Name: Angie Burnett

Role at Cancer Council NSW (CCNSW): Community Engagement Manager – Fundraising

How long you have worked at CCNSW: Seven years and eight months

Favourite part of your job: Working for such an important cause, I love all of our events and programs and believe very strongly in them, plus I love the people and culture of Cancer Council NSW and always have.

How you work with volunteers: Working across all of our fundraising campaigns and with the Community Relations Coordinators and Regional Administrator, I am lucky enough to meet and work with all of our wonderful committees, our amazing office interns and volunteers, and our dynamic event volunteer workforce.

What is it you like to do to relax?  Head to the beach or park with Remy, my 20 month old son, go for a run, bake, find spots with great coffee, go out for breakfast, when Remy is in bed watch an awesome TV series non stop..Some of these possibly might change or slightly alter with the arrival of our new baby due late next month.


Name: Jeny Gautam 

Role at CCNSW: Community Programs Coordinator

How long you have worked at CCNSW: One year and ten months

Favourite part of your job: Working with a highly motivated team who work really hard every day to make a difference. Free fruits on Wednesdays doesn’t hurt either :)

How you work with volunteers: I support a group of passionate advocates who form the Sydney Cancer Advocacy Network (SCAN). You may have seen them at 7 Bridges Walk or Sydney Relay, and will see them at the upcoming Sutherland Relay. SCAN calls on those in positions of power to take actions that will reduce cancer rates and improve outcomes for people living with cancer. I feel incredibly proud to be supporting SCAN.

A random fact about you:

My favourite TV show when growing up was Arthur. I loved getting a dose of Arthur after school before getting on with (or avoid doing) homework. Still got the theme song in my head “….and I say HEY! (HEY!) What a wonderful kind of day…”


Volunteer Role Spotlight – Committee Chair

Luke Barbuto

Luke with his friend Dougal Bear at Sutherland Shire Relay.

Last month we were proud to congratulate Luke Barbuto – Co-Chairman of Sutherland Shire Relay for winning the Volunteer category of the Global Spirit of Relay Awards.

Luke was up against amazing volunteers from around the globe, but his passion for Relay saw him take out top position. Luke has been volunteering for the past 9 years and was proud to  see so many volunteers, participants and members of the Sutherland Shire community at the Relay this weekend (6-7 May).

Luke is always challenging others to think outside the box and create new and innovative ways to make Sutherland Shire Relay a unique and incredible experience for those attending.

His passion for Relay is not only limited to his event. Luke believes this is an amazing platform for those who have been touched by cancer which gives these incredible individuals a place to belong and meet other like-minded people within their own community.

Luke wants to see Relay grow globally and succeed on an international scale ensuring this community-gathering event is always available for those who need it. He truly believes Relay is an avenue for creating change in the cancer space. 

Luke is a fantastic asset not only to Sutherland Shire Relay, but to Cancer Council NSW as a whole. Congratulations, Luke Barbuto.


Mission Moment

‘I Care For Palliative Care’ launch at Sutherland Shire Relay For Life.

kristin g2

The I Care For Palliative Care campaign launched on Saturday 6 May at Sutherland Shire Relay For Life. The campaign encourages the local community to sign a pledge to help end the palliative care shortage in NSW. 281 pledges were collected from participants and visitors to the event.

Woronora Heights resident, Kristin Garsheen, spoke at Sutherland Shire Relay For Life’s palliative care launch about her mother’s cancer experience and the need for more palliative care doctors and nurses.

She said that her mother, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2009 and passed away in 2012, was unable to access palliative care.

“My family was never offered palliative care support for my mum other than in the very final week of her life. That final week was comforting for mum – the palliative care workers were so experienced and caring which made my mum’s final days so much better. Leading up to that point, it would have been wonderful for our family to have support and guidance from palliative care.

“I feel very passionate that the government needs to take action on the palliative care shortage in NSW because I know my family is not the only one that has had this experience. Too many NSW residents don’t have access to palliative care,” said Mrs Garsheen.


Fundraising Focus

Stars of the Beaches

A journalist, politician’s wife, pro-surfer and Dee Why RSL CEO all came together at Stars of the Beaches, a dance gala on Saturday 6 May at Dee Why RSL Club to raise funds for Cancer Council NSW.

The night saw 11 local personalities joined with professional dance instructors perform a dance routine in front of an audience of over 300 family and friends.  The stars had eight weeks to learn their routines whilst fundraising to help people in the Northern Beaches affected by cancer.

The line-up this year included Grant Easterby (CEO of Dee Why RSL), Sarah Swain (Journalist at Manly Daily), Meredith Cummins (Director of Medical Oncology and Nursing at the Northern Sydney Cancer Institute), Brett Luhrmann (CEO at Luhrmann Group of Companies), Kylie Llewellyn (Girl Scout Leader), Emma Trevallion, (Real Estate Agent), Beau Mitchell (Former Professional Surfer), Karlisle Morocco (Store Manager at Tommy Bahama), Kelly Nicholls (Advocacy Manager at Medecins Sans Frontieres), Samantha Joy (Director at Northern Beaches Cleaning Pty Ltd) and Kerryn Baird (former premier’s wife).

Stars of the Northern Beaches

All stars impressed the judging panel, and the atmosphere on the night was electric. In true Luhrmann style, Brett Luhrmann, brother of Baz Luhrmann, took home the title for Judges’ Choice with partner Jade Hatcher, with a breathtaking performance including three costume changes and getting the crowd doing a conga line!

Brett also took home the title for Highest Fundraiser, while Kerryn Baird took People’s Choice.

Grant Easterby, CEO of the Dee Why RSL, who were the venue partner for the event, amazed the crowd with an over the top Musical Theatre number, and then Kylie Llewellyn and pro-surfer Beau Mitchell brought the crowd to tears with their moving performances dedicated to friends lost to cancer.

Overall it was an amazing night and a rollercoaster of emotions from laughter to tears.

The inaugural event raised more than $79,000! Funds raised by Stars of the Beaches will contribute to local Cancer Council NSW initiatives such as Sun Sound programs at Manly Boy Charlton Pool and local Surf Living Saving Clubs, and the Improve Your Long Game program, that both aim to improve sun protection behaviours.


Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea launches at Luna Park


On 6 April, Cancer Council NSW officially launched the 24th annual Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea campaign at Luna Park.

With more than 60 Metro Sydney Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea hosts in attendance, the event was a great opportunity to celebrate hard-working hosts, get excited for this year’s morning teas and reminisce on memories of previous events.

“The ABMT launch was fantastic! All of our hosts were further motivated and energised to make their morning teas a success this year. We also welcomed some newer hosts who have been passionate about making a difference, with this launch further fuelling that passion,” said Costeen Sekhas, Community Relations Coordinator at Cancer Council NSW’s Metro Sydney office.

Among those in attendance with the Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea hosts included launch MC Jim Wilson from Seven News and 2017 Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea Ambassadors Will Stewart and Steve Flood, winners of the 2015 My Kitchen Rules.


Meet The Team


Eastern Sydney sub-community staff Costeen Sekhas Community Relations Coordinator and Jess Green Community Engagement Manager (Mission).

Name: Cosie Sekhas

Role at Cancer Council NSW (CCNSW): Community Relations Coordinator (Eastern Suburbs, Metro Sydney)

How long you have worked at CCNSW: 3 years in August

Favourite part of your job: Meeting our amazing supporters and cancer survivors who are passionate about working with us and fundraising for us to make a difference for all those affected by cancer. I am inspired by them every day.

How you work with volunteers: I’m fortunate enough to work with volunteers on all the campaigns I work on. This includes office based volunteers, on the day volunteers and committees who I work with on campaigns such as Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, Stars of the East, Pink/Girls Night In, the Breakthrough Art Festival and others. 

A random fact about you: (Answer one of the below questions or include your own unique fact)

13.  What are three things still left on your bucket list?

  • Holiday in Bora Bora, staying in one of those bungalows in the middle of the ocean!
  • Buying a convertible
  • Having a white Christmas in New York


Name: Jess Green

Role at Cancer Council NSW (CCNSW): Community Engagement Manager, Metro Sydney

How long you have worked at CCNSW: A little over three years

Favourite part of your job: The people! Cancer Council NSW is made of great people working together. Every day you get to work alongside intelligent, inspiring and down to earth volunteers and staff.

How you work with volunteers: I’m lucky to have met many great volunteers through my role at CCNSW. Currently I work with volunteers in our Cancer Action Networks and MP Liaison roles to advocate for local and state cancer related issues, like our current Palliative Care Campaign.

I support Information Service Volunteers at treatment centres to provide information and support to patients, families and carers. AND finally, I get to work alongside volunteers to deliver our prevention programs, such as Improve Your Long Game!

.What are three things still left on your bucket list?

  • Visit New York City
  • Go skiing overseas, including a white Christmas
  • Go back to Puglia, Italy again!…. So not much really! 


Media and Communications Intern, Elle Johnson

Ali Boydell and Elle Johnson looking for Cancer Council  NSW  article in the papers

Ali Boydell and Elle Johnson looking for Cancer Council NSW article in the papers

Elle has come all the way from Knoxville in the United States to assist the Metro Sydney team with a number of media and communications related activities.

Elle is currently completing a BA in Health Communications and Promotions at The University of Tennessee and has come to Australia for a nine-week internship with Cancer Council NSW.

“Elle has been an absolute pleasure to have part of the team. She has supported us with media tracking and reporting, sourcing new media outlets and contacts, editing media releases and much more! Her enthusiasm, drive and commitment has been delightful – we don’t want to see her go back to America!” – Ali Boydell, Communications and Events Coordinator

I have absolutely loved and thoroughly enjoyed my time thus far at Cancer Council NSW! From working on media releases for the Dance for Cancer events to identifying proactive PR opportunities for Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, I’m not only developing skills towards a future career in health communication, but also creating tangible material for a worthy cause.

Everyone in the Cancer Council NSW work environment has been so incredibly warm and inviting, and I am unsure how I will be able to say goodbye to all these wonderful people when my time in Sydney concludes.  I am so honoured to be an active member of Cancer Council NSW’s mission to beat cancer—a position that is making my time as an intern time well spent.

Elle Johnson, Media and Communications Coordinator.


Mission Moments –

Cancer Council Information Service Training

Cancer Council Information Service Volunteersa at March Training at Prince of Wales Hospital

On March 17, Katie Towers, Maxine and I were joined by 14 volunteers for Cancer Council Information Service training. We had volunteers join us at Prince of Wales Hospital from Metro Sydney, Greater Western Sydney, Southern NSW and Newcastle.

Despite the very wet and windy weather it was a great day. The group had an opportunity to meet with other likeminded people, learn more about the work we do at Cancer Council NSW and develop new skills, like active listening and practising empathy.

Some of the highlights volunteers took from the day included, understanding volunteer role boundaries, learning the difference between empathy and sympathy, and learning about the huge variety of programs Cancer Council NSW delivers to our NSW community.

Thank you to all who attended on the day and best of luck with your new volunteer roles!

Jess Green – Community Engagement Manager


I Care for Palliative Care Campaign at Sydney Relay for Life



Sydney Cancer Action Network (SCAN) set up an advocacy marquee over the Sydney Relay For Life weekend on 11 and 12 March. Dedicated volunteer advocates educated Relay participants about the I Care For Palliative Care campaign and asked them to sign the pledge to end the palliative care shortage.

SCAN also hosted a ‘palliative care hour’ where they took over the main stage at Sydney Relay to speak about the campaign. Jamie Seymour, team leader of SCAN, interviewed four local MPs, Alex Greenwich, Jo Haylen, Jamie Parker and Sophie Cotsis about the need for more palliative care doctors and nurses in NSW. It was an eventful day gaining a total of 124 signed pledges and a record number of 4 MP’s attending relay who will now do their part in taking our campaign ask to the new Health Minister.

Cancer Council would like to thank everyone who helped on the day particularly the CanAct advocates; Alison, Tony, Carolyn, Hiroko, Liz, Sarina, Lillian L, Lillian B, Jamie, Vicky, Amber, Sue, Matthew, Glynis and Yvonne. 


Eat It to Beat It Facilitator Training

EI2BI PF Training March 2017

We delivered Metro Sydney Eat It To Beat It Program Facilitator Training on Friday 31 March. We had a great turnout of 17 volunteers from all different professional backgrounds keen to learn about the program.

The importance of eating enough fruit and vegetables was certainly not lost on this bright bunch who are keen to get out into their local communities and deliver Fruit & Veg Sense Workshops and Healthy Lunchbox Sessions to parents of primary school-aged children.

To book a session or workshop or to find out more about Eat It To Beat It head to


Outrun Cancer funded research confirms obesity and physical activity are independent cancer risk factors


Local community fundraiser, OUTRUN CANCER, holds an annual Corporate Treadmill Marathon to fund a specific project within Cancer Council NSW’s prevention research each year. The results of a study funded by the 2014 and 2015 Marathon have recently been released, confirming that obesity and physical activity are independent risk factors of cancer.

With almost 9,000 participants, the study aimed to find out how body weight could impact the benefits of physical activity that affect the risk of developing different types of cancer. The study found that physical activity has the potential to lower cancer risk regardless of body weight, highlighting the need to encourage physical activity and achieving a healthy weight separately.

Luca Turrini, OUTRUN CANCER Founder, said that he hopes this new research will inspire Sydney residents to work towards a healthy weight, while staying physically active as well.

“We know that 1 in 3 cancer cases can be prevented, and obesity and physical activity play a big role in this. Our Corporate Treadmill Marathon gets participants active to promote the cancer prevention message and raise valuable funds for prevention research,” said Mr Turrini.

OUTRUN CANCER’s 2017 Corporate Treadmill Marathon took place on 24 March at four gyms across Sydney. Teams between four and 21 people from different organisations completed a 42.2km marathon relay on a treadmill, challenging each other to be the fastest or the highest fundraising team.

So, how did things go?


OUTRUN CANCER Founder, Luca Turrini, and Jason Ibrahim from AMP

OUTRUN CANCER’s annual Corporate Treadmill Marathon took place on 24 March and raised more than $88,407 for Cancer Council NSW. This year, money raised from the event will fund a new campaign to help to reduce children’s exposure to unhealthy food marketing.

With more than 300 runners and four participating gyms, funds raised from this year’s event takes us over the half million dollar mark since OUTRUN CANCER began in 2012. Additionally, the long standing record for the fastest mixed team marathon at 02:27 was smashed this year by the AMP Mixed Team 1, who finished the marathon in a blistering time of 02:20.

The Corporate Treadmill Marathon would not be possible without the incredible support of the 40 volunteers who attended the event. Thank you for all your support in making the event a huge success!


Eat It To Beat It’s Fruit & Veg Sense Workshops

The Metro Sydney Eat It To Beat It team is currently hosting free 90-minute Fruit & Veg Sense workshops across the region to help parents understand the importance of family members eating two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables every day to cut cancer risk.


Teaghan Abbott and her children.

Local Strathfield mother, Teaghan Abbott, who attended a Fruit & Veg Sense workshop at Strathfield North Public School said that she was motivated to attend the workshop in order to learn new ideas to add more fruit and veg into her children’s diets.

“Learning how to plan our meals daily was very helpful. There are so many ways we can implement fruit and veg into every meal of the day. I even gained great tips to improve the entire family’s diet.

“The workshop made it seem so easy to incorporate a healthy diet into our daily lives. It has helped me have discussions with my kids on the importance of getting their fruit and veg servings, and we’re definitely heading in the right direction,” said Mrs Abbott.


Sydney Relay For Life a huge success!

rfl walk2

On 11 and 12 March, the Inner West community came together at King George Park in Rozelle for the annual Sydney Relay For Life, a fun-packed 24 hours of festivities and celebration that raised funds for Cancer Council NSW.

There was plenty of entertainment and activities throughout the weekend, including rock climbing, market stalls, food trucks, mini golf, yoga, live entertainment, a jumping castle, overnight camping, and healthy eating workshops.

With 430 participants in attendance over the weekend, Sydney Relay For Life raised more than $96,000.

A special thanks goes out to our dedicated volunteer committee who did an amazing job organising the weekend!


Cronulla 2017 Local Woman of the Year


The 2017 Cronulla Local Woman of the Year Award was presented to Alison Todd on 6 March. Alison was recognised for her 26 years of voluntary services with Cancer Council NSW.

Having lost her husband, father and a very close friend to cancer, Alison believes that volunteering can make a significant difference in the lives of those affected by cancer. She is a Community Speaker, an Advocate and a MP Liaison at Cancer Council NSW, working passionately to improve the journey for all people in NSW affected by cancer.

“I am very proud to be named Cronulla 2017 Local Woman of The Year. Having lived most of my life in the area, I feel a strong connection to this community.

“When my late husband died of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in 1990 I began selling daffodils on Daffodil Day to raise funds for Cancer Council NSW and in 2016 I managed the Daffodil Day site at Cronulla.

