Statewide regional news archive/2015


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 appeared over the last months of 2015, after Volunteer Voice ceased to be printed and went ‘all digital’.

Or click on another Region’s name to read about fellow volunteers who may not be your neighbours, but who are linked by our shared mission to beat cancer. Everywhere.

The most current stories about volunteering with Cancer Council NSW can be found here


Local stars shine in the Stars of the East – Dance for Cancer event

Starsoftheeast.144249On Saturday 7 November, ten prominent figures of the Eastern Suburbs community of Sydney participated in Cancer Council NSW’s inaugural Stars of The East – Dance for Cancer event.

Our ten ‘Stars’ were partnered up with professional dance instructors to learn a routine in 8 weeks as well as perform it with them on gala night.

The event was enhanced with a star studded MC and judging panel which included Mandy Coolen (former Nova breakfast host in the Central Coast) and Mikey Robins (former Triple J and Good News Week host) as MCs, joined by judges Anthony Minichiello (former Sydney Roosters Captain), Sally Betts (Mayor of Waverley) and Leeanne Bampton (key choreographer on hit show ‘Dancing With The Stars’).

It was an amazing night of performances, fundraising and entertainment that left all the guests wanting more!

With an initial target of $70,000, Stars of The East raised an amazing $150,000 with almost $100,000 of this coming from the Stars’ fundraising activities alone.

We can’t wait to do it all again in 2016! Thank you very much for this astounding effort!

Seven Bridges Walk – Celebrating a big win against cancer

SevenBridgesWalkFinal.135754A big thank you to all the amazing volunteers that made the 2015 Cancer Council NSW Seven Bridges Walk held on Sunday 25 October a big success!

With over 13,000 walkers attending the event it was a busy day, but thanks to all of you everything ran smoothly.

We’ve so far raised over $660,000 and money is still coming in. We couldn’t have done this without you!


Thank you to all Pink Ribbon Day volunteers

PinkRibbonDayFinal.140319Pink Ribbon Day was a success all across Sydney and our heartfelt gratitude goes to all who volunteered to help.

One inspiring story is from our first time Pink Ribbon Day volunteers at Macquarie Centre, who experienced first-hand the importance of raising funds for cancer and the overwhelming support of people for this cause.

Our team, composed of Stephen, Rakin, Asthika, Natasha, and Vanessa, witnessed how people took the time to come to our stall to purchase and donate. Several cancer survivors that passed by showed their support by wearing pink and sharing their journey.

Stephen, a first-time team leader shared, “It is very inspiring to see that a lot of people care, and to be a volunteer on Pink Ribbon Day is an experience I will cherish and encourage other people to be a part of at least once in their life.”

Create your own story and learn more about how you can help and support the research and activities directed towards women’s cancers by visiting


Health and Wellbeing Fair at Ashfield Council

AshfieldHealthandWellbeingFair_PhilBurge_Oc.143014In late October, Cancer Council NSW was invited to be involved at Ashfield Council’s Health and Wellbeing Fair. The fair was designed to reward the council’s staff for their great safety record over the past couple of years. It provided an opportunity for the staff to learn about how they can continue looking after their health and wellbeing.

Our very own Phil Burge, Community Speaker, delivered three ‘Save Your Own Skin’ presentations to the staff to raise awareness about skin cancer and ways to protect your skin from the sun. This was of particular importance for Ashfield Council’s outdoor workers who have their fair share of time in the sun. All presentations were well received.

Well done, Phil! Thanks for taking three trains to present at this fair!


Metro Sydney advocacy roadshow

MSRRoadshowOct15.122549Members of the Sydney Cancer Advocacy Network (SCAN) and the Northern Suburbs Cancer Advocacy Network (NSCAN) and MPL’s from across the Metro Sydney Region came together on Saturday 10 October for a day of focussing on strengthening the Networks and becoming more powerful advocates.

Our community advocates from the north, south, east and inner west spent a little bit of time getting to know each other, heard a presentation on Leadership, Organising and Mobilising before looking inwards at what builds a strong advocacy network and what is a good advocacy issue.

Both Networks finished the day with a plan of action to transport them into their next stages of network development and campaigning.

