Statewide regional news archive/2017


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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.




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


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


Connecting Communities Volunteer Expo

IRT Foundation Manager, Toby Dawson, Cancer Council Regional Manager, Michael Cannon, Volunteer Coordinator Ashley Puljic & IRT Community Program Coordinator, Peter Brady.

IRT Foundation Manager, Toby Dawson, Cancer Council Regional Manager, Michael Cannon, Volunteer Coordinator Ashley Puljic and IRT Community Program Coordinator, Peter Brady.

On 1 and 2 December, the Southern Region held a Connecting Communities Volunteer Expo at the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre in Nowra. All of our volunteers within the region were invited to attend the event – which was made possible thanks to a grant we received from the IRT Foundation.

The two-day forum was a one-stop source for volunteers to develop new skills, share ideas with like-minded people, seek advice on how to get more out of their volunteering experience and explore new volunteer opportunities. We also took this opportunity to host an End of Year Celebration Dinner, which was a hit with our volunteers.

The Connecting Communities Volunteer Expo was in alignment of IRT Foundation’s strategic objective of enhancing and improving the lives of older people, by ensuring that our volunteers are given the opportunity to remain highly active, influential and respected people in their communities.

As part of the grant we also had the opportunity to create three inspiring videos showcasing the amazing work our volunteers do within the community, which we launched over the course of the two-day event. The videos featured Andrew Simpson – Information Service Volunteer in Nowra; Marie and Steve Dalton – Chair and Former Chair of Kiama Relay For Life; and Joan Harrison – General and Practical Support Coordinator for the Southern Highlands. We will be showcasing these videos on the Cancer Council NSW Southern Facebook page.

These stories are valuable in not only promoting the skill and experience that volunteers contribute to the community, but also in showcasing how they’re passing on their skills and positively influencing other generations within Cancer Council NSW.

Thank you IRT Foundation and also a big thank you to Jeff, Merewyn and James Butler for attending and speaking at the event.


End of year celebration dinner.

End of year celebration dinner.

I Care for Palliative Care in the Shoalhaven

Volunteer, Matthew Lloyd.

Volunteer Matthew Lloyd spreading the “I care for palliative care” message.

The Connecting Communities Volunteer Expo gave rise to the opportunity to promote key Cancer Council programs, advocacy activities and supportive services.

The expo style afternoon enabled volunteers from all backgrounds to learn about the state-wide palliative care campaign.

We were able to speak with volunteers, answer questions, carry out the pledge activity, and talk about opportunities to get involved locally.

It didn’t matter if the volunteer was from a fundraising or health background, where they reside or level of experience, it was unanimous “I Care for Palliative Care”


Christmas at Shoalhaven Cancer Information Service!

Christmas stall.

Christmas stall bursting with donated items.

The Shoalhaven Information Service volunteers hosted a Christmas stall fundraiser at the Shoalhaven Cancer Care Centre.

The stall ran over three days and received great feedback from both patients and staff – it was so lovely to see the atmosphere of the centre lifted with the Christmas spirit.

The volunteers said “We were overwhelmed by the generosity of local crafting groups, volunteers, patients and their families, who donated craft and food items for sale at the stall”

The volunteers raised an incredible $2,226.05 to go towards local Cancer Council NSW programs and services such as; Transport to Treatment, ENRICH, Eat It To Beat It, Men’s 40+, Sun Sound and Sun Smart.


Relay For life is coming to Narooma!

Eurobodalla RFL Committee.

Narooma Relay For life Committee Members.

For the first year ever, Eurobodalla Relay for Life will take place in Narooma in 2017.

The community have really come together, excited to make this event a huge success. The committee is made up of a range of community members, nurses, council workers, first response workers, teachers and business owners.

The event takes place on the weekend 18 and 19 March at Bill Smyth Oval. The launch event on 3 February at Club Narooma was a family-fun barefoot bowls evening.


One of the Eurobodalla Relay for Life Ambassadors is the wonderful Jess Bourke.


Jess is a very special ambassador and has shared this photo to give hope to all young people with breast cancer. Jess is proudly showing her baby bump and post cancer surgery body, as beauty and hope personified, having been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in 2013 when she was just 28 years old.

Jess went on to have preventative, as well as the necessary surgery to save her life, resulting in a potential risk to her fertility.

One month ago, Jess and her lovely husband, Jacko, welcomed a beautiful baby girl, Charley Bonnie, into the world. Jess will be telling her story at Eurobodalla’s Relay for Life to encourage and inspire the whole community.

Jess is also our Survivor & Carer Coordinator for the Relay, so she really does have her hands full. We’re incredibly grateful for the support we receive from the community as Relay wouldn’t happen without them. Congratulations to Jess and Jacko and little Charley Bonnie.


The 14th Great Ocean Pool Crawl

9. Ocean Crawl

Northern Illawarra’s coolest event, The Great Ocean Pool Crawl, is locked in for Sunday 5 March for its 14th year!