“Now much of my time is spent as a Cancer Council NSW advocate, working passionately on our campaign, ‘I Care For Palliative Care’, ensuring every person with a life-limiting cancer receives the best specialist palliative care when needed,” said Alison.


Volunteer Role Spotlight 

Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea Volunteer – Natalie Wubben

Natalie and Cosie hard at work

Natalie and Cosie hard at work.

Our Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea Event and Communications volunteers are an integral part of making our 24 year old campaign the success that it is.

The volunteers manage over 200 of our Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea VIP hosts by communicating with them over the phone and via email throughout the campaign. They register the hosts’ events, book in speakers and media opportunities for their events, send out support materials and collateral hosts require as well as attending these morning teas on the day to offer event support.

This year the official date for Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is Thursday 25 May, but the volunteers assist our Community Relations Coordinator Cosie Sekhas, who looks after the campaign for the Metro Sydney region, over the months of February to June for events that happen any time throughout May and June.

“A few weeks into the role, Natalie has already made it her own and has been effective in supporting our generous hosts to help them make their morning teas as successful as they are! In the two days a week that she’s in the office, Natalie looks after over 80 hosts and has built good relationships with them. They know that they can contact her if they have any enquiries about their events and she will be willing and able to assist. She has been a great addition to our Metro Sydney team and I look forward to seeing what else she will achieve during her time in the role.” – Cosie Sekhas, Community Relations Coordinator

“Each week I look forward to coming into the office and helping organise the Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea campaign. A highlight of my day is interacting with not only the staff but my VIP hosts who share the same passion as I do in helping support Cancer Council NSW (CCNSW). My time spent at CCNSW has been so valuable as I continue to further develop my marketing and communications skills. Everyone in the team has gone out of their way to make me feel so unbelievably welcomed and supported in my role. I am excited to see how the events progress through the next few stages and I also hope to host my own Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea!” – Natalie Wubben, Events and Communications Assistant (Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea)

If you would like to volunteer to support the campaign, please email for further details.


Mission Moment


Mission Team out and about in the Metro Sydney community.

2017 will be another big year for the Metro Sydney Region’s Mission Team!

Together with our volunteers we will continue to deliver practical support, through our Cancer Information Services at St George and Prince of Wales Hospital and Northern Cancer Institute. We’re partnering with treatment centres to deliver our Survivorship programs, like ENRICHing Survivorship.

With help from our community advocates we will be meeting with Members of Parliament about our Palliative Care Campaign, and building community support at our campaign launches.

You will also find us working with other Community Service Organisations to deliver Tackling Tobacco, talking to parents at primary schools about how to Eat It to Beat It, AND when summer rolls around again we’ll be back at golf clubs sun protection messages in hand. Importantly, we’re looking forward to working out in Metro Sydney Community with our champion volunteers again to make this all happen!


Fundraising Focus

The Fundraising Team has been busy organising and supporting participants in a number of upcoming events in the Metro Sydney Region. They are currently working with volunteers on Relay Committees and with Christine, Natalie, Dina and Elle who are in administration and communication positions.   

Please find below a list of upcoming events the team have been working. 

If you would like to participate or volunteer at any of the below events please email


Upcoming Events in Metro Sydney Region


events 2



Volunteer Opportunities

The Metro Sydney Team are currently recruiting for a number of positions and would encourage you to check out these opportunities.

Two roles that may be of interest to you or you may like to share with your networks are:

Event and Communications Volunteer – click here.

If you thought Natalie’s role sounded exciting , we are seeking another dynamic and enthusiastic volunteer to work with the Community Relations Coordinator for the duration of the Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea Campaign (March – June). This annual campaign is one of our largest events for Cancer Council NSW and we’re looking for enthusiastic, bright volunteers with excellent written and oral communication skills to join our Metro Sydney team in Woolloomooloo for 2 days a week.

Event Administration Assistant – click here.

The Metro Sydney Regional Office is seeking a dynamic and enthusiastic volunteer for the position of Event Assistant. The ideal candidate will be available 2 days a week on an ongoing basis.

This role assists the Regional Administrator on a range of Administration tasks for a number of community fundraising events throughout the Metro Region to support, guide, connect and engage with communities resulting in raising vital funds for Cancer Council NSW.

If you are interested in either of the event support roles or any other positions at Cancer Council NSW, please apply by clicking on the links or  email


Meet The Team

Elise - Volunteering and Partnerships CoordinatorName: Elise Cameron

Role at CCNSW: Volunteering and Partnerships Coordinator

How long you have worked at CCNSW: I first started at Cancer Council NSW as a volunteer back in 2010. I thoroughly enjoyed my volunteering experience and was excited to join the organisation as a Community Relations Coordinator in the Metro Sydney Team in August 2015  on a 12 month contract. In July 2016, just shy of my contract ending I was successful in my application to become the Volunteering and Partnerships Coordinator.

Favourite part of your job: Meeting applicants for volunteer positions.  It is a pleasure to learn about what motivates people to volunteer to help beat cancer.

How you work with volunteers:  I support all Metro Sydney Team by engaging and supervising volunteers for the regional programs and events they are responsible for as well as demonstrating best practice volunteer engagement and supervision.

A random fact about Elise :  I am a twin, and my twin also works for Cancer Council NSW in the campaigns team. It causes a lot of confusion.

Three things still left on her  bucket list?  I feel very lucky that I have ticked off a number of my bucket list items but I am looking forward to ticking off a few more.

  1. Go on Safari in Africa
  2. See Northern Lights in Alaska
  3. Open an Animal Sanctuary – I am passionate about animal welfare and love all types of animals. I would love to spend my retirement rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in need.


‘Improve Your Long Game’ Launch


Over the last couple of weeks, the Metro Sydney Team launched our cancer prevention program ‘Improve Your Long Game’ at a number of golf clubs across the region.

With Cancer Council NSW representatives in attendance to promote the program, Massey Park Golf Club, Manly Golf Club, Bayview Golf Club, Chatswood Golf Club, Kareela Golf & Social Club, Beverley Park Golf Club and Bexley Golf Club all held official launches. These launches educated hundreds of golfers about Improve Your Long Game, how to stay sun smart, and even included fun activities like sunscreen giveaways and putting competitions!

With World Cancer Day taking place on the first weekend in February along with its slogan ‘Support through Sport’, these launches were a great way to remind golfers how they can commit to sun protection behaviours in order to reduce their skin cancer risk.


Sydney Relay For Life Trivia Night


On 2 February, the Sydney Relay For Life committee held a trivia night to remember at the Royal Oak Hotel in Balmain.

We hosted our trivia night as a different way to hold our team information evening, and engaged with more than 75 attendees including Relayers, sponsors, committee, friends, family and many potential new Relayers!

Our legendary trivia hosts were our new committee members, Senny and Michelle, who kept the teams on their toes throughout the night. Our very own Global Hero of Hope, Danny Brombal, introduced Relay and our team information to the audience.

In addition to trivia, we also held a live auction, lucky door prizes, a challenging coin toss and we asked plenty of Relay questions throughout the night. Overall, it was a fantastic night filled with lots of laughter and to top it off, another $2200 was raised for Sydney Relay!


Stars of the Beaches 2017 Launch


On 9 February, Cancer Council NSW officially launched the 2017 Stars of the Beaches fundraising gala and dance competition.

Set to be staged on 6 May at Dee Why RSL Club, Stars of the Beaches will challenge local celebrities, business people and everyday heroes to learn a dance routine and perform it live in front an audience of more than 300 people.

At the launch event, 11 local stars were matched with a professional dancer and randomly assigned a dance style to learn. Those taking on the challenge and strapping on their dance shoes include Sarah Swain (Journalist at Manly Daily), Meredith Cummins (Director of Medical Oncology and Nursing at the Northern Sydney Cancer Institute), and Kylie Llewellyn (local Girl Scout Leader and employee of Northern Beaches Council).

With the participants already commencing their training and beginning to work towards reaching their fundraising targets, Stars of the Beaches offers residents of Sydney’s Northern Beaches a chance to fundraise for Cancer Council NSW in a fun way while learning something new.


Holy Cross Crusaders Cricket Club aim to reduce cancer risk


Ryde’s Holy Cross Crusaders Cricket Club is doing its part to promote healthy lifestyle habits as a member of Cancer Council NSW’s Healthy Sports Initiative.

The Healthy Sports Initiative is a free, three year membership program for junior cricket clubs aiming to create a healthy, cancer-smart environment for club members and their families.

“Cancer Council NSW’s ‘Healthy Sports Initiative’ has given our Club the opportunity to highlight the importance of a healthy lifestyle to our junior cricketers and their families.

“We look forward to continuing our relationship with Cancer Council NSW in promoting a healthy, cancer-free lifestyle. We encourage all our players to ‘slip, slop, slap, seek, slide’ and enjoy their cricket in a smoke-free environment,” said Rob Gough, President at Holy Cross Crusaders Cricket Club.


Staff Achievement Award

Innovation Award: Ali Boydell, for her media success in the Metro team

‘In her short six months in the Communications & Event Coordinator role, Ali has worked closely with the Metro team to; increase the region portion of media score for Metro from 8-12%, position the team as a leading spokesperson for the first time, achieve record coverage for all mission and fundraising campaigns, increase the quality and favourability of media content by securing positioning for the majority of published material, using innovative techniques to secure new media opportunities’

– Lauren McAlister, Metro Sydney Regional Manager


Welcome back to all of our volunteers!

We have a big year ahead in 2017. The Metro Sydney team are already back in full swing, busily preparing for upcoming community fundraising events, Information Centre relocations and volunteer training sessions.

Our Public Health interns have been auditing our prevention programs over the summer, reporting on the effectiveness of programs including Sun Sound, Improve Your Long Game, and Healthy Sports Initiative.

Our Sydney Relay for Life Committee are just 6 weeks out from their event. The good news rolls in from the committee almost daily with new participants registering, exciting activities and entertainment booked in, and a celebrity MC on board to run the show!  

During December, our team began work on Learning and Development plans for all of our volunteer groups. We look forward to improving the way we induct, on board and continually develop and support our volunteers in 2017.

All the best for the year ahead!

Lauren McAlister –  Regional Manager Metro Sydney


Getting to know Cancer Council NSW’s Metro Sydney Region

Cancer Council NSW’s Metro Sydney Team works closely with the community to create a cancer-free future. The team looks after cancer programs and fundraising events within the Sydney Metropolitan area – from as far south as Waterfall, as far north as Pittwater, as far west as Hornsby/Ryde and east to the coast.

There are two key teams within the Region – the Fundraising Team and the Programs Team. The Fundraising Team are responsible for the management and implementation of Relay For Life, Do It For Cancer, Pink Ribbon, Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, and beneficiary events such as City2Surf.  The Program Team engages with key stakeholders and increases participation rates across advocacy, prevention and practical support programs. They work closely with the Cancer Programs Division to drive program prioritisation and innovation in the delivery of programs and program evaluation.

Both the Fundraising and Programs Team have a Community Programs Coordinator and a Community Relations Coordinator allocated to a sub-community within Metro Sydney – North Sydney, South Sydney, Eastern Sydney and the Inner West. The Community Programs Coordinator and Community Relations Coordinator work closely together to gain a comprehensive understanding about the nature of their sub-community including demographic, cancer incidence and mortality information. Both teams have a Community Engagement Manager who manages the regional operational processes and implementation of programs or events.

The Metro Sydney Team also consists of a Volunteer and Partnerships Coordinator who engages volunteers and all regional staff in demonstrating best practice volunteer management, a Communication and Events Coordinator who looks after brand, media and communications for the region, and a Regional Nutrition Project Officer who assists with the delivery of the nutrition based program, Eat It To Beat It. the helm of the Team is the Regional Manager who is responsible for the efficient, effective, timely regional strategy and operations.


Metro Sydney Team  

Back Row:  Ali Boyell – Communications and Event Coordinator, Angie Burnett – Community Engagement Manager, Fundraising, Costeen Sekhas – Community Relations Coordinator, Eastern Sydney, Jess Green – Community Engagement Manager, Mission, Margaret Skagias – Community Programs Coordinator, Eastern Sydney, Lauren McAlister – Regional Manager, Becky Dadswell – Community Relations Coordinator, Northern Sydney

Front Row:  Hayley Hornitzky – Regional Administrator , Maddy Gough – Regional Nutrition Project Officer, Christie Gazal – Community Programs Coordinator, Northern Sydney, Jeny Gautam – Community Programs Coordinator – Inner West , Rashmi Naran – Community Relations Coordinator, Southern Sydney and Alex Koukoumas – Community Programs Coordinator, Southern Sydney.

Absent:  Elise Cameron, Volunteering and Partnerships Coordinator.


Meet the Team

LaurenIn each edition of Volunteer Voice, we will introduce you to one of the dedicated staff members of the Metro Sydney Team.  First up is our fearless leader, Lauren McAlister.

Name: Lauren McAlister

Role at CCNSW: Regional Manager

How long you have worked at CCNSW: Seven years.

Favourite part of your job: inspiring supporters and volunteers and hearing about their reasons for becoming involved with Cancer Council NSW. Our volunteers really keep us grounded and remind you what we are really working towards every day. They also bring a wealth of knowledge and ensure we are continuously improving the way we work and the services we deliver.

How you work with volunteers: I started at Cancer Council as a Community Programs Coordinator, so I’ve had the pleasure of working particularly closely with our community speakers, public health interns, advocates and MP liaisons, ambassadors, and a great number of office based volunteers. Since becoming Regional Manager in 2013, the scope of my role has broadened. I now have the opportunity to work alongside volunteers who support every aspect of our work. I connect with our volunteers to get their insights, their advice, and to ensure the lines of communication are open for feedback.

 At which store would you like to max-out your credit card? on kids! So many cute outfits to buy but with twin girls the bill can add up pretty quickly!


Volunteer Role Spotlight

Prevention Campaign Volunteers.

The Prevention Campaign Volunteers are a crucial support to the Mission Team, as they allow us to expand our reach within the community and build stronger and more meaningful relationships with our stakeholders.  The Prevention Campaign Volunteers assist our Community Programs Coordinators over the summer period (December – March) on three of our Summer prevention campaigns, Sun Sound, Improve Your Long Game, Healthy Sports Clubs and other mission related tasks.

Without Courtney, I wouldn’t have been able to commit to holding multiple Improve Your Long Game launches, present to over 400 school students on sun safety and drop off much needed Sun Sound resources to beaches and pools across the region.

Because I know I have the extra pair of hands, commitment and eagerness of Courtney, I have been able to focus on creating new relationships and opportunities for CCNSW to really make a difference to the lives of those in the community.”  – Christie Gazal, Community Programs Coordinator

I am really loving my time working with Christie and the CEPD team. Helping to facilitate prevention programs has been such a valuable experience for me as a Master of Public Health student who hopes to work in this area. The girls in the CEPD team have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome and included, which I really appreciate. I always look forward to going into the office and doing what I can to support them in their amazing work.”  – Courtney Smith, Prevention Campaign Volunteer.

Courtney Smith and Christie Gazal vertical

Courtney Smith and Christie Gazal at the Launch of Improve Your Long Game at Bayview Golf Club.

Volunteer Opportunity

Event Day Volunteer – Sydney Relay for Life

We would love your help to make Sydney Relay for Life the best it can be.

Sydney Relay for Life will take place on Saturday 11th March and Sunday 12th of March and we are looking for passionate, proactive members of the local community to join the great volunteer team that organises this inspiring event, which will be held at King George Park, Rozelle .

Sydney Relay for Life is a community event which raises money for cancer research, education, prevention and support programs. It is a fun overnight event, with the challenge of completing a relay style walk/run within a festival atmosphere. This is your opportunity to be a part of the fun as an Event Day Volunteer – we’d love your help to make our upcoming event a success.

There are a number of 4-5 hours shifts available across the event weekend. To find out more please click here or email Elise at


Stars of the Beaches announces its first ‘Star’ and venue for the 2017 dance gala


Image Credit: Virginia Young, NewsLocal

Stars of the Beaches has launched its first event on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, thanks to the support of the Dee Why RSL who have not only come on board as the inaugural event’s venue partner, but have nominated their CEO, Grant Easterby, to take the lead and dance for cancer.

Grant said he wanted to raise funds on behalf of his late friend and former president of Dee Why RSL, Arthur Dalgarno, a close friend who died of cancer in 2013.

“We have 50,000 members and 350 staff, and chances are, half will be touched by cancer,” he said.

To read more about Grant’s and Dee Why RSL’s involvement in Stars of the Beaches, check out this NewsLocal article:


Elouera Surf Club Clinic Awareness Day


On 11 January, our amazing intern, Courtney Smith, and Community Programs Coordinator, Alex Koukoumas, attended the Tradies Annual Surf Awareness Clinic.