For anyone who has ever thought they would like to be able to influence government on making positive changes for people affected by cancer please get in touch with Sarina on 02 9334 1635 or and have a chat. Alternatively, check out the CanAct website and join the mailing list. 

Dee Why RSL hosts a Living Well After Cancer program

On Saturday 12 September, Dee Why RSL hosted a Living Well After Cancer program. The program is for cancer survivors, carers and anyone affected by cancer in some way, to share what they have been through and talk about challenges after treatment.

There were 18 participants, and the 2.5 hour program was run by two fully trained volunteer facilitators, Mary and Aaron, who were cancer survivors themselves. The session began with a video of cancer survivors who talked about their challenges, and the group were encouraged to share their experiences as a way to try and ‘name’ what they had been going through.

Aaron and Mary shared their personal and inspirational stories about their cancer journeys and encouraged the participants to identify their own strengths and discuss them openly.

This exercise promoted self-love, which was a great way to move on to talk about SMART goal setting and identify what they wanted for their future, what they enjoyed doing and how they could do more of it.

This was a very successful session where the participants were highly engaged, spent a lot of time talking to the wider group about their experiences, and also connecting on individual levels.

Some of the participants’ comments were:

“It is good to hear other people’s stories. People are so amazing and I enjoyed the whole morning. Mary and Aaron were wonderful, a great team.”

“This is just another one of those ‘big changes’; there is a ‘new normal’ and you’re not alone.”

Daffodil Day team at Royal North Shore Hospital breaks record

DaffodilDay2015_RNSHteamandJD.142543The Daffodil Day team at the Royal North Shore Hospital made up of Cancer Council staff member Julieri De Florio and volunteers Elizabeth Downer, Chris Cowper, Qiao Qiao and Stephen Caparaz achieved a fantastic result by raising at total of $4,281 on Daffodil Day held on Friday 28 August.

The team got a special mention by Cancer Council’s Events Marketing Unit as the highest percentage increase site – an increase of 64.3% in funds raised compared to last year!  Well done on an outstanding result team!

Fresh daffodils sold like hotcakes and so did the Dougal bears. The team had to request more merchandise to replenish stock due to the high sales volume. The volunteers were enthusiastic and greeted and helped people with a welcoming smile.

A big ‘thank you’ to our committed volunteers for their contribution in making Daffodil Day 2015 a success and for showing they care about beating cancer.

DaffodilDay_StrathfieldStation_2015_edited.134812Daffodil Day Spotlight: Strathfield Station volunteers

Our lovely volunteers (Jo, Victoria, Kathy, Mai, Adam and Dao) and staff members (John and Jeny) painted Strathfield Station yellow last Daffodil Day held on 28 August.

It was a fun-filled day connecting with community members who really supported the cancer cause. From the long-term Cancer Council NSW merchandise collectors to the first time buyers, there was something for everyone to choose from. Daffodil Day pins and Dougal bears sold out in no time. Thanks to our drivers David and Leah for helping us replenish our stock quickly!

We also had local students Moumtazah, Janifar, Najma, Tamie, Amirah and Kathryn who did a great job walking around selling our merchandise. Thanks girls!

All in all, it was a great yellow day!


Do you, or someone you know, want to release their inner ‘STAR’ quality and DANCE to beat cancer?’

stars of the eastIt is time for the Eastern Suburbs to get dancing, and we are looking for some amazing people to join our line-up of shining ‘STARS’. These people can be community and/or business leaders or everyday heroes of the Eastern Suburbs community.

Each star will be partnered with a professional dancer from a dance studio for approximately eight weeks to learn and perform one dance on the night of the gala event.

The ‘STARS’ and their partners will compete for the chance to win three awards: Judges’ Choice, People’s Choice and Highest Fundraiser.

Held at Easts Leagues Club in Bondi Junction with favourite news couple Chris Bath and Jim Wilson (Channel 7) as MCs, this event is sure to be a spectacular night with all funds going to Cancer Council NSW.

We are currently looking for ‘STARS’ for this event, which will be held on Saturday 7 November.  If you would like to find out more about becoming a ‘STAR’ or to express an interest for yourself or someone else, please contact Helen Appleton on (02) 9334 1921 or Cosie Sekhas on  (02) 9334 1450. 