The Great Ocean Pool Crawl is a family friendly event where locals can swim, snorkel or paddle to raise funds for Cancer Council NSW. With the community already showing incredible support this year, we are expecting over 100 participants to make their way through six ocean pools from Coalcliff to Towradgi, swimming two laps of each pool.


Spreading the fruit and veg word across Southern


Eat it To Beat It volunteer, Amanda.

The Healthy Lunchbox season was fantastic down in Southern, thanks to our amazing Eat It To Beat It volunteers. The team delivered 39 sessions, helping over 1,200 parents with the tricky task of packing a healthy lunchbox for their kids. We had great feedback from schools, with one saying “our parents loved the healthy lunchbox presentation!”

We are looking forward to the remainder of 2017 and helping families across the Southern Region find fun ways to eat even more fruit and veg.


Out to Bat with a Hat

cricket kids

Five cricket clubs participated in the Healthy Sports Initiative down in Southern. They supported National Skin Cancer Action Week, by promoting broad-brim hats and sunscreen through their social media channels to all the juniors.

The kid’s favourite moment was when WIN news crew came along and they got to cover themselves in sunscreen before showing off their batting skills!!


Volunteer Updates

vol updates

Finance Assistant Volunteers, Alex Batchelor & Victor Moratinos

Volunteer on boarding!

We were very excited in the Southern office to have our Finance Assistant Alex on-board his successor, Victor, prior to him leaving. Alex was such a great asset over the four months he was with us and we were very sad to see him go.

However, we are thrilled to welcome Victor into the role. It was a great to have Alex as a part of the recruitment and interview process for our new Finance Assistant, and to have him train and pass his knowledge onto Victor.


Rounding off 2016…

Pink Ribbon Day Success!

pink ribbon day success

As promised, Pink Ribbon Day went out with a BANG in Southern.

31 sites went ahead across the region with our fantastic staff and volunteers. With just a few more sites to bank, we are sure to hit over $20,000 to support women’s cancers.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our staff and volunteers who have helped with this campaign since its inception.

As this was the final year of Pink Ribbon Day Sites, many site volunteers are happy to transition their efforts in hosting Pink / Girl’s Night In Events next year – we look forward to it!


Kiama Relay For Life

kiama RFL

On 22 and 23 October, the Kiama community supported their 7th annual Relay For Life event.

Even though the weekend was impacted by poor weather, the event still managed to attract 300 participants and raise more than $50,000. This takes the Kiama Relay For Life cumulative seven year fundraising total to well over $600,000.

Thank you, Kiama!


Shoalhaven Nowra Relay for Life Launch

shoalhaven rflThe Shoalhaven Nowra Relay for Life committee officially launched the 2017 relay on 10 November 2016 at the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre.

The event was well attended by approximately 60 community members and the committee.

Highlights of the night included guest speakers, a performance by a lead singer from the Legally Blonde stage show, and a video message from one of the 2017 Shoalhaven Nowra Relay for Life ambassadors. The committee were extremely happy with the turnout and the vibe of the launch, and in Terry Deegan’s words, it was a ‘nice night out’.


Goulburn Relay For Life

goulburn RFLGoulburn Relay was held on the weekend of 22 and 23 October.

goulburn RFL small 2.jpg

Despite having all seasons in one weekend, the event was a great success with over 450 participants coming along on the day. The atmosphere was brilliant with Eagle FM doing a live broadcast, lots of children’s activities, twilight markets, bubble soccer and loads of live entertainment.

goulburn RFL small 1

So far the Goulburn community has raised $68,500 and is inching closer every day to the $70,000 target. So close!

goulburn RFL small 3

This year’s Hope Ceremony started with a few showers but right on cue a rainbow appeared which was particularly moving for Goulburn Relay Ambassador, Cassie, who had named her team “Helen’s Rainbow” after a friend who had recently passed away from cancer.


Pink Events in the Southern Region


Southern definitely had a bit of PINK splashed at various events across the region. Events included a Corrimal celebration where Pink Event host, Danielle, celebrated 10 years as a survivor. Danielle’s day was full of raffles, auctions and some great, moving speeches.

pink pair

Community Engagement Coordinator, Grant Plecas, and Event Host, Danielle


We love the T-Shirts – well done, Danielle!

we love the t-shirts

Another great event was a client ‘Thank You’ morning tea held at MMJ South Real Estate.

MMJ’s PINK message was displayed at open houses and rental inspections throughout October providing great awareness of women’s cancers.

pink events in southern


Corrimal Rotary – Wollongong Relay For Life

corimal rotary

Last month, Corrimal Rotary President and Ambassador, Alf Harley, presented Cancer Council a $3200 cheque for Wollongong Relay For Life.

The Rotary Club have wonderful supporters for 15 years and we look forward to continuing our relationship for further years to come!


Greater Western Sydney


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


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


I CAN help beat cancer – Andrea Cocking

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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

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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

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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

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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.”