The clinic was held at Elouera Surf Club where 400 children aged 7-12 years of age were educated on a wide range of topics including the importance of sun protection and surf safety. It was a fun day for all where the children played games to learn about being sun smart and everyone received a prize.

We also introduced our Sun Sound program to those children who were not aware of the program and reinforced it to those who had heard the jingle. Our session with the children was so well received that we have been asked to attend the clinic again next year!


Global Heroes of Hope


We are proud to announce that our very own Danny Brombal and Rod Coy (Co-Chairs of Sydney and Sutherland Relay respectively) have been selected as Global Heroes of Hope. They are two of the four Heroes selected from around the country and two of 26 from around the globe. Danny and Rod have been recognised by the American Cancer Society for their ongoing commitment and passion for Relay For Life demonstrated throughout the years.

Heroes of Hope exhibit exemplary behaviour and inspire hope, courage and determination. As cancer survivors, Danny and Rod display a resilient attitude and inspire others to choose a proactive and positive stance in survivorship and in our mission to beat cancer.

This is an incredible achievement and we are proud that Danny and Rod were selected to be part of this special group.
Please join us in congratulating Danny and Rod in receiving the 2017 Global Hero of Hope award.

For further details and to view their profiles on their inspiration of Hope, visit:


Farewell to our wonderful event volunteers


Sadly we are saying farewell to our lovely event volunteers Vicky, Iman and Ji. They have worked across multiple events over the last months of 2016, including City2Surf, Blackmores Sydney Running Festival, Seven Bridges Walk, Pink Yoga, and our Relay For Life and Dance For Cancer events.

It has been a pleasure having them on the team – attending events, joining team meetings, celebrating birthdays, talking about food and achieving goals together.

We wish them all the best for their adventures ahead!


Sun Sound Launch at Cronulla Beach


Sun Sound launch at Cronulla Beach.

We were lucky enough to have the help from our wonderful intern, Emma Zahra to volunteer her time on Saturday 10 December to help launch our Sun Sound program in Cronulla.

Emma was game enough to wear our Dougal bear suit, which got coverage in the local St George & Sutherland Shire Leader newspaper. She spent the day educating the public on our upcoming program and providing locals with much needed sunscreen that day.


Christmas Wonderland in Cremorne


As the festive season winds down, we would like to celebrate one of our returning ‘Do It For Cancer’ fundraisers who lit up Sydney’s north for Christmas.

Helen and Kostas Mallikopolous spent two months decking out their Cremorne home with more than 100,000 lights, including a snow machine creating a North Pole illusion, illuminated Santas, and angels perching on the roof overlooking a manger.

In 2014 the Mallikopolous family decided to end their annual light display.

However after receiving a knock at the door from a little boy begging them to put up the display, Mrs Mallikopolous could not bring herself to say “no”.

The news of their returning display spread across print, radio and online, including features in Mosman Daily, Sydney Morning Herald, ABC, and their local Greek radio station. On top of that, they raised an amazing $6,758 this year (bringing to an overall $21,000 for Cancer Council NSW over the past five years) and making it their most successful year yet!


Manly ABC Makes a Splash!

8.ManlyABCMakesaSplash.102542Manly’s Andrew ‘Boy’ Charlton Aquatic Centre (Manly ABC) has had a great start to their Sun Sound season with a front cover story featured in the Manly Daily.

Manly ABC has been participating in the Sun Sound program for a number of years and have always been very committed to playing the jingle as well as ensuring their community remain Sun Sound.

Five enthusiastic local teenagers took part in the photo shoot – all of them already embodying the Sun Sound message by wearing their own rashies. It was a fun day for all involved and a great way to support our participating sites.

Manly ABC joins three other sites in Northern Sydney and 12 sites across Metro Sydney who are currently spreading the Sun Sound message to their community.


Welcome – Prevention Campaign Interns (Courtney, Emma & Steph)


The Mission team has had three new additions – our wonderful Prevention Campaign Interns; Courtney Smith, Stephanie Loueizi and Emma Zahra.

We are very excited to have them on board and they have already hit the ground running by conducting Sun Sound audits, delivering Improve Your Long Game resources and presenting to more than 400 children at the Elouera Surf Club Sun Awareness Day.

All three are currently undertaking a Masters in Public Health and are using their time with us to find out more about working in prevention.

What was the single best realisation you have ever had?
That I could (and should) go back to University for postgraduate study and work towards doing something I really care about.
– Courtney
What are your two biggest life goals right now?
My main life goal at the moment is to kick start my career in public health by finding a relevant full time job. Another life goal is to save enough money to then travel Europe.
– Steph
What is something beautiful that you see every day?
Opportunity. In all of its forms whether it be for self-improvement, to meet new people or to be able to pay it forward and help others. It can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Sydney life and lose sight of the great people, places, resources and choices we have.
– Emma


Northern NSW


Celebrating our volunteers

This month we celebrated National Volunteer Week with a little homemade video for our volunteers across Northern NSW. Click here to watch our video

Meet Fae Sproule, one of Northern NSW’s most loved and long-standing volunteers


In 1995, Fae Sproule, the warm, widely-loved grandmother from Mullumbimby on the NSW north coast, realised that the community was crying out for a cancer support and fundraising group, and she got together with like-minded locals to form the Brunswick Valley Cancer Action Group.

With Fae as its president, the group went on to raise more than $200,000 for cancer research.

To read more of Fae’s story, visit Fae’s story


Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea set to be huge across Northern NSW throughout May and June


The gorgeous girls from Cherry Street Bowling Club in Ballina are a fantastic example of what Australia’s Biggest Morning tea means to our community – an opportunity to get together, celebrate life, friendship and remember those we have lost to cancer.

Host Evelyn says, “Many of our ladies are a classic example of living with or fighting this disease. We have many who have returned to bowls after extensive treatment, and many who enjoyed extra time with families due to new treatment and services.

“We host the morning tea on behalf of everyone in our community who has been affected by cancer, as we all know this hideous disease has touched nearly all families in our community.

“My own mother succumbed to cancer at the age of fifty-seven, too young, too many years lost of being a mother and grandmother.”

Evelyn shares her secret to her Biggest Morning Tea:

My favourite recipe would have to be a boiled fruitcake

  • 1kg mixed fruit
  • 250g butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 cup dry ginger ale
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • Boil gently for 10 minutes
  • Add 3 well-beaten eggs
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • Nuts (to please)
  • Vanilla essence
  • Almond essence
  • Rum essence
  • Cook approximately 2.5 hours at 150 degrees 

Suggestion – try substituting some of the mixed fruit (e.g. 200-300g) with chopped dates, ginger, extra cherries if desired.


Northern NSW – Relay Wrap Up


“We have been involved with Relay for Life for the last 10 years as cancer has affected many members of our family. My niece, uncles, sister in law and our precious beautiful daughter, Elle, who was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer”.

Elle has recently been involved in cancer treatment trials, and her mum Maureen knows just how important funds raised at Relay for Life are to support those affected by cancer.

Thanks to our communities, Relay events across Northern NSW like Liverpool Plains and Namoi Valley are celebrating 10 years of funding vital research grants, prevention campaigns, support services & advocacy.

Thank you to the Liverpool Plains, Tamworth, Namoi Valley, Tweed Valley, Ballina, Casino, Lower Clarence, Coffs Harbour and Manning Valley communities who were involved in our recent Local Hero Project.

Cancer Council NSW worked hard with each community to highlight a very special story and put a face to each event. The project was hugely successful, growing our already strong connection with community and reiterating the impact of Relay for Life.


Local Councils clear the air with smoke free zones


On 19 April, Gunnedah Shire Council adopted a smoke free policy, including a smoke free zone in their CBD, after councillors unanimously passed a draft submission to introduce it about a year earlier.

Smoke free zones not only protect non-smokers from the dangers of second-hand smoke, they also help to de-normalise smoking to children and young people, support people who are trying to quit, and encourage smokers to cut down or quit.

Tamworth Regional Council also has a smoke free CBD and recently celebrated 1 year of their smoke free policy.

As World No Tobacco Day approaches on 31 May, we would like to congratulate all the local councils introducing a smoke free zone, helping to protect their community from the dangers of cigarette smoke.


Community support in the Northern Region

cancer council 13 11 20On Thursday 30 March, the Lismore, Murwillumbah and the Tweed regions experienced record flood levels in the wake of ex-cyclone Debbie.

Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from their homes.  Many Cancer Council NSW volunteers and their families and friends were impacted by this devastating weather event.    

In response, the Cancer Council NSW Byron Bay Office collected donations (including clothing, groceries and homewares), and made deliveries out to Lismore.  The camaraderie in this community has been inspirational, and we were happy to get involved to provide a little help to the people that have given us so much support in the past.

The team at Cancer Council NSW knows that some volunteers are still facing hardship due to the flooding and there is a long road ahead with the clean-up and in some cases rebuilding.

We want to let you know that we continue to think of you and hope that you are well on the road to recovery.

Our 13 11 20 Information & Support line is available if you need to speak with a specialist cancer professional about anything cancer related or support.


Home away from home – Inala House, Tamworth

Many of our volunteers are cancer survivors themselves, or have had a family member touched by cancer.

cheryl soper

Cheryl Soper, hospital, administration and accommodation volunteer, Northern Region.

Cheryl Soper in our North West region had had very little contact with cancer before she began volunteering with us.  Cheryl ’s motivation for volunteering with Cancer Council NSW was due to our reputation of being such a worthy cause. Cheryl was worried about her lack of knowledge, and admits that she has learnt a lot, but has enjoyed seeing things from a different perspective and developing an understanding of the disease and the support frameworks that Cancer Council NSW provides.

Cheryl now volunteers two afternoons a week and her main task is developing the Transport to Treatment roster. This involves coordinating eight drivers and compiling the daily timetable of transports -logistically this can mean organising up to ten trips a day.

Cheryl also volunteers at the hospital concierge desk, and is the full time carer for her father who has dementia and still lives at home. She is always willing to cover extra admin shifts if required at Inala House and meets guests on the weekend for check ins.

Cheryl describes Inala House as a “home away from home that offers a warm welcome to all. You can see the shift in people after they’ve settled in and realise that it is a supportive, caring environment. They go from being unaware and worried to settled and familiar. ”

Biggest highlight for Cheryl?  Interacting with people!  Cheryl finds the day to day interaction uplifting and rewarding.  Inala House is a positive environment and the patients teach us a “thing or two”.

Thank you to Cheryl and all of our volunteer force in the North West.  Where would we be without you?


The driving force behind the Lower Mid North Coast

2012-10-24_12-35-33_691 Reon and Charlie 3

Reon, Community Engagement Manager Brenna Smith, and Charlie (L to R)

There’s a group of volunteer drivers who in 2015-2016 collectively drove over 44,000km, transporting cancer patients to much needed treatment. That’s equivalent to driving from Taree to Perth 11 times! 

Cancer Council’s valuable Transport to Treatment program is an essential program delivered to cancer patients by valued volunteers.  2017 marks the eleventh year this particular group of volunteers have been helping the community, through driving patients in this region.  But it’s not only transporting from A to B that is so important to these patients.  It’s the conversations, support and reliability of our Cancer Council drivers which helps provide an invaluable service to the community.

To Reon, Charlie, Ray, Tony, Harry and Eric, thank you. The distances you travel, the conversations you have and the hours you volunteer are worth a lot to the Manning Valley and Taree communities, and to Cancer Council NSW, it’s priceless.


Southern Cross University Star Student Hard At Work In The Byron Bay Office

naomi carter

Name: Naomi Carter

Volunteer Position: Communications and Events Intern, Far North Coast

University: Southern Cross University, Gold Coast Campus

Degree: Bachelor of Business, in Convention and Event Management

Why did you choose Cancer Council NSW for your internship placement? I wanted to do my placement with an organisation that is passionate about what they do and cares for people.  I was interested in working in the non-profit sector.

What does a “Day in the Life” of an intern look like? Diverse! My days are full and I work on:-

  • Media releases
  • Sponsorship enquiries
  • Administration
  • VIP invitations
  • Promotion and marketing materials
  • Developing event programs
  • Collating team handouts

All in a friendly, busy atmosphere.

What’s been the biggest challenge? Understanding all aspects of the organisation to be able to talk to people on the phone with confidence and knowledge.  Once I grasped all the information about events and the relevant volunteer managers, I became more comfortable and enjoy the communications part of the role.

What’s been your biggest highlight?  All of it, I love it!  I’ve secured some valuable sponsorships with large partners, which has been really rewarding.

How has your placement impacted on your university studies? Positively.  My marks in all subject areas have improved as I now have a very solid understanding of the industry.  My volunteer managers have also been very supportive and flexible, for example, if I have a large assessment due, they understand and allow me to work on it in the office, or take time off to study.

What are you hoping to do after graduating? Stay on with the Cancer Council until all my events are complete – I’d like to see them through from start to finish.  Then seek out work in the events industry.

Outside of work, what are your three favourite things in life? The beach, girlfriends and my family.


Do it for Cancer Head Shave


“My mum was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma on 29th November 2011, the same day my grandfather died of cancer.

“I’ve watched Mum’s cancer journey, she even talked me into shaving her hair when the chemo caused it to start falling out. She had her last chemo and was told she was in remission in August 2012 and around a week later she fell and broke her back.

“Mum was in the Gold Coast Hospital for a bit over three weeks and in pain but still kept smiling because she was in remission.

“Unfortunately in August 2013 her blood tests revealed the cancer was back with a vengeance, it had spread through her bones. So back into chemo she went, fairly severe dosages at that. Still, she smiles and she is an inspiration.

“As most onlookers of those diagnosed with cancer do, I felt useless. I thought a lot about what I could do to help.

“Then it hit me. Shaving my head to raise money in the hope there is a cure one day would be a bold and proud statement. I asked my hairdresser if she could donate her time, I got the local paper involved, and then I asked Mum to do the first shave. I decided to do it on her birthday so that it was a memorable birthday for her.

“We had more than 50 people turn up to watch the shave, it was amazing. As my own memory, I had the purple cancer ribbon tattooed on my neck near my hair line.

“My children’s bus driver paid for the tattoo and the tattooist handed me the $100 back to me saying, ‘For your cause -I had leukaemia when I was a kid.’

“I will never forget the generosity of my family, friends and people in my town and no words will ever be thank you enough for the support they have all given.”

Join with people like Kelly and shave or colour your hair this year to help beat cancer! Register now for your free host kit at


Eat It To Beat It: Back to School with Fruit and Veg Sense


Over 70 parents and carers across Northern NSW have already received Eat It To Beat It’s Fruit and Veg Sense workshop this year. Sessions have been held across Moree Plains, Carroll, Armidale, Taree, Nabiac, Willawarrin, Bellingen, Urunga, Lismore and Ulmarra, delivered by Eat It To Beat It volunteers. Parents and carers have been given tips to increase their fruit and veg consumption as well as overcome fussy eating challenges that are common amongst so many families.

A Beechwood mother of 1 says she “Loves the handouts and think they are a great idea across the board and a great incentive to have a look at what their children want to eat for lunch”. She says its “handy for busy mums”.

This program is in the middle of it’s season. Parents and teachers are encouraged to book in a session at their local school by visiting the website


Northern NSW Shows Support for Palliative Care


The ‘I Care For Palliative Care’ campaign continued to gain traction in Northern NSW this month, with another four campaign launches held across the region. Ballina, Grafton, Port Macquarie and Taree communities added their pledges to the tally, showing strong community support for increased palliative care funding across the state.

The events were well attended by local MP’s, stakeholders and residents, generating extensive media across 10 print, television and radio media outlets across the region!


Dougal Bear Volunteer

dougal bear

In the Byron Bay office a few weeks ago, we had an enquiry from a potential volunteer who wanted to give back and work with us.  Her name is Melina, and she is a Brazilian lady visiting Byron Bay to learn English.

When we interviewed her, it became apparent that her spoken English level would make it very difficult for her to work with us on Media and Communications projects (Melina is a journalist back home).

However, her spark and enthusiasm triggered an idea- could she help out at Relay for Life?  She explained that she loved to give hugs, dance and make people happy- the perfect skill set to be Dougal Bear!

Melina was our Dougal Bear at Relay for Life, Ballina at the weekend.  She did an amazing job and did all the things she said she was good at!  She actually made no less than five appearances and we all know how hard that is in the heat!

Melina has written a little piece about her perspective of Relay For Life- get ready- it’s pretty touching and all this from a visitor to our country who is prepared to give back.

Melina’s Story

“I was a 27-year-old girl who worked, dated and lived with my family.

“On 12/11/2010 I received the diagnosis that would change this whole scenario and my life forever. Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“From that moment I stopped life to take care of my health. I only lived the disease. I reclaimed myself. Those were hard days! I suffered a lot because I lost my hair, it was very difficult to lose.

“Because I was misdiagnosed, my cancer was already in grade II being treated with 12 sessions of chemotherapy. Duration of treatment: six months.