Click on ‘Volunteer Profiles’ in the column to the left to read about Metro Sydney 25 years volunteer Alison Todd.

Community Ambassadors and their role in the community.

Alan Lovell, Cancer Council Community Ambassador, speaking at a golf fundraising event.

Alan Lovell, Cancer Council Community Ambassador, speaking at a golf fundraising event.

Stories that inspire

We are very fortunate to have a team of Community Ambassador volunteers dedicated to sharing their personal story in the local community. These volunteers come from all walks of life, from corporate professionals to students, entrepreneurs and business owners, from mums and dads to retirees. They all have one thing in common: an experience with cancer as a patient or carer.

These volunteers are as brave as they come. Not only do they get up and speak in public at various events and to various audiences, they open up and share their cancer experience in order to encourage others to get themselves checked, to donate to fund important cancer research; to educate people on the effects of cancer, motivate others to look after themselves; and to lead a healthy lifestyle. Above all, to inspire and give hope to those who may be currently experiencing a cancer diagnosis.

We are honoured to be able to provide inspirational speakers to our fundraisers as they co-ordinate various events such as Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea and Pink Ribbon events. The feedback we have continued to receive from both the event organisers and Community Ambassador volunteers is extremely positive, and we look forward to promoting our speaking opportunities to the wider community.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our Community Ambassador volunteers for their courage and ongoing support.

Metro Sydney team accomplishments over the years

As Cancer Council NSW celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, the Metro Sydney team also observe a key milestone: our regional model of working was introduced just over ten years ago. It’s opportune to pause and reflect on a few of our accomplishments over this period.

Significantly, three Cancer Council NSW Information Centres have been established to connect cancer patients with information and support services. This led to the creation of two innovative meal services that have provided an impressive 9,000 meals to cancer patients at St George Hospital.

We’ve recruited a whopping 333 local primary schools to become SunSmart, and have arranged for the Sun Sound to be played at local pools and beaches each summer.

There are now over 3,000 CanAct community members and two strong local Cancer Advocacy Networks in Metro Sydney. Amongst other victories, our advocacy efforts led to the vast majority of local councils and then the NSW Government to introduce smoke-free outdoor areas.

Consistent with our ambition to mobilise and enable communities to support Cancer Council NSW, all of the above mentioned work has been undertaken by and with teams of incredibly talented and dedicated volunteers. Presently, we have over 400 such volunteers working together to beat cancer.

These and other wins were also only possible thanks to our amazing fundraisers, including Relay For Life committees. Our Sutherland Relay Committee deserves special mention for repeatedly organising one of the biggest and best Relays anywhere in the world. Their work, together with that of many other community fundraisers, enables us to fund more programs and undertake more research.

Though ten years old, this is just the beginning. The current Metro Sydney team – staff and volunteers alike – is more committed than ever to extend the reach of Cancer Council NSW prevention, advocacy, information and support through local program delivery and community engagement in the years ahead.

Northern NSW

Two new volunteers

Volunteer Voice - New Volunteers - Tom & DianThe Port Macquarie Transport to Treatment Program is very excited to welcome two new volunteers, Tom and Dian Barnes.

Tom and Di moved to beautiful Port Macquarie from northern Sydney. Di is also a trained facilitator for Eat It To Beat It, and they are both excited to be able to give back to their new community.

Welcome Tom and Di!

Pink Ribbon Day in 2015 and beyond

Florencia Castillo and Kira Grant.

Florencia Castillo and Kira Grant.

Every day in Australia, around 50 women are diagnosed with breast or a gynaecological cancer, with the Northern NSW region being significantly affected. 350 local people will be diagnosed with breast or gynaecological cancer in a single year, and sadly 73 of these people will lose their battle. 

Money raised from Cancer Council’s Pink Ribbon helps fund world-class research into women’s cancers, cancer prevention and advocacy programs, and support services to help those affected by women’s cancers at every part of their journey.

71 sites were hosted across Northern NSW, and the day was supported by more than 300 volunteers. So far locally we have raised nearly $35,000 and expect to bank a further $5-10,000. To everyone involved and to everyone who made a donation or purchased merchandise, thank you!    