“At the end of this process the next step was rebirth.

“I have gained kilos, stains, scars and strength to overcome all this. Hair has grown, I have lost all the Kilos gained from a super healthy diet, and I believe that healthy cooking is the cure of any disease.

“Years and years living by myself, I decided it was time to live the collective, share and exchange experiences with people unknown.

“It was then that I arrived in Australia in search of a dream, to master the English language.

“My life now is living the collective, making a difference in someone’s life, whether it’s with an encouragement, with a helping hand, with a costume dance dressed as a bear, with a hug, with a cleaning, with a meal, anyway. …. I have many things to offer.

“The desire to be a volunteer was precisely because of this, to live the collective, to exchange stories, to help, to learn and to grow … to become a better person.

“On the day of the event, I felt a great joy at drawing smiles from children and adults, I was very moved at the end, I found the envelopes with light beautiful. I felt the faith of desires. Your work is fantastic.

“I am so proud and grateful that you have helped me become a little better.”

The Ballina Relay for Life was a beautiful event.  The RFL Committee and all volunteers put in a mammoth effort to execute a well organised, fun and welcoming event which was beautiful, emotional and welcoming for all.  Congratulations to the Ballina community, on behalf of all of us at the Cancer Council NSW, thank you for all your hard work.


Liverpool Plains Relay For Life Committee Volunteers

liverpool relay arch

The 2017 Liverpool Relay has been a celebration in more ways than one, with the Liverpool Plains community celebrating 10 years of relay at the Quirindi Rugby Ground.

Nothing was going to dampen the spirits of the Liverpool Plains relayers, including the amazing Relay committee volunteers, as inclement weather threatened to spoil the party.  The rain fell all throughout the region leading into the event, but the Quirindi Rugby Ground was in amazing condition, and the only drops of water that fell during the event was a light 3am shower which didn’t spoil anyone’s fun and celebrations.

The Liverpool Plains relay committee volunteers were a big highlight of the event this year and among the committee were a number of dedicated volunteers involved that have served Cancer Council NSW and Relay for Life over the last 10 years.

The current committee chair and Quirindi resident Ann Stent has been involved with the Liverpool Plains Relay for Life since it started in 2007, attending the first ever Relay for Life Summit prior to the record breaking 2007 Quirindi Relay for Life.

Barbara and Barry McNamara are long standing committee members who have held various positions over the past 10 years taking on multiple roles and always being around to lend a hand in any way they are needed.

Julia Cameron has also been involved with the event since its conception being on the committee for the last 5 bi-annual events.  Julie, a Pre-school director, coordinates the children’s games and activities which are always a huge hit at every Relay.  This year was not only the 10 year anniversary of the Liverpool Plains Relay for Life, but the 10 year anniversary of the passing of Julia’s beloved Dad, who is the reason Relay for Life is close to her heart.

The mother and daughter team of Pam Tanner and Jodie Sevil attended the 2016 Relay for Life Summit after coordinating the ceremonies for the 2015 event, and this experience had an amazing impact on their commitment and enthusiasm in organising this year’s ceremonies, including the 10 year anniversary celebrations

Angus Fraser has been involved in the Liverpool Relay committee for the last two relays with purple running through his veins, being the son of Shaen Fraser the inaugural chair of the Liverpool Plains Relay for life (and staff member).  This year Angus, or “Gus” as he is known to many, chose to not cut his hair for over 12 months and then lost his locks at the 2017 Relay, raising $2,000 for his troubles.

liverpool relay

These are just a few of the amazing volunteers and committee members who have helped mould the success of Relay for Life in the Liverpool Plains community and for that Cancer Council NSW and cancer patients across NSW owe a great deal of thanks.


Palliative Care, The Issue is on Everyone’s Agenda


Palliative Care is talked about in the hospitals, within accommodation providers; doctor surgery’s and homes across NSW. Our NSW Parliament Members are aware of the issue and through the resources developed by Cancer Council the gaps are identified and the solution resolved.

Local offices across Northern NSW are working diligently to build networks and engage stake holders and in Northern NSW pledges are rolling in.

In the Lower Mid North Coast Local MP Steve Bromhead (Taree) has happily signed the pledge while Leslie Williams is encouraged and understands the issue but yet to sign.

The issue of Palliative Care is on everyone’s agenda and with our launch in mid-March it will continue to be talked about.


National Close the Gap Day


16 March marked National Close the Gap Day, when Cancer Council NSW called for more culturally appropriate palliative care services for Aboriginal people. The call comes as part of Cancer Council NSW’s ‘I Care for Palliative Care’ campaign, which is highlighting a state-wide shortage of palliative care staff across NSW.

When an Aboriginal person has a terminal illness, they deserve the best possible and most appropriate palliative care. Palliative care services are more likely to be effective when Aboriginal people are integrally involved in their development and implementation.

Across Northern NSW, we are working with local Aboriginal Medical Services to raise cancer awareness through prevention programs such as Tackling Tobacco, as well as provide assistance through our Pro Bono Legal Service, Financial Assistance, and Transport to Treatment programs.

To help Close the Gap support the ‘I Care for Palliative Care’ campaign by signing the pledge for Minister Hazzard to end the palliative care shortage:


28 clubs and counting across Northern NSW – Improve Your Long Game


Did you know that NSW men over the age of 40 are twice as likely as women of a similar age to die of melanoma?

That’s why we joined forces with 28 golf clubs across Northern NSW this summer to help our players reduce their risk of skin cancer and improve their long game. The program, aimed at men aged 40 years and over, encourages sun protective behaviours by offering free sunscreen pump dispensers at designated points along the course, as well as information resources on how to reduce skin cancer risk.

 “This prevention campaign is definitely improving the message and people started relating it back to their own personal experience and they go ‘okay that makes sense’.  The sunscreen is getting used, and I take that as proof the prevention message is getting across to people. I monitor the campaign pretty closely. I’m sort of like… if this spot isn’t working, where can I move it, I’ll put it somewhere else. I’ve done a bit of moving sunscreen around and I’ve found my peak zones. I know the campaign is working so I’m fully on-board and that’s why we are pushing Improve Your Long Game.” Matthew Hancock, Golf Operations Manager, Coolangatta & Tweed Heads Golf Club.

Hearing Matthew’s views about how we’re helping reduce deaths from cancer and preventing cancer in the NSW community by encouraging people to lead healthy, cancer smart lifestyles gives us encouragement and confidence in achieving our vision of a cancer free society one day. Without the collaboration and support of our community members we would not achieve such incredible results.


Cattle Farmer Darren, doing it for cancer!



In May 2014 Darren’s mum was diagnosed with adrenal cancer, unfortunately passing away in December 2014 at the age of 60.

After, Darren decided he wanted to do something to support those affected by cancer. Being a cattle farmer and wanting to do something a little different, he thought auctioning off a steer would be a great way of raising money.

Last year, Darren’s grandmother also passed from cancer, causing Darren to decide to make auctioning off steer an annual event. He’s now encouraging other cattle farmers to get involved and in the two years they’ve raised an amazing $16,000! Join Darren and Do It For Cancer today!


AFL and Cancer Council NSW Send a Clear Sun Protection Message


Tim Chapman from Cancer Council NSW and Matthew Crawley of AFL NSW/ACT with the imaging machine.

February turned into one of the hottest months on record and while some have the luxury of working in doors, others battle the heat and sun, one such organisation is AFL NSW/ACT.

This year Cancer Council NSW joined forces with AFL NSW/ACT and helped deliver an important Sun Protection message. This involved using the Cancer Council Skin Imaging Machines combined with Sun Protection pamphlets and flyers.

Matthew Crawley NSW North Coast Development Manager “AFL Employees spend hours a day in the sun working with kids and players. While we have good sun protection policy, having our employee’s practices sun protection is always important”

Cancer Council NSW and AFL combined to re-enforce the message that skin damage is not always visible and that damage occurs even on cloudy days.

“The imagining machine and support from Cancer Council was a wonderful addition to the AFL NSW/ACT conference, reinforcing our existing organisational Sun Protection policy”


Who do you relay for?

The Northern Region is deep in Relay for Life season and we thank all the committee chairs, secretaries and members who have dedicated their time and passion into preparing for the upcoming events.

One valued volunteer, Susanne Richards, has been involved in the Ballina Shire Relay for Life for the last five years, and on the Relay Committee for the last two years. After losing her dear friend it prompted her to get involved with Relay .

“She was young and always smiling, someone that could always lift you up when you’re feeling down,” said Susanne.

We often highlight the question, “Who do you relay for?” and Susanne’s response says it all.

rfl banner


“I have more reasons to Relay this year – in July, while I was at a Relay conference, my cousin died of brain cancer. My mum is currently undergoing treatment after having breast cancer, and my dad had a tumor removed from his hip in April. My dad has been fighting Bowel Cancer for 27 years. Of a family of seven, four have battled cancer, one unsuccessfully,” explains local Ballina Shire resident Susanne.

On 25 and 26 March, Susanne will join scores of other dedicated Ballina Shire community members to take to the track in the fight to beat cancer.

To all of our volunteers who are lining up for Relay for Life, we thank you – and here’s some tips to help you through:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Rest when you can
  • Make the most of the comradery
  • Uplift yourself and those around you
  • Pack tissues for the ceremonies
  • Wear comfy shoes and
  • Cut your toenails!!!

All the best to all our Relay for Life teams


Crackin’ good time!

crackin cancer 1

The Crackin’ Cancer and Cumberland Horse Trail Riding Club’s weeklong horse trail ride was once again, a resounding success raising $22,000 for Cancer Council NSW. The purpose of the event, is to raise much needed funds for cancer research, whilst at the same time, offering its participants a great week riding.

“The event has been going for six years now and the Cumberland Trail Horse Trail Riding Club have done an absolutely outstanding job over that period, each year raising as much as they can for a most important and extremely necessary cause,” said Crackin’ Cancer member Marshall Fittler.

crackin cancer 2

“Everyone has been touched by cancer, in some form or other, including Cumberland Horse Trail Riding Club members. The huge ongoing effort to find improved treatments and cures for this disease, is well worth it,” he said.

A special thanks must go to chief organisers of this event, Cathy Wood and Reg Bright as well as the whole club. A final thank you to Crackin’ Cancer’s Marshall Fittler, Laurie Cooper and John Bigalow, for working as volunteers over the six year period of the ride.

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Marshall Fittler presenting the Crackin’ Cancer $22,000 cheque to Cancer Council NSW’s Abby Wallace (Community Relations Coordinator)


Dougie brings home the Australia Day award

dougie award

Doug Stinson and his proud wife Lesley at the Australia Day award ceremony.

Our well decorated volunteer, Doug Stimson, was awarded the Ballina Shire Australia Day Citizen of the Year Award for 2017.  Doug is an all-rounder in the Ballina/ Alstonville/ Lennox Head communities and was recognised for many contributions, including his dedication to Cancer Council NSW’s Relay for Life.  Doug helped establish RFL in Ballina in 2003 and has worked on the event ever since. 

Doug was awarded this honour at the Shire’s Australia Day ceremony attended by dignitaries, including Winter Olympic gold medalist Alisa Camplin.  Upon receiving the award, Doug’s acceptance speech highlighted the amazing work that volunteers do across the community.

“I’m sure I don’t need to say just what a great honour it is to receive this award today – I feel very privileged as I am well aware of the many wonderful people we have in our Shire who do so much for others with limited recognition or support. I guess I should accept the award on their behalf and publicly thank them for their contributions to our Shire and support to those who are perhaps less fortunate than the rest of us.” 

We thank Doug for acknowledging Cancer Council NSW in his speech –  “In many ways I feel that I should be offering my own form of gratitude to the wonderful people and volunteers I have been associated with for what they have done for me in recent years rather than the other way around. The staff and volunteers with the Byron Bay Office of Cancer Council NSW are the most delightful, energetic and passionate people you could ever meet. I have been especially privileged to be associated with them.”

It has been an honour and a privilege to work with Doug and all of our volunteers and we look forward to achieving many more success stories in the future


Staff Achievement Award

Collaboration Award: Dimity Betts, for her success with Palliative Care Advocacy Campaign in the Tamworth area

‘Dimity has built strong community and MP support around the campaign in Tamworth and surrounding communities. The launch was a huge success with local MP’s attending and local TV, print and radio coverage’

Rhian Paton-Kelly, Northern NSW Regional Manager


Winning Coopernook kids choose Cancer Council NSW


Kaios Baker, Shawn Drury, and Ty Wallace from Coopernook Public School were among 10 winning teams Australia-wide for their entry into the ‘National Kidpreneur Challenge’.

The young boys designed fishing hooks from recyclable bottle caps in order to take out the business skills competition and win new computers for their school, along with a trip to Melbourne to ‘Moose Toy Headquarters’.

The boys unanimously decided they should donate the profits from their small business ‘Cap Lures’ to Cancer Council NSW as they each had their story to tell of loved ones being affected by cancer.

Katie Mead, Lower Mid-North Coast Community Relations Coordinator, visited the students at the end of last term to be presented a cheque for $250 and some beautifully presented ‘Cap Lures’ products.


Casino Relay For Life launch


Casino Relay For Life launched their Relay in December at the Christmas Street Markets in the “Beef Capital of Australia” (their claim to fame)!

The committee were busy handing out sunscreen, balloons, selling raffle tickets and parading around Dougal Bear.

First prize in the raffle is a beautiful handmade “Hope Blooms” quilt made by committee member Kay Wilson worth $750, second prize is a Fender Strat guitar signed by Ian Moss, plus there are another four prizes up for grabs donated by generous sponsors in the community.

The Relay will be held in Casino on the weekend of 6 and 7 May 2017.


Ballina Shire Relay For Life Team ANZ


The 2017 Ballina Shire Relay For Life is fast approaching with only a few months until the community take the track in the fight to beat cancer. Local Ballina resident, David Harris and the ANZ Ballina team are once again on board to support the Relay to be held on the weekend of 25 and 26 March 2017 at the Seagulls Club, Ballina.

“Every bit help,s and by registering for the 2017 Relay, you are contributing to the cause. You can come for an hour or go all night. It’s a great family event and I love sharing the importance of the candle light ceremony with my kids while having a fun night camping,” said David.

“Relays are a fun community event with a great cause. Unfortunately, most people these days have been affected by cancer in some way and are unsure what they can do to give back. Relay is an opportunity for people to help in some way,” said David.


Men of League showing their support to Inala House, Tamworth

Shaen Fraser accepting the hamper on behalf of the Inala House guests

Shaen Fraser accepting the hamper on behalf of the Inala House guests

The “Men of League” (MOL) charity is all about supporting your mates when they need it. The Tamworth branch of “Men of League” donated several hampers at Christmas time to people in need around the Tamworth region.

One of the Inala Transport to Treatment volunteers, Peter Johnson, who is a member of the Tamworth MOL group, suggested they give the hamper to the guests of Inala House.

Tamworth MOL President Mr Kevin Robinson delivered the hamper in mid-January. Inala House was at 100% occupancy, so the groceries were put to good use by the guests.


Liverpool Plains Relay for Life celebrating 10 years of fighting back against cancer.

Some of the hard working Liverpool Plains RFL Committee – Angus Fraser (Entertainment) Ann Stent (Chair) Jodie Sevil (Ceremonies) Barb and Barry McNamara (Catering and Logistics)

Some of the hard working Liverpool Plains RFL Committee – Angus Fraser (Entertainment) Ann Stent (Chair) Jodie Sevil (Ceremonies) Barb and Barry McNamara (Catering and Logistics)

The small regional community of Liverpool Plains is this year celebrating their 10 year Relay anniversary.

They first relayed in April 2007, and have relayed every two years since. The committee has already been working hard to promote this grand occasion and were out in force on Saturday 28 January at the Inaugural Quirindi Military Tattoo with a market stall, where they sold tickets in their major raffle as well as taking registrations and selling Relay for Life merchandise.

There was an additional stall on the day from team “Posse, Chaps and Pals” , whose ‘Trash and Treasure’ stall helped to boost their fundraising total.


I Care for Palliative Care launches in the Northwest


Member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries met with advocate Anne Weekes and Community Engagement Manager, Dimity Betts.

The end of 2016 saw the successful launch of I Care for Palliative Care campaign in the Tamworth electorate.

Kevin Anderson MP showed his full support and accepted the story booklet. Mitch Williams, whose story about his experience of palliative care with his mother features in the booklet, and Lucy Haslam, were there to share their personal experiences with palliative care. The whole Tamworth team and several advocates were also there to support the event.

Mitch Williams and Lucy Haslam

Mitch Williams and Lucy Haslam.

The event featured a marquee set up in the main street of Tamworth where we invited Mr. Anderson along, and also invited the media to capture it all. Members of the public passing by were able to make the pledge. All the local T.V, radio and newspaper outlets were there, which made it gain a lot of attention.

Since then, the CEO of Hunter New England Health has made a commitment to employ a full time clinical nurse specialist in Tamworth. Although that still takes us to only two nurses covering around 120,000 people, it’s a start. Member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries, also made the pledge in Narrabri after meeting with advocate Anne Weekes from Wee Waa and Community Engagement Manager, Dimity Betts.


Kevin Anderson, MP accepting the booklet.



Member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries.


Healthwise and Cancer Council NSW team up to deliver sun safe message in Boggabri


Healthwise New England and Northwest and Cancer Council NSW often team up to deliver health messages in our area, especially in our rural communities. Most recently we joined forces to deliver a sun safety and health day at Boggabri swimming pool.

Boggabri is a small town between Gunnedah and Narrabri with a population of less than 1,000 people. The day was attended by around 50 people who enjoyed fresh fruit cups, salad wraps, lots of swimming fun, and were able to chat to the local primary health care nurse, as well as Dimity from Cancer Council NSW, who had lots of information available on sun safety and protecting our children’s skin when outdoors.

Winangi-li Aboriginal children and family services were also there on the day spreading their message.

In the past we have teamed up to deliver health checks at Relays, a health ‘pit stop’ at AgQuip, health education in primary schools, and a breast cancer awareness day.


Sun Sound jingles in Port Macquarie


Programs in full swing, the sound of Sun Sound jingles echoed from Port Macquarie Pool and Flynns Beach. While on regional golf courses players applied sunscreen vigorously.

2016 saw the rollout of programs combined with Cancer Council NSW’s new Constituent Relationship Management system, and despite some teething issues the program has enabled us to effectively manage resources, record participation, and keep track of communication. We look forward to working further with community program partners using this great resource.

This season we welcome on board new partners Port Macquarie Olympic Pool (Sun Sound) and Forster Tuncurry Golf Club (Improve Your Long Game). These two partners both jumped at the chance to be involved and engaged and we look forward to building relationships.


New Volunteering and Partnerships Coordinator

10.CaitFPhotoforVPCarticle.143155The start of 2017 also saw a new face join the team in the Byron Bay office. The Volunteering and Partnerships Coordinator role has been filled by Caitlyn Feldmann, who will be looking after the Volunteers Participation Coordinator responsibilities in the Northern Region.

Get to know Caitlyn, known as Cait (yes another Cait/ Kate!) through her short blurb below.

“Hello All! It’s an honour and a pleasure to be working with Cancer Council NSW and I already feel very welcome – Thank you!

“My career has spanned many different areas – most recently employed at Southern Cross University (Lismore Campus) in their marketing team working in student recruitment. Prior to that, I worked in the non-profit sector for ten years at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, on the Gold Coast, as their Education Manager. I have also travelled a great deal, working in teaching, training, management and marketing.

“I love working with people, drawing the best out of those around me, and helping to develop individuals to achieve their full potential. I look forward to working with the volunteers and staff at Cancer Council NSW to help make a positive contribution to the organisation.

“I am a Byron local and in my spare time I love to make the most of all that the area has to offer with my husband, two kids and dog. I love wildlife and nature and get out and amongst it daily! I am also a very keen ocean swimmer, and you’ll find me swimming the Bay any day off I have!

“Have a fantastic 2017 and I look forward to working with you all.”


Southern NSW


We couldn’t do it without you!

Volunteer Week

As it is National Volunteer Week I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for the work you do for Cancer Council NSW.

As a team you help us deliver a number of local programs and events, including ten Relay For Lifes, five Dance For Cancers, 81 Daffodil Day sites, six transport services, two Cancer Council Information Services, and the list goes on.

It is through the time and effort you generously contribute that we can and will beat cancer.

Thank you for choosing to make a difference!


Mia Parsons,

Volunteering & Partnerships Coordinator


Volunteer Profile: Riley Smith

Riley Smith Photo

On March 25 the Centennial Park, Cooma, grounds were filled with hope and community support for Cooma’s second Relay For Life event. The purple and yellow Relay shirts filled the town and the day was a huge success!

To support the small but mighty local committee, we had three passionate volunteers working from the Wollongong office to help make the event happen. One of these passionate volunteers was Riley Smith, who organised and ran the Relay Health Hub.

The Cancer Council Health Hub is an innovative twist on the original Passport/Mission Area of Relay For Life. The aim of the hub is to encourage and support people to lead healthier, cancer smart lifestyles, reducing the burden of preventable cancers on the health care system.

The Health Hub operated between 12pm and 3pm at Cooma’s Relay and Riley was thrilled with the community’s overall awareness in making health conscious lifestyle decisions, which can help prevent cancer. These cancer prevention activities included applying sunscreen, maintaining a healthy diet and maintaining an active lifestyle.

Riley, a university student completing her final year in Health Science, made the five hour drive from Sydney to Cooma to run the Health Hub with seven additional volunteers. The health hub volunteers were from the Cooma community and included nurses, gym trainers and massage therapists.

Riley said she felt a great deal of accomplishment when she “realised (she) had contributed to the success of the event through encouraging others to volunteer, turn up and participate. It was also really rewarding seeing people make a connection between the advertising that Cancer Council NSW does and the activities we had operating at Health Hub.”

The success of the Health Hub has had a lasting impression on Riley, and she has decided to stay on as a volunteer, happily accepting the offer to help deliver the Stars of Eurobodalla Dancer for Cancer event, being held on July 22 at Tomakin Sports and Social Club.

Riley has stated that being part of a not for profit organisation, such as Cancer Council NSW, is very rewarding. “I really enjoy speaking to other volunteers, and getting to share their excitement and participation in an event. As someone with a Performing Arts background, I am really excited to be involved with Stars of Eurobodalla and I imagine on the evening of the event, seeing everyone have such fun on stage, I will be wishing I was also performing up there with them.”

 “Running around on the actual day of the event, seeing people participate, and having the opportunity to speak to so many people, I thrive on that,” Riley said.

If you are interested in participating in Stars of Eurobodalla Dance For Cancer, please contact Community Engagement Coordinator Kate Brett, on (02) 4223 0200 or


Have you got your ticket to Stars of Wollongong yet?


On June 3, fourteen enthusiastic fundraisers will be performing front and centre at the Stars of Wollongong Dance for Cancer event. The dancers will be performing in front of an expert judging panel and a live audience at WIN Entertainment Centre.

All fourteen participants have been working tirelessly to perfect their routines, with an overall aim to raise an incredible $3,500 each. Funds from the event will provide cancer support services within the Illawarra region.

Cancer Council NSW Senior Regional Manager Michael Cannon said, “We strive to connect people and organisations to the cancer cause because we know that together we can build insights into the significance of cancer in our lives and contribute our talents towards the vision of cancer defeated.

“Our key priority working areas of research, support, prevention and advocacy will ensure that no cancer is ignored and that no-one faces a cancer diagnosis alone. I commend each and every dancer for giving up their time, their energy, and putting their reputations on the line in order to help make our vision a reality.”

Be sure to book your tickets for the biggest showstopper evening to hit Wollongong! Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster for $140, with all proceeds going to Cancer Council NSW.

You can also follow the progress of our ‘stars’ on Facebook at Stars of Wollongong Dance for Cancer, on Instagram @stars_of_wollongong and through their individual accounts.

For full details, go to


Daffodil Day Team Leaders Needed

BowralColes_Daffodil Day

Daffodil Day is Cancer Council’s flagship fundraising event and the largest fundraising event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and this year is been held on Friday 25 August 2017.

Cancer Council NSW is seeking enthusiastic and passionate volunteers to take on the role of Team Leader. Your role and responsibilities on Daffodil Day will include:

  • Managing your site on Friday 25 August
  • Ensuring the safety of your team and customers
  • Contacting and coordinating your team of volunteers, prior to and on Daffodil Day
  • Managing the paperwork, banking and security for your site
  • Liaising with Cancer Council – volunteer needs, delivery / return of merchandise and fresh flowers etc.
  • Contacting site location Venue Manager – we suggest contacting them a couple of days out to re-confirm where to collect merchandise for site set up (if you did not receive it at home and are bringing it with you), access times to storage areas if applicable, and confirming a contact name for on the day (in case this has changed from the details provided by site venue originally).

Join the volunteer team to make a real difference towards the defeat of cancer.  Fundraising on the day will go towards cancer research, prevention, education and patient support services.

Daffodil Day is a great way to meet people, develop skills in communication, merchandising and sales, while engaging with your local community.

Previous Team Leader? We will be in touch very soon to register you for 2017.

First time? Please contact Caitlyn Zalewski on 02 4223 0212 or email


Nowra Relay For Life


On March 29, The 14th annual Shoalhaven Nowra Relay for Life was held at the Nowra Showground. The theme this year was “For Friends, Family and the Future.” Due to wet weather, the event was altered from a 24-hour event to a 12-hour event.

Team numbers were only slightly down on previous years, and participants numbered approximately 915 (including 158 registrations on the day).  There was a great turnout of survivors and their carers, our VIPs of Relay for Life, with an estimated 150 at the special survivor/carer morning tea.

One of the highlights was the performance by ‘Don’t Change – The INXS story’. We were very privileged to have this band perform at Relay, as they only support one charity event each year.  Relay formed part of their tour that includes a performance at the Singapore Grand Prix.


Bermagui Bike Show 2017


On April 22, the annual Bermagui Bike Show was held in Dickinson Park, hosted by local fundraisers, the Cancer Research Advocate Bikers (CRABS).  The day was filled with bikes, exhibits, live music, auctions, raffles and trade stalls.

As well as showing off bikes of all styles, and several hotrods for four-wheel fans, the CRABS were also donating $20,000 to Cancer Council on the day.

The donation takes the local chapter’s total contribution to Cancer Council NSW to over $300,000! What an amazing achievement?!


Stars of Southern Highlands Dancer For Cancer


On March 29, the Stars of Southern Highlands Dance for Cancer launched at Mittagong RSL. Ten Southern Highlands identities, from dairy farmers to cricket legends, are dusting off their dancing shoes and taking to the stage for the inaugural gala event on May 19.

Representatives from naming sponsor, First Class Wealth, attended the night along with General and Practical Support (GAPS) Coordinator, Joan Harrison and GAPS Driver, Kathryn Woodhouse.

It was announced on the evening that funds raised from the event would go towards the purchase and running of a GAPS transport car so that volunteers are no longer required to use their own vehicles for the service.

It was a fun night had by all, with excitement building for the event at the end of May.


Fruit & Veg Sense in Southern


The Eat It To Beat It program’s Fruit & Veg Sense workshops are in full swing in the Southern Region. We are excited to welcome 12 new volunteers to the program, joining our 11 existing volunteers.

Our volunteers are all very passionate about healthy eating, with some choosing to volunteer their time while completing a degree in Nutrition, Public Health and/or Dietetics.

Our new Eat It To Beat It volunteers participated in training at the University of Wollongong Innovation Campus on March 16. Volunteers spent the day gaining information about Eat It To Beat It including, how to deliver Fruit & Veg Sense workshops and another of the program’s key offerings, Healthy Lunch Box sessions. Following the full-day training, four competency assessments have taken place.

The competency assessment ensures volunteers feel confident facilitating a session and are ready to implement the program in the community!

The Southern Region office is also excited to have gained three newly-recruited volunteers from Mollymook, who partook in training on Friday 7 April. Once trained, these volunteers will implement more Eat It To Beat It sessions in the Shoalhaven region.


Queanbeyan Relay For Life


On March 4 and 5, Queanbeyan Relay For Life took place at the Queanbeyan Showgrounds. Despite some tricky weather, the event had a great atmosphere and the community really came together for a fun-filled event.

Cancer survivor, Fiona Bromwich completed 23 hours on the track, mostly in a wheelchair, to complete a bucket list item – ‘become more involved in the community and the Relay For Life event’.

“At age 30 I had ovarian cancer that required my uterus to be removed, and then I had a speed boat accident two months later that bruised my spinal cord,” she said.

“The sky was clear and the ground was great. The wheelchair went around really well. When it was charging, I could do a few laps on the crutch.”

The “buzzing” atmosphere, which Ms Bromwich compared to a blue light disco, the candle light vigil, and walking the track between 1 and 2am in “pure peace” were highlights for the Queanbeyan mum.

Other highlights included the Canberra Raider’s mascot, Victor the Viking dancing with Dougal Bear, the ever popular Miss Relay with Queanbeyan High School taking out the top prize, as well as Karaoke throughout the evening to keep everyone awake on the track.

The community is looking forward to a bigger and better event for 2018!


Get your tea cups ready

Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea has officially kicked off in the Southern Region, with two newly appointed volunteer Campaign Assistants, Nichola and CJ, coming on board to help hosts make their event truly successful this year. This power duo will be offering registration and fundraising support to some of our key VIP morning tea hosts in the region.



Both Nichola and CJ will be offering their assistance to hosts seeking any further information about Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, and will ensure all hosts are registered and fully equipped for their event. Once hosts have registered, they will receive a welcome kit and a newly designed limited addition mug. Each year, a newly designed mug is released to our hosts, which many choose to donate to their event raffle, raising further funds for the cause. 

Campaign Assistant Nichola is looking forward to “seeing it all coming together.” Nichola said what she is enjoying most about her role with Cancer Council NSW and Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is “having the opportunity to speak with all the hosts who are participating in the event, hearing their stories and why they enjoy being involved.”

Nichola also continued to state that, “assisting Cancer Council makes [her] feel like [she] is making a difference. There isn’t a single person who doesn’t have a personal connection to cancer, so it would be great for everyone to get involved.”

The official date for Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is 25 May 2017, but events can be held anytime throughout May or June.

If you or anyone you know would like to get involved, make a donation or host an event for Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea and help beat cancer, you can register at or call 1300 65 65 85.


Farewell to a volunteer who will be sorely missed

PamAfter 10 wonderful years, we are saying farewell to our delightful Volunteer Receptionist, Pam Kilby, from our Southern Regional office. Pam has made the decision to resign from the role and join her husband in retirement, with the hopes to do some travel together.

Pam first got involved with Cancer Council ten years ago, when she heard a friend was volunteering and she too decided she had “a few hours each week of spare time and wanted to help out.”

Pam supported a large number of Cancer Council events over the 10 years, including Daffodil Day, Pink Ribbon Day and Relay For Life. Pam was instrumental in getting things ready for these events, spending countless hours packing team shirts for Relay, stocktaking merchandise and banking funds post event.

Pam highly enjoyed running the stalls and selling merchandise on Daffodil Day at Fairy Meadow and Wollongong Innovation Campus, and in particular “speaking to all those who generously donated.” Pam was also “appreciative of the number of people who thanked the volunteers such as herself for their participation on the day.”

When asking Pam what she enjoyed most about volunteering with Cancer Council she said, “The people I met over the years and that my role was different all the time. I’ve always tried to have a go at everything and I appreciated that everyone was very patient and friendly and always kind.”

Pam, also described as the ‘Office Mum’ by the Volunteering and Partnerships Coordinator, Mia Parsons, will be dearly missed each Thursday. “Pam’s kind heart and helpful personality made her a pleasure to work with. No task was ever too big, and she took on each responsibility with a smile, even cleaning up the kitchen,” Mia said.

“Pam’s smile and warm nature will be greatly missed. She has certainly left an impression and a hole that will be very hard to fill.”

Pam touched the lives of many whilst volunteering within the Southern Region and we are forever grateful for her efforts and hard work.

On behalf of everyone involved at Cancer Council we wish Pam the very best for the future.


Local Researcher Awarded Cancer Council NSW Research Grant


On Wednesday 1 March, Cancer Council NSW awarded nearly $6 million to 15 ground-breaking cancer research projects. These grants help fund future breakthroughs in cancer research, with leading research teams paving the way for new ways to treat the disease.

Included in the list of recipients is local University of Wollongong researcher, Professor Peter Metcalfe, who has been awarded a project grant, worth $427,000, to develop a world first radiation system to ensure the safe delivery of radiation doses to patients.

Radiation therapy is used to treat 40% of cancer patients in Australia. The problem with current therapy is that during treatment, the tumours are moving. Professor Peter Metcalfe and his team have found that they can follow the tumour with a new radiation machine, called the MRI-linac, but it is impossible to check whether the radiation dose is correct and safe for the patient.

To solve this problem, the team is perfecting a new radiation dosimetry system that could be operated with the MRI-linac. The new system’s detector acts as a surrogate for the cancer, which will be imaged and treated as it moves in the body. This world first radiation system will enable the safe delivery of radiation dose to cancer patients treated with the MRI-linac.

‘’We can monitor biological aspects of the tumour and effectively try and personalise the treatment for the patient, depending on how the tumour is responding,’’ Professor Metcalfe said.

‘’We’ll be able to deliver radiation more precisely, so potentially we’ll be able to deliver the dose in five doses, instead of 25 to 30.’’

Prof Metcalfe said the technology would be especially beneficial for soft tissue tumours that were difficult to visualise on scans, and therefore hard to treat.

‘’So cancers like lung, breast, oesophagus, pancreas, rectal, cervix, prostate and lymph nodes,” he said.

Cancer Council NSW Regional Manager, Michael Cannon, Cancer Council NSW Communication and Events Coordinator, Tracy Thomas, as well as WIN Television met with Professor Metcalfe at the University for a small tour of the laboratories to view his team’s amazing research.

You can view the story here


The 14th Annual Great Ocean Pool Crawl Makes Another Big Splash!


On Sunday 5 March, the Northern Illawarra Community held it’s 14th annual Great Ocean Pool Crawl.

Founded in 2002 by Real Estate Agent and keen ocean swimmer, Phil Murray, The Great Ocean Pool Crawl is a family friendly event where locals can swim, snorkel or paddle to raise funds for CCNSW.

Taking inspiration from the traditional pub crawl, the event involves participants ‘crawling’ down the South Coast from Coalcliff to Towradgi via seven stunning ocean pools. The participants complete two laps at each pool before moving on to the next one.

Participants at this year’s event evaded the stormy weather to raise $20,000 and counting!

We look forward to next year’s event.


Stars of Wollongong Dance For Cancer Launch


On Wednesday 8 March, the Southern Region officially launched Stars of Wollongong Dance for Cancer 2017 at the WIN Entertainment Centre.

Hosted by Christie and Crammy from i98FM, the event was an exciting introduction to this year’s stars, who will work with a professional dance instructor to learn a dance routine to showcase at a Gala Event on Saturday 3 June, while fundraising for Cancer Council NSW.

 We were also excited to announce our partnership with WIN Television who have come on board as naming rights sponsor for the event.

 Our 14 local stars, from many different backgrounds including law, journalism, broadcasting, banking, hairdressing, NSW Police Force and Dog Grooming, have so far collectively raised almost $10,000 with many fundraising events to come.

 Follow our hilarious Facebook page for further updates.


Eurobodalla Relay For Life


The Eurobodalla Relay For life was held at Bill Smyth Oval, Narooma on the weekend, 18/19 March. Over 360 participants walked the track for 24 hours, and despite all the rain, the event was hailed a great success at the new venue.

Eurobodalla Relay for Life Committee chairwoman, Gilly Kearney, said it was Narooma’s turn to host the Relay after previous events were held in Batemans Bay and Moruya. She was blown away by the level of support and participation shown by the Narooma community.

 “Last weekend in the rain and drizzle, I’m certain I speak for all on the committee when I say that Narooma residents and its surrounding family and friends have totally overwhelmed us with the generous support, be it in-kind, through gifts and sponsorship and donations,” Mrs Kearney said.

 “We all came together in the rain, to fight cancer and it was an epic 24 hours and an epic journey to get there.

 “The performers, the food and some kids some doing almost 200 laps – 60 kilometres – all walking to help fight cancer.”

 Almost $50,000 has been raised by the Eurobodalla community. Well done to the new, revamped committee for a great event!


Fruit & Veg Sense workshops loaded up with volunteers across our region to maximise the Eat It To Beat It program

Eat It To Beat It logo

The Eat It To Beat It program’s Fruit & Veg Sense workshops are in full swing in the Southern Region. We are excited to welcome 12 new volunteers to the program, joining our 11 existing volunteers.

Our volunteers are all very passionate about healthy eating, with some choosing to volunteer their time while completing a degree in Nutrition, Public Health and/or Dietetics.

The free 90-minute Fruit & Veg Sense workshops, facilitated by trained volunteers, provide parents of primary school aged children with information on fruit and vegetable servings, fussy eating, menu planning and food budgeting.

Our new Eat It To Beat It volunteers participated in training at the University of Wollongong Innovation Campus on March 16. Volunteers spent the day gaining information about Eat It To Beat It including, how to deliver Fruit & Veg Sense workshops and another of the program’s key offerings, Healthy Lunch Box sessions.

Following the full-day training, four competency assessments have taken place. The competency assessment ensures volunteers feel confident facilitating a session and are ready to implement the program in the community! 

The Southern Region office is also excited to be gaining three newly-recruited volunteers from Mollymook, who will partake in training on Friday April 7. Once trained, these volunteers will be able to implement more Eat It To Beat It sessions in the Shoalhaven region.

If you have connections to a primary school in the Southern Region that might be interested in a free Fruit & Veg Sense workshop, please contact Regional Nutrition Project Officer Kate Angelucci on (02) 4223 0208 or


Going Bald for your Birthday


On 1 February, Goulburn resident and adored childhood educator, Kim Albon, went bald for her 45th birthday.

After learning her sister-in-law had been diagnosed with cancer for the second time in two years, Ms Albon wanted to help. “I’ve always said to her, ‘If you go bald, I’ll go bald’,” the early childhood educator said.

Kim’s head shave was held in front of her delighted students at the Scalliwags Children’s Centre raising $6,600.

“I thought no one would donate [but] I’m overwhelmed and humbled with the amount of generosity from the people. I feel fantastic,” she said. “I was going to shave it off at home, but I did it at school so the children could also understand and I could raise more money. It’s only hair, it grows back.”


Improve Your Long Game

4.Improve_Your_Long_Game.140058Southern has been on a recruitment blitz, signing up nine clubs (from two clubs in 2016) for our cancer prevention program ‘Improve Your Long Game’.

Yass Golf Club has lead the charge and is excited to encourage its members to use sun protection every time they play this summer and beyond.

Yass Golf Club manager Matthew Waters said the club did not hesitate to jump on board with the campaign, since about 80% of members are older than 40.

“Cancer Council NSW approached us and we just thought it was a good idea, especially with the older generation that we’ve got playing golf. It’s a good initiative for us,” he said.

“Once we got the gear, we implemented it all straight away,” Mr Waters said.


Eurobodalla Relay for Life launch event held at Club Narooma


The Eurobodalla community gathered on February 3 for the launch event to celebrate and raise awareness for the upcoming Eurobodalla Relay for Life.

The event held at Club Narooma was a fun filled afternoon which included barefoot bowls, a barbecue dinner, raffles and prizes, giving the community an opportunity to come together and celebrate the hope that Relay for Life gives.

More than 150 local residents including a brand new committee, patients, carers, friends, family members and those who have been touched by cancer came together on the night raising over $2000.

Many new participants joined the Eurobodalla Relay by registering at the launch event, recognising the importance and value of supporting the local community in the fight against cancer.

The launch event has been an encouraging start to the Eurobodalla Relay for Life, which is being held for the first time in Narooma on 18-19 March at Bill Smythe Memorial Oval, Barker Parade, Narooma.


Greater Western Sydney


Golfers tee off in support of Blacktown Relay For Life

Cancer Council NSW Greater Western Sydney team members Natalia Atcha and Leanne Langdon came under the scrutiny of Blacktown Police Local Area Command Chief Inspector Rob Fitzgerald at a charity golf event in support of Blacktown Relay For Life.

Cancer Council NSW Greater Western Sydney team members Natalia Atcha and Leanne Langdon came under the scrutiny of Blacktown Police Local Area Command Chief Inspector Rob Fitzgerald at a charity golf event in support of Blacktown Relay For Life.

Golfers hit the fairways at Stonecutters Ridge for the annual charity golf day on May 5, raising $14,000 in support of Blacktown Relay For Life.

Thirty-four teams of four contested an 18-hole ambrose competition in near perfect conditions.

Players had the chance to win an Audi donated from Audi Centre Parramatta valued at $55,000 if they could sink a hole-in-one on one of the shorter par three holes.

Event organiser Col Morris said the hole-in-one prize came close to being collected.

“It was a near-run thing. One shot fell within a metre of the hole,” he said.

Mr Morris said the golf day had been running for about 10 years in support of Blacktown Relay For Life, which celebrates 15 years in October.


Impromptu art show at Hills Relay For Life gala ball


Artist Nafisa Naomi puts the finishing touches to her tablecloth artwork at the Hills Relay For Life gala ball.

An impromptu artwork by Archibald Packing Prize winner Nafisa Naomi was among the highlights of the 11th Hills Relay For Life gala ball on Saturday 6 May.

The artwork, drawn by Ms Naomi on a table cloth at the ball, featured images of African wildlife, and guests were able to see the work come to life throughout the course of the evening. The artwork was auctioned online to raise money for Hills Relay For Life on the weekend of 20 and 21 May at Castle Hill Showground.

Among items auctioned at the ball was a surfboard featuring the signatures of past and present Home and Away stars. Actor Lynne McGranger was also on hand to auction an exclusive tour of the Home and Away set.

“The most moving part of the evening featured singer David Sanders, who brought audience members to tears with his rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, while images of the 2016 Hope ceremony at Hills Relay For Life played in the background,” Cancer Council NSW Community Engagement Manager (Programs) Aruni Ratnayake said.

Mrs Ratnayake said the Hills Relay For Life gala ball had raised close to $400,000 for Relay For Life in the past decade.


Blacktown Hospital celebrates National Volunteer Week

Blacktown Hospital NVW - Rosemary Smith and Karen Walsh at Blacktown Hospital’s National Volunteer Week celebrations recognising all hospital volunteers.

Blacktown Hospital NVW – Rosemary Smith and Karen Walsh at Blacktown Hospital’s National Volunteer Week celebrations recognising all hospital volunteers.

Long-term Cancer Council NSW volunteers Rosemary Smith and Karen Walsh were among those to celebrate National Volunteer Week at Blacktown Hospital.

Rosemary and Karen have supported Relay For Life, Cancer Council NSW fundraising initiatives and the cancer action network. Both are currently Blacktown Cancer Council Information Services volunteers.


Community speakers enjoy Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea

Community speaker trainees enjoyed a biggest morning tea at the Cancer Council NSW Greater Western Sydney office on Saturday 6 May.

Community speaker trainees enjoyed a biggest morning tea at the Cancer Council NSW Greater Western Sydney office on Saturday 6 May.

Cancer Council NSW Greater Western Sydney office hosted an Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea in conjunction with its new community speaker training program on 6 May.

Volunteer Programs Coordinator Shirley Buczak was delighted to welcome eight new community speakers to the program. Greater Western Sydney has engaged many new speakers from different walks of life and cultural backgrounds.

Such diversity is fundamental to the program as Greater Western Sydney has the largest number of non-English speaking local government areas in NSW. Shirley said Greater Western Sydney was proud it could share knowledge from the program with a broad audience.   

Training included presentations from guest community speakers Sally Wybenga and Phil Burge.

Sally has been a community speaker since 2015 after retiring from her job as a high school geography and business studies teacher.

Phil has been with the program from 2012 and is committed to educating people about cancer, especially prostate cancer.

Both guest speakers were willing to share their stories and experiences. Such inspirational stories help the program grow and develop.


Blacktown City councillors take the pledge


Blacktown City councillors pledge their support for the I Care for Palliative Care campaign.

Blacktown City councillors have thrown their unanimous support behind the I Care for Palliative Care campaign.

Cancer Council NSW volunteer and International Woman of the Year 2017 for the Riverstone electorate Nicole Winram encouraged councillors to take the pledge and endorse the campaign at a council meeting on April 27.

Nicole was supported by Cancer Council NSW Greater Western Sydney Community Programs Coordinator Natalia Atcha.

In an address to councillors, Ms Winram spoke about her personal experience and the importance of improving palliative care across the state.

She also challenged Blacktown City Mayor Stephen Bali to encourage other Greater Western Sydney mayors and councillors to take the pledge and endorse the campaign.


Penrith comes together at Relay For Life


Participants at the Penrith Relay For Life, photo by Ellise Michelle Photography

More than 1,100 participants took to the track at Penrith Paceway for the 16th annual Cancer Council NSW Penrith Relay For Life on 29 and 30 April.

The moving Candlelight ceremony featured some of the youngest Relayers, who shared stories of inspiration and hope with others, before dedicated participants continued relaying long into the night.

More than 70 volunteers donated their time to make the event a success by supporting the committee in managing proceedings for the day.

One volunteer who continues to go above and beyond at each Penrith Relay For Life is Ross Hutchinson. Ross took on the role of master of ceremonies throughout the entire 24 hours.

Thanks to incredible support from the Penrith community, this year’s Relay has already raised more than $200,000, with a target of $400,000 expected to be reached.


Advocate and MPL Nicole Winram Awarded International Woman of the Year for electorate of Riverstone.

nicole winram

Minister for Women Tanya Davies joined Member for Riverstone, Kevin Conolly MP, to announce that our very own volunteer Nicole Winram is the Riverstone electorate Local Woman of the Year for 2017.

Nicole has been an inspiring volunteer in the Greater Western Sydney region for the last two years, after she lost her husband to cancer. As a community advocate and campaigner, Nicole was instrumental in the Saving Life Campaign to raise awareness of the financial burden that co-payment fees were placing on the families of those receiving infused chemotherapy treatment. Her advocacy efforts contributed strongly to the NSW Government committing to invest $76 million to abolish the co-payments system, and the Premier made special mention of Nicole’s advocacy efforts in the campaign.

You may also recognize Nicole in the current advocacy campaign ‘I Care for Palliative Care’, in which her story is featured in a booklet to urge Health Minister Brad Hazzard to end the shortage of palliative care by funding 10 additional specialist palliative doctors, at a minimum; 129 extra palliative care nurses; and culturally appropriate palliative care for Aboriginal people. She is also involved in the local Relay For Life, Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea and Daffodil Day fundraising projects.

“I congratulate Nicole on her outstanding achievement and thank her for her exceptional example,” said Minister Davies.

Nicole joined the Minister for Women, Tanya Davies at the 2017 NSW Women of the Year award ceremony held at the Sydney International Convention Centre on Wednesday, 8 March.


Penrith Relay For Life

ziad pic

With Penrith Relay for Life around the corner, the committee and wider community are working hard to get the word out there about why we relay.

This year’s Penrith Relay for Life HOPE Ambassador is 12 year old Ziad Soltani, who at 11 was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour and rushed to hospital.

Originally told that he’d be paralysed in 12 months and dead in five years without the tumour removed, Ziad had surgery in November last year and now wants to spread the word amongst kids that cancer can be beaten whilst raising $25,000 for the cause. Read more about Ziad’s story here


Another moving story is that of Negin Mahmoudi, who was motivated to relay after her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Negin shared her story with us at last year’s relay and you can watch it here

Come down to Penrith Relay For Life on April 1-2nd at Penrith Paceway and share your story with us!


On 11 March, Greater Western Sydney Community Speaker Cathy Zhao represented Cancer Council NSW to the Auburn Diversity Service Senior Carnival.

Cathy Zhao presentation

Cathy presented on the topic of ‘five most common cancers’. It is known that Greater Western Sydney has a high population of multicultural communities and we were honoured to educate the 70-plus audience mainly from Turkish, Arabic, Dari and Chinese backgrounds on what Cancer Council NSW is, how they can reduce the risk of cancer, how to detect early signs of cancer, and how to find relevant information.

Our key point of the presentation was stating that the five most common cancers discussed account for over 60% of all cancers diagnosed in Australia. Also stating that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women in Australia will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 85.

These figures include the three different types of skin cancers, which, combined are the most common type of cancer. Many audiences members had a chat after the presentation and gathered information that they could read to their families.


Big Wigs Attend Blacktown Cancer Centre to Open New Service


Blacktown Hospital Divisional Director Professor Mark Mclean and our very own Regional Manager Rory Alcock officially opened the much awaited Wig Library, close to one year since the inauguration of the Cancer Council Information Service at the new Blacktown Cancer & Haematology Centre in 2016.

The project builds on an existing strong partnership and will involve Cancer Council volunteer hairdresser, Kathy Mandarano, to style patients, and Hospital Admin staff to coordinate bookings. The service aims to enhance patients’ quality of life, particularly for those who are unable to purchase their own wigs. Kathy holds this assignment close to heart through her own personal experience, and believes in providing care with empathy, love, respect and honesty.

The library currently only has about twenty wigs, and we are calling out for donations of wigs. Please email if you have any supplies.


Greater Western Sydney Mashes Hunger with Spuds


As part of the February team meeting, Volunteer Partnerships Coordinator Shirley Buczak thoughtfully organised for us to volunteer at Foodbank – a Not For Profit which stores the food industry’s surplus food then acts as a pantry to the charities and community groups who feed the hungry.

After six hours of bagging potatoes, the team now get along like chips and gravy! It really is a great bonding experience whilst driving a wedge in community struggles.


Greater Western Sydney Tees Off First Round of Events


golf pic

Slip slop slap: Cancer Council NSW programs coordinator Eleanora Bergamaschini with Cumberland Country Golf Club general manager Andrew Laplain and ambassador Phil Burge leady by exmaple when it comes to sun safety. Picture: Geoff Jones

Cumberland Country Golf Club has urged members to lift their game when it comes to sun safety.

The Greystanes club has come on board Cancer Council NSW’s Improve Your Long Game program.

The program is a collaboration between Cancer Council NSW and Cancer Institute NSW that encourages golfers to wear sunscreen on the course and on the green, with a reminder to reapply throughout the game.

The program also assists golf clubs to communicate messages about skin cancer and the need for sun protection.

Men aged over-40 are more than one-and-a-half times more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma and more than twice as likely to die from it as women of similar age, according to Cancer Council NSW community programs coordinator, Eleonora Bergamaschini.

Two in three Australia men will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer before the age of 70.

“Sun protection, like golfing technique, needs attention out on the course. Recreational golfers spend extended periods outdoors in an environment that is highly reflective of UV radiation and with minimal shade available as players move across the fairway, putting them at a high risk of sunburn, skin damage and skin cancer,” Ms Bergamaschini said.

Cumberland Country Golf Club general manager Andrew Laplain added:

“We are very pleased to work closely with Cancer Council NSW to continue to get the sun safety message out to all our members and visitors. It is encouraging to see more players using umbrellas for shade, wearing bucket hats and re-applying sun screen, a trend that is encouraged from our most senior members to our Juniors. Improve Your Long Game is an excessive campaign embraced by all players of this great game.”

Cancer Council NSW recommends golfers use sun protection when the UV Index is three and above, and for golfers to check the UV Index before they set out on the course and reapply sunscreen every two hours.

Long time club member and Cancer Council NSW ambassador Phil Burge said sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before going onto the course, and reapply at the turn, for maximum effect.

Read the original story here.



Staff Achievement Award

Service Award: Leanne Langdon, for her contribution with Greater Western Sydney events

“Leanne is brand new to the organisation and has been quickly learning the ropes.

“Leanne has exceeded her Pink Ribbon Event/Girls Night In (PRE/GNI) VIP targets enabling the team to smash their best VIP total by 11% and we are expecting to beat our VIP income by 25%.

“At the same time, Leanne exceeded her PRE/GNI targets and increased Blacktown Relay For Life participants results to the best results since 2013 and matched last year’s income. Our VIPs have provided great feedback about Leanne’s manner and support.”

Rory Alcock, Greater Western Sydney Regional Manager


Parramatta palliative care advocate and a cancer survivor awarded the city’s Citizens’ of the Year

palliative care and survivor pic

FROM more than 50 nominees, the Parramatta Citizen of the Year winners were today announced with 17-year-old Gabriella Wehbe named Young Australian of the Year, and veteran palliative care advocate and specialist Dr Philip Lee, the Citizen of the Year.

Dr Philip Lee said he was honoured for the recognition and hopes the title begins the conversation about the importance of palliative care in Parramatta.

“This is very special for me,” Dr Lee said.

“It means recognition for the services we provide and gives validity to what we are trying to achieve.

“My 10 years as a palliative care doctor and two years as a director is culminating in me being able to educate the public and raise the profile of palliative care in our society.”

Dr Lee has spent the last 40 years helping with palliative care units in Westmead hospital, St Joseph’s Auburn and Mt Druitt hospital.

Not just a specialist, Dr Lee was awarded the title for his advocacy and education work, in particular overseeing the development of a palliative care nursing education fund at Westmead to help further training.

“I think palliative care is a conversation that should definitely be happening more broadly in Australia,” he said.

“I think many people believe palliative care means end of life care, but it happens far sooner and includes a lot more, that is what I would like to use this platform to discuss and help change.”

No stranger to the hospital herself, young Gabriella recently completed her HSC at Our Lady of Mercy College in Parramatta while undergoing treatment for a rare cancer: metastic alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.

“It was a hard time doing the HSC and going through cancer, so I really looked at my school work and volunteer opportunities as a chance to take my mind off my sickness,” Gabriella said.

“This award has inspired me to do more volunteer work, because I see all the people that were nominated and I think that they are really contributing and doing great things for the community.”

While in her final years of high school Gabriella also helped raise $200,000 for the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Foundation, a cancer treatment centre in Sydney. Gabriella also received the Arthur Phillip Society award.

Story by Maryanne Taouk, Parramatta Advertiser


Western NSW


Orange & District Relay for Life


The Orange community celebrated their 15th anniversary of Relay in early April, drawing in 1,000 participants who gathered around Waratah’s Sportsground again this year.

The Relay was a huge success with people coming from all over the districts to be involved with this amazing event – which raised over $100,000! The Tug-of-War was a dynamic drawcard for local schools and sports club, with the inaugural men’s shield going to the local Orange Hawks footy team. The team has since donated the $500 winnings back to Cancer Council NSW.

The committee loved the spirit that inspired the Relay, and are looking forward to planning next year’s 2018 event!


Warren Relay for Life


The small community of Warren (population approx. 1500 people) came together to plan and celebrate Relay for Life. This is the second time Warren has done a Relay, with the first event raising over $100,000 in 2012.

The event was launched by an auction and dinner at the close-by town of Nevertire, where funds raised for Relay exceeded $10,000.

Warren’s Relay also saw the start of some new activities and the return of some old ones, including the Miss Relay competition, which was much-loved by the community in 2012, seeing seven participants raising almost $2,000!

The event was a great result for this close-knit community, with the funds raised going to local programs like ‘Improve Your Long Game’ and ‘walls of information’.


8 – 14 May 2017 saw Cancer Council NSW Wagga office celebrating National Volunteers Week.

Human V Pic 2

The Volunteer Centre in town put on an event asking all types of volunteers in the community to come together and create a “Human V”.

Wagga office volunteers Judy Heard and Angela Stinson attended with Volunteer Partnerships Coordinator Linda Hoey to help make the “V” and celebrate National Volunteer Week.

A BIG “Thank You” to all of our volunteers in the Western region!

Human V Pic 1

Judy Heard, Wagga Wagga Mayor Greg Conkey and Angela Stinson.


Cultural Diversity in Palliative Care


With the “I Care for Palliative Care” (IC4PC) campaign gaining ground, and at least two Palliative Care Roundtable discussions planned for the area, it was a great time for Western staff members Mel Nixon and Pip Grant to attend the recent PEPA (Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach) workshop in Wagga Wagga.

Titled “Cultural Diversity – a multicultural perspective of end of life care”, the workshop gave some great insights into cultural self-awareness, the different beliefs and values surrounding death and dying, and what constitutes culturally appropriate palliative care.

The day also provided an opportunity for Mel and Pip to develop further contacts and networks sympathetic to the IC4PC cause.


Wagga Wagga Takes 2

wagga wagga ash blucher and haylee pottsMid April Ash Blucher from Hit 93.1 Riverina took to the stage for Cancer Council NSW in the annual “Wagga Wagga Takes 2”.

Ash has been fundraising for the past four months with the aim of raising enough money to get a new vehicle on the road for transport to treatment in the Riverina area.

She is up against stiff competition but knows that it is not about the prize, but what this fundraising event will bring to the local community as each of the stars are fundraising for a different charity.


Wellington ‘Nutritious & Delicious’ workshop with Kate Bracks


There was standing room only at the most recent healthy cooking workshop that took place in Wellington, co-hosted by former MasterChef winner Kate Bracks, and CPC Camilla Thompson from the Orange office.

Mums, dads and grandparents from the local community, who commented on the lack of community and social services that they have regular access to – were thrilled to learn the benefits of cooking healthy food for your family, both on the hips and the hip pocket, and also for the environment.

The workshop brings together the content of Eat It To Beat It – and Love Food Hate Waste – in a partnership between NetWaste and Cancer Council NSW funded by a grant from the EPA.

Skills such as how to cut onion, how to make tomato sauce from scratch and spread it across five different types of meals – were very well received. Lots of healthy topping ideas rich with vegetables were brainstormed while the participants were trying their hand at making pizza dough – and everyone agreed that cooking from scratch was much cheaper in the long run, and much more enjoyable when you have the skills and knowledge to do it.

This two hour interactive workshop has now been delivered in Orange, Narromine and Wellington – and will be delivered in Parkes and Gilgandra in May and June respectively.

Following the first workshop that took place in February, superstar host Kate Bracks was approached in the local supermarket by one of the mothers who had attended the Orange session and told that she was at the supermarket stocking up on the ingredients to make the fresh tomato sauce that Kate had demonstrated in the workshop, as well as the pizza dough. She had apparently been making a big batches of the sauce and was storing it in her freezer for quick healthy meals when they needed them. Her children had loved the pizza, now wanted a weekly pizza night, and they wanted to invite friends and family over to enjoy their fresh and healthy pizzas together!

This encouraging testimonial and the huge success of the recent workshop in Wellington demonstrates the value of working together in collaboration with other likeminded organisations to improve the education and awareness around healthy choices and behaviours – and the positive impact this can have on communities.


Byng Street Café Launch for Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea

ABMT Launch Orange

Western NSW have kicked off Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea (ABMT) this May with a launch at the Byng Street Café in Orange NSW. ABMT Hosts, office volunteers and staff attended a lovely high tea in the courtyard catching the afternoon sun.

Relishing some delicious treats, the company, and hearing the stories of many years of hosting, our hosts enjoyed attending an afternoon tea instead of hosting one!


Our ABMT cake toppers were also a hit which were specially ordered in for the month. We have multiple morning teas coming up throughout May and June across our region and thank our hosts for coming back on board for 2017.


Sibling Support in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (M.I.A)


The ‘I Care for Palliative Care’ campaign received some great support in Griffith prior to Griffith Relay for Life. The Relay For Life event was held 4 March with Community Programs Coordinator Mel Nixon collecting over 500 pledges towards the campaign.

More pledges will follow from local businesses and groups who offered to help Cancer Council NSW Western to reach the State target of 10,000 pledges for presentation to the Honourable Brad Hazzard, NSW Minister for Health.

Sisters, Karen, Annette, Denise-Ann and Janice (pictured), joined their voices to the many pledging support for the campaign around the M.I.A.

The sisters say it is the personal nature of the cause drawing them to speak out. Denise Hearn commented that “We have a history of cancer in our family…we cared for our grandfather because he wanted to live out his life at home. It was tough on all of us to make that happen.”

Prior to Griffith RFL Opening Ceremony, a whole Relay group photo was taken. Look out for the mass photo in the next Community Spotlight!


Cowra Relay For Life


The Cowra & District Relay For Life was held on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 March at Sid Kallas Oval.

The event was a great success, as the weather cleared up, and although humid, it was wonderful weather for a Relay. With 24 teams and 273 participants walking the track, the vibe was electric.

With numerous teams tag-teaming the whole night, there was always a presence on the track, which was such a great effort.

There was amazing live music and plenty of entertainment with a bucking bull, jumping castle, Karaoke and martial arts demonstrations.

So far the Cowra community have raised $24,230, which is a fantastic effort, as there is still money being banked.

Overall it was a brilliant Relay with lots of sore feet at the end.


Eat It 2 Beat It Hippy Parent Group


On Wednesday 22 March, nine participants in the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY Program) attended a FREE Eat it to Beat it education session.

Cancer Council NSW knows that up to four per cent (4%) of all cancers can be prevented by eating the right amount of fruit, veg and fibre.

By helping parents to understand why fruit and veg are so important, Cancer Council NSW hopes to make a difference in reducing the impact of cancer in our community while also creating a cancer-smart community.

The session went extremely well, with the group having a great discussion following upon our event, and setting themselves some goals to work on with their primary school aged children.


Bathurst Golf Club bears the sun in mind, hole after hole


Bathurst Golf Club participated in the Improve Your Long Game program over a six week period commencing in February 2017.

Improve Your Long game is a program funded by Cancer Council NSW and Cancer Institute NSW encouraging golfers of all ages to use sun protection and reduce their risk of melanoma every time they play.

Pro Golfer Matt Barrett had plenty of positive things to say about the success of our program;

“The program of awareness is going really well, there are more members wearing skins on their sleeves and we have increased sales in wide brim hats, I have introduced more styles and I am even wearing one myself instead of a cap after 25 years of playing golf. The sunscreen stations are excellent and well supported with some visitors saying that we really look after our golfers.”

Let’s hope this behaviour change continues!


Improve Your Long Game Making an Impact


On Thursday 16 February over 35 golfers from Wentworth Golf Club in Orange attended a Save Your Skin presentation.

This presentation aimed to further equip golfers’ knowledge on how to reduce their skin cancer risk. Wentworth Golf Club has been an active participant for the last two years in the Improve Your Long Game program, which aims to improve the sun protection behaviours of male golfers.

Unfortunately men tend to have poorer sun protection behaviours than women, especially whilst out on the golf course.

The men who attended were quite interactive with plenty of questions. Let’s hope by promoting positive sun protection behaviours we can have a positive impact on both individuals, and the club culture alike.


Lilier Lodge Re-Launch


On Wednesday 15 March members of the broader Riverina community came together to celebrate the relaunch of Lilier Lodge, the Wagga Wagga based accommodation facility providing rural cancer patients a home away from home during their cancer treatment. Lilier Lodge, a joint venture between Cancer Council NSW and CanAssist, recognised the investment that both organisations and the community have made to this great facility.

Recently over $300,000 has been invested in the 21 room facility, including creating an extra family unit for those caring for others during their treatment. The Dry July initiative helped to contribute significant funds to these refurbishments, along with many other cancer accommodation and transport services across the state.

Wagga Wagga Mayor, Greg Conkey, spoke at the relaunch and has been a long-time supporter of Lilier Lodge; being on the original fundraising committee that contributed to the original building project. Both representatives from Cancer Council NSW and CanAssist were present on the day as the facility continues to be jointly managed by both organisations.


Bathurst Relay for Life


The Bathurst & District Relay For Life was held at All Saints College, Bathurst, on Saturday and Sunday, 11 and 12 March, in perfect weather conditions. Over 600 participants took to the track and have currently raised $90,435 with teams still banking their fundraising, which is an amazing effort by the Bathurst community.

The Battle of the Bands competition was a huge success with Crimson Royale taking out the title of the Bathurst & District Relay For Life Battle of the Bands Winner! Congratulations also to Betty Botox who battled through three challenges – brains, Braun and beauty – in the Miss Relay Pageant to be crowned Miss Relay 2017.

 There were also plenty of razors there on the weekend with 5 head shaves and a beard shave! It was amazing to see the brave participants take off their locks in order to raise money for Relay For Life.

Overall it was a brilliant Relay, with beautiful weather and ta fantastic turn out!


Griffith Relay For Life


The Griffith RFL was held on 4 and 5 March when close to 850 participants took to the track for the 18 hour event.

Just over $109,000 was raised, and a great response towards the ‘I Care For Palliative Care’ campaign was received, with 832 local community members making the pledge. It was a great Relay to kick off the Autumn Relay season!

Participants were kept busy with many activities and events throughout the afternoon, including Zumba, Fashions on the Field, The Purple Glove Danc,e and entertainment provided by a number of local musicians.

A special mention to the event’s Major Sponsor, Dom’s Motors Pty Ltd, who donated $50 for every new car sold at their dealership in the lead-up to relay.

The sales team managed to sell a total 150 cars, which resulted in a generous donation of $7,500 towards the Griffith Relay For Life.


‘I Care For Palliative Care’ in Orange and Dubbo


The Palliative Care campaign has been in full swing around the Orange office with many dedicated staff and volunteers putting their hard work into ensuring their local communities know about Palliative Care and the Cancer Council NSW campaign.

The office has worked heavily with the local media outlets, being broadcast across all TV channels in the Central West, all radio stations and all local papers – quite a feat in itself!

The campaign was launched in Orange to a huge amount of local support, with locals coming along to share their stories, sign the pledge and find out all about the Cancer Council NSW campaign and how it will benefit their community.

The campaign moved to Dubbo next, with the launch there planned to get the local political spectrum involved with Troy Grant MP coming along to share in the campaign.

dubbo story pic

Cancer Council ambassadors Susie Hill and Trish Taylor with the petition.

Ensuring people in their final stages of cancer get the best possible care is the reason behind a new push for more palliative care specialists in NSW.

On Monday 27 February Cancer Council officially launched its ‘I Care for Palliative Care’ campaign at the Dubbo branch of the Macquarie Regional Library at 10am.

Cancer Council community programs coordinator Camilla Thompson said she wanted the launch to raise awareness of the campaign in the Dubbo community so people could get behind it.

“When our loved ones are in the final stages of their cancer journey, they deserve the best possible care and support. But, right now, that’s not possible because there’s a shortage of specialist palliative care in NSW,” Ms Barlow said.

The Cancer Council has started a petition calling for the NSW government to fund ten additional palliative physicians, 129 more palliative nurses and culturally appropriate specialist palliative care services for Aboriginal people.

“Cancer Council, together with other advocacy groups including Push For Palliative, recognised a huge gap in current palliative care services across the state,” Ms Thompson said.

“Our aim is to ensure that those people living with a life-limiting cancer get the specialist care they deserve so they can have the best quality of life for as long as possible.”

Members of the community can support the campaign by visiting the website at


‘Love Food Hate Waste Nutritious & Delicious’ Workshop with MasterChef Kate Bracks!


Camilla, Kate and Sue will be rolling this workshop out in Narromine, Wellington, Parkes and Gilgandra up until June.

In partnership with NetWaste, Cancer Council NSW has delivered its first ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ workshop, co-hosted by former MasterChef winner, Orange local and Eat It To Beat It ambassador Kate Bracks, and Community Partnership Coordinator Camilla Thompson from the Orange office.

The first of five ‘Nutritious & Delicious’ two hour workshops across Western NSW over the next five months; this session was held at the Glenroi Community Centre in Orange in front of a group of 21 participants keen to find out how they can improve their family’s health without compromising on taste or the environment.

In 2016, Camilla, Kate Bracks and Sue Clarke from NetWaste were successful in applying for a grant to deliver healthy cooking workshops that focused on increasing families’ fruit and vegetables content, and reducing food waste. Together they designed an interactive workshop which combines the practical and nutritional theory behind ‘Eat It To Beat It’ together with ideas on how to reduce food waste, all underpinned by Kate’s hands-on demonstrations on how to cook simple, healthy food that is nutritious & delicious!

Themes such as recipe modification, menu planning, stretching the food dollar further, storing and freezing food appropriately, tips on how to attain maximum flavour from fresh, seasonal produce – were all discussed with enthusiasm. Participants were able to put their newly learnt skills to the test by having a go at making pizza dough from scratch, while brain storming which vegetable combinations would work best in their household.

Each participant from a group who consisted of families with young children, were given a goody bag to take home and cook with that night with Fruit & Veg Made Easy recipes, Kate Bracks’ recipes, Fruit & Veg snack ideas, storage containers, plus ingredients used in the cooking demos including fresh carrots, onions, basil and garlic, pizza flour and dried spices.

This joint initiative between Cancer Council NSW, Kate Bracks and NetWaste was born from feedback across Western NSW that although Eat It To Beat It has a great place with the information it provides parents on ways to improve their health and reduce their risk of cancer, the actual practical cooking skills required to create healthy meals was something that a lot of parents didn’t think they had.

Australia Day Awards


It was a double celebration for the Border Relay For Life at Albury’s Australia Day Awards.

Outgoing Border Relay For Life Chairman Carl Friedlieb was crowned Albury’s Citizen of the Year for his incredible contribution, time and efforts he has dedicated to the Border RFL since 2002. Carl has been the driving force behind the Border RFL and will be sadly missed, but we thank him for his wonderful leadership and guidance over the past six years.

Carl will still remain on the committee but has handed the title over to existing team leaders, Kate Wilkinson and Peter Whitmarsh.

The 2016 Border RFL Committee was also honoured on the day, being awarded the ‘Community Group of the Year.’

We are very proud of the Border RFL Committee, they are doing amazing things for their community and are very deserving of these awards!

The 2017 Border RFL has been locked in for the 21 & 22 October and the Committee are keen to kick start the planning!

Meanwhile in Griffith the ‘Stars of Griffith, Dance For Cancer’ team were awarded the ‘Community Project of the Year’ for their event that was held in June 2016 which was a two night event and raised over $70,000. Local Dance School Owner and Teacher, Melissa Brown accepting the award on behalf of the organizing committee, local stars and all those involved.


Transport to Treatment Continues


Throughout January 2017 one of our Community Partnership Coordinators in Western was on leave for the month.

In preparation for this leave period, we were fortunate enough to have two long term volunteers step up and take on the responsibility of coordinating 2 Transport to Treatment services.

Rachael Herring and Angela Stinson received training at the end of November 2016 and commenced coordinating the service throughout December under supervision. For the month of January, both Rachael and Angela have confidently run the service seamlessly. Building strong relationships with our driver coordinator, the drivers, the referrers and the patients, who were all were delighted to deal with Rachael and Angela as they arranged the transport. A big thank you to Rachael and Angela for allowing the 2 services to continue in the Albury and Communities region from the beginning of the year and ensuring our Community Partnership Coordinator could enjoy their break!

In the five months this service has been running we have done almost 400 trips, and hoping by six months we will have completed more than 500 trips from around South West NSW to treatment.


Marathon Men


Orange Relay For Life has been given a huge boost of support from one of their key teams: Wentworth Golf Club.

Wentworth has put in a team each year for the past three years, proving to be a huge fundraiser, and this year their big fundraiser ‘Marathon Men’ is bringing in the bacon for a great cause.

‘Marathon Men’ is a competition whereby three key Wenty players start at 5:30am in the morning and go until 8:30pm at night, hitting as many holes as possible in that time without stopping. Their tactic is to start early and attack each set of 18 within 75 minutes!

Hard work boys – but such a great ingenious idea to fundraise. Wentworth Golf Club raised over $13,000 last year for the Orange 2016 Relay, and are hoping to pip $20,000 this year!


Jason Dearmer

jason dearmer picJason Dearmer volunteers as a committee member for the Orana Relay For Life. Katherine Hodges, Community Relations Coordinator (Western), nominated Jason on the Cancer Council NSW Recognition Wall for always being willing and passionate to work with the Orana community to promote Cancer Council NSW and engage them with our programs and events.

What prompted you to get involved with Cancer Council NSW?
Initially just to be involved in a great community event by going to the 2014 Orana Relay For Life as a participant. I put together a team with my local fitness group, family and friends, brought my swag along and camped out. From being a part of that event I recognised how important it was to the community and how much we could help people affected by cancer.

What do you do outside of volunteering?
I work full time in Strata Management. I also play rugby union and am Secretary for the rugby club. I am also on the committee for Hear Our Heart Ear Bus Project, a non-government funded community project that provides free hearing testing and follow up services to primary school children in the Central West area. I also like to lift weights, do Parkrun fun runs and watch good movies.

What have you enjoyed most during your time with Cancer Council NSW?
Meeting different people in the community and listening to their stories and experiences and finding out what is really needed in the Orana region, what programs Cancer Council NSW currently runs, as well as seeing people come together in a meaningful way to support each other and connect.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
‘Enjoy the little things in life’. If you don’t enjoy small things that happen every day you miss out on a lot in life and before you know it you can’t enjoy them anymore. People sometimes chase the big experiences in life but ignore the everyday pleasures that are free and easy to come by. Life is only as difficult as you make it.


Hunter Central Coast


Mingara Relay For Life Launch


Mingara Relay For Life launched its 17th year whilst tackling some very serious trivia during the launch. Over 120 Relayers came out, decorated their tables and joined in the fun. The committee also presented the 2016 fundraising awards to teams along with our Relay Veteran awards to long standing supporters.

We are looking forward to October and another $250K in the bank for Cancer Council NSW services in our community!


Biggest Morning Tea


Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea season is in full May and June swing across the region with staff and volunteers generously giving up their time to share tea and cakes with our amazing hosts.

A group of our Hunter office volunteers and staff from the Upper Hunter and Charlestown office attended the Country Women’s Association (CWA) morning tea at Branxton, with our Regional Administrator Georgie Young speaking at her first Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea event. Everybody loved the presentation and our CWA hosts are confident they’ll surpass the $2,200 they raised last year.


Lake Macquarie Business TV launches with Beat Cancer @ Work video


Glen Parson, Community Programs & Events Coordinator, was interviewed for the Red Carpet launch of Lake Macquarie Business TV (LMBTV) at Event Cinemas earlier this month, to showcase the partnership between the Business Chamber and Cancer Council NSW.

LMB TV will be an online channel showcasing the business initiatives in the City. The Chamber has partnered with us to provide Beat Cancer @ Work toolbox talks, advisory service and resources for their members. Go Glen!


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:


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


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!

I CAN help beat cancer – Andrea Cocking

andrea vertical

Andrea shown here supporting the Palliative Care pledge at a Community Speakers meeting

Making her voice heard in the fight against cancer was something that Andrea held in great esteem, and following her retirement, she signed up to do voluntary work with Cancer Council NSW.

Voluntary work was something that Andrea had always wanted to do, and her retirement gave her a great opportunity to do this, and it was through a friend that she chose to contribute her voluntary work and time to Cancer Council NSW.

Working in the Hunter Central Coast region, Andrea started as a Community Speaker, and in time, also began to take part in the Eat It To Beat It Campaign, a program that promotes healthy eating, and the consumption of fruits and vegetables to help prevent cancer. Eating the right amounts of the right foods is the cornerstone of the Eat It To Beat It campaign, and shows what people can do on an individual level, perhaps with community support, in the fight against cancer.

To Andrea, ‘I Can’ means contributing time to the Cancer Council, and doing what she can to help people reduce their risk of cancer. ‘We Can’ means working with the community in her capacity as a Community Speaker – and helping the community understand what they can do on an individual and wider level to help combat cancer.

Working with Eat It To Beat It and as a Community Speaker gives Andrea the opportunity to contribute to the community and encourage individuals to help fight cancer.


I CAN make the community aware – Wendy Everitt

wendy vertical

Wendy shown here supporting the Palliative Care pledge at the Central Coast Research Breakfast

After her son died from cancer, Wendy felt lost, and wanted to find a way to help her understand what she was feeling and what she had been through.

It was a hard journey, and a dramatic catalyst that led her to investigating volunteering opportunities on the Central Coast.

On a visit to the volunteering centre in Niagra Park, she stumbled across an entry for the Cancer Council NSW, and from there, she joined as a volunteer, and became a Community Speaker.

In doing this, Wendy has been able to come to terms with her son’s death, and help others understand the cancer journey if they or someone else they know has been through it.

For Wendy, being a Community Speaker is all about raising cancer awareness, and getting the message about prevention out. She says that The Community Speakers program is just one way of getting the message of cancer prevention out to the public.

Different community speakers contribute in different ways, and Dennis Simpson, Program Coordinator at Erina Fair, works to match the right speaker to the right group. Community Speakers may not work as a team all the time, however.

Wendy says that working in a team means they can “reach more people, and as such, are more effective. Community Speakers are just one small part of a great organisations doing many things.”


I CAN share knowledge – Leesa Barnard

leesa vertical

Leesa’s journey with the Cancer Council began due to a strong family history of cancer, which drove her desire to do something to help the organisation.

Though she has only spent eighteen months in Newcastle working with the Community Speakers, she has previously spent time fundraising for various Cancer Council events in Perth, and has shaved her head to aid in awareness-raising, which is one of the roles that Community Speakers fulfill when working with Cancer Council NSW.

Because she has had a lot of public speaking experience with other organisations, Leesa has been able to transfer these skills to her role at Cancer Council NSW as a speaker and a trainer.

The role of a Community Speaker is to help to community understand cancer and what the risks are.

Leesa says that if a Community Speaker has managed to help just one person in a group, then they have achieved their goal of reaching out and helping.

The team aspect of Community Speakers is important, because being able to talk with other speakers about their experiences, exchange advice, and have a chance to top up public speaking skills gives the team a chance to contribute to the fight against cancer, and at the same time, gives each speaker a sense of community with people who understand their role and what needs to be done.

For Leesa, the more opportunities a Community Speaker has to utilise their skills, the better they can spread the word about cancer and cancer prevention, and keep their confidence up.

One of the most important aspects of training is helping the speaker understand what they are delivering to their audience, and sharing the knowledge so that everyone can be confident in public speaking, regardless of their ability.

Leesa’s role is a much-appreciated one, and she helps Community Speakers – new and old – understand their role and what they are speaking about.


Cancer Council NSW and Gosford Relay for Life members are calling on the community to participate in 2017’s Relay for Life scheduled for March.


Gosford City Relay for Life is an 18-hour fundraising event where participants walk all night in relays to raise money to support local cancer patients and services.

This event is held at Adcock Park Velodrome, West Gosford.

It boasts a line-up of local entertainment as the participants walk around the track, as well as delicious food options and kids’ entertainment, including a Box Car Rally Lap, where children can create their own box cars to race.

Chairperson of the Gosford City Relay for Life and cancer survivor, Ms Donna Robertson, said the relay provides something for everyone touched by cancer.

“People relay for all different reasons.

“Whether you are a cancer survivor like myself, or a carer, if you are still fighting cancer or want to remember someone who lost their battle, or even if you just want to make a difference, the relay gives you that chance,” Ms Robertson said.

“For me, to work alongside inspiring volunteers, the teams and participants that come out to this event, I feel lucky.

“It is such an amazing feeling to see the community come together to make a real difference in the fi ght against cancer.

“It gives me goose bumps,,” Ms Robertson added. Cancer Council NSW representative, Ms Jayne Moloney, said Ms Robertson was “a passionate ambassador, who works tirelessly to create the event.”


Taking the Fight for Life up to cancer

martial arts cancer pic

Cancer can be called life’s toughest fight and affects 130,000 new people in Australia each year.

And, the terrible disease is always in need of fundraising for any chance of a remedy being found.

This has inspired United Taekwondo to offer a unique opportunity to raise much-needed funds to find a cure or vaccine to combat cancer.

Between February 6 and 12, for every person who has a free trial lesson at a participating martial arts club, the club owner will donate $10 to the Cancer Council.

With more than 38 centres in Australia, including Muswellbrook and Singleton, there is potential to make a huge impact through Fight for Life.

The offer will take place at Singleton High School on Monday, February 6, between 5pm and 5.45pm for children five to eight years; as well as Monday and Wednesday, February 6 and 8, between 6pm and 7.30pm, for adults and children.

Muswellbrook residents can turn up at the PCYC, in Carl Street, on Wednesday, February 8, from 4pm to 4.45pm for children four to six years; and Monday and Wednesday, February 6 and 8, between 5.15pm and 6.15pm for adults and children.

“Fight for Life is an international campaign, which started when Kevin Walsh hosted martial arts seminars in 10 different countries to raise money for his good friend Wendy Carroll, who unfortunately lost her battle with cancer in 2012,” United Taekwondo founder and master instructor Paul Mitchell said.

“Over the past six years, Kevin and other dedicated instructors have raised more than $150,000.

“Now, locals in Muswellbrook and Singleton have a chance to help.

“Martial arts transcends language, age and nationality.

“And, with your support, we will be able to kick cancer together by participating in the Fight for Life week.”

For more information, you can visit


Cannabis oil a vital part of his treatment

bryce gaudry pic

A former New South Wales Labor backbencher has spoken out about his battle with pancreatic cancer and how cannabis oil has become a vital part of his ongoing treatment.

Bryce Gaudry was the Labor MP for the state seat of Newcastle from 1991 to 2007 but he is now speaking out for the first time about being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer less than a year ago.

Pancreatic cancer is the ninth most common cancer in men and 10th most common cancer in women in Australia.

But survival rates are very low, as it is most often diagnosed at an advanced stage and pancreatic cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer deaths in Australia.

After being diagnosed in March 2016, Bryce Gaudry said he was lucky to be offered the chance to undergo major surgery known as a Whipple procedure.

 “Pancreatic cancer has got one of the poorest rates of survival, I think it’s between five and seven per cent of people survive to a five year period,” he said.

“In fact the Cancer Council says about 30 per cent of people die within about two months of the diagnosis, so it’s a fairly late diagnosed cancer.

“For many people, they don’t have the opportunity of having this Whipple operation.

“The operation is a fairly massive one, it removes your gall bladder, it takes the majority of the pancreas.

“In my case it took my duodenum, and the bottom section of my stomach including the pyloric valve and they’re all stitched back together and you’ve got a much simplified digestive system after that.”

He then underwent seven months of chemotherapy, but in the meantime turned to cannabis oil to manage what he describes as appalling nausea symptoms.

“One of my surprises has been there hasn’t been any great increase in the survival rates for pancreatic cancer in the last 30 years.

“Despite oncology, despite research, there’s obviously still a very low survival rate.

“My belief is that I should use every possible means I can to increase any chance that I might have of survival and we were lucky that a friend of ours was kind enough to give us some cannabis oil.

“When I came home from hospital I was in a very sick state for some time. I was vomiting constantly, projectile vomiting, it was really driving me down.

“Within three days (of taking cannabis oil) my nausea and vomiting went away, so I decided at that stage that I would continue to use it.”

Support group and family vital in coping with cancer diagnosis

Mr Gaudry said the support of his family as well as a Cancer Council telephone support group specifically for pancreatic cancer sufferers, has enabled him to get through the past year of treatment.

“We hook up every fortnight by phone, people from Adelaide, people from Melbourne, people from Sydney, all on the same pathway through cancer.

“That’s a very beneficial thing for people suffering from cancer to join a support group.”

He said his major hope now was for more research into diagnosing pancreatic cancer early, as he waited to find out his own prognosis after months of treatment.

“I think it’s important that we get as much research as possible on pancreatic cancer to try to find a way to get an early diagnosis so people don’t have that very much lowered survival rate of a late diagnosis.”