Meet the volunteers behind the Pink Ribbon Day campaign, Kira and Florencia.

These incredible women helped coordinate the campaign from start to end, and did a fantastic job. If you are a Pink Ribbon Day Team Leader or Site Volunteer in the Northern NSW area, chances are you would have had the opportunity to speak with one of these lovely ladies. They’ve asked to pass on how privileged they felt to have had meaningful conversations with you about your own personal cancer journeys.

Thank you for sharing your stories with us, and thank you for doing what you do. Your support is essential to the successes of Pink Ribbon, and we could not do it without you.

If you or someone you know may be interested in ‘behind the scenes’ volunteer work in 2016, such as Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, Daffodil Day and Pink Ribbon Day, please contact Sarah Royall on or 6639 1303.

Armidale Air Show

pink helicopter

Cancer Council NSW Community Speaker Jo Dolan at the Armidale Air Show.

Cancer Council NSW Community Speakers Jo Dolan and Denyce Braithwaite headed along to the Armidale Air Show at Armidale Airport to remind the aircraft enthusiasts in attendance the importance of being Sun Safe and protecting your skin from the dangers of exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays. 

Jo and Denyce were armed with sunscreen, information and sun protection ideas, providing a valuable addition to the several thousand spectators who visited the Air Show.

The regional centre of Armidale is part of the New England Region and usually known for its colder climate; however, part of the challenge in the New England region is getting the local residents to realise the importance of being Sun Smart even in cooler weather conditions.

The higher altitude of most towns in the New England also present additional dangers to increased sun exposure and two of the New England Communities in fact are in the top 10 melanoma “hot spots” in NSW.

Congratulations to our NSW Young Volunteer of the Year for Northern Rivers!

Anastasia Cooke (Maxwell) - Winner Young Volunteer of the Year - Northern RiversA huge congratulations to Anastasia Cooke, who supports a number of staff across the region with administration and database work from the Byron Bay office. Ana works two days a week and we would be absolutely lost without her, so we were thrilled when we found out she won the NSW Young Volunteer of the Year award for the Northern Rivers area!

Ana received a prize of $100 and a framed certificate, and has been invited to Sydney to attend the ceremony where she is in the running with finalists from all other regions to receive the NSW Young Volunteer of the Year Award.

Congratulations to Ana and all of the other volunteers across the area who received awards this year, including the wonderful Garth Howard who recently received an award at the Port Macquarie ceremony. You all truly deserve the recognition.


As of the last week of November…

Congratulations and good luck to Ana Maxwell who will be heading to Sydney shortly for the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards.

Ana took out the regional award in September in the Youth category and we are all hoping that she can claim the state title!

Ana is a much valued volunteer in the Byron Bay office who looks after a variety of administration tasks as well as supporting the Relay For Life events that take place in the Far North Coast and Northern Rivers. Her outstanding organisational skills and conscientious approach to the role make her an asset to the team.

Thank you Ana, for all that you do and good luck with the State Awards in December – we will be cheering for you!


CCIC training with the cold outside.

New Information Centre Volunteers in Armidale and Tamworth.

The Cancer Council Information Centres (CCIC) in Armidale and Tamworth have recently received an influx of volunteers to support the operations at the Armidale Hospital Oncology Ward and the North West Cancer Centre.

Over 20 community members from Armidale, Tamworth and surrounds applied to undertake compulsory training for the CCIC volunteer role, and a waiting list for additional volunteers had to be made for the next training opportunity to come to our region. The number of volunteers for the Armidale CCIC in particular is a very welcome boost to a small volunteer base, which will take the pressure off the existing volunteers’ workload.

The two day training was not without some challenges, with a number of Tamworth volunteers unable to attend the second day of training as a result of the extreme cold weather conditions, with snow and ice closing all roads between Tamworth and Armidale.

A BIG Thank You to Katie Towers and Maxine Rosenfield for braving the cool Armidale weather, with temperatures reaching a balmy three degrees on the Friday, to deliver this vital volunteer training.

Eat It To Beat It on Norfolk Island

Students and volunteers on Norfolk Island.

Students and volunteers on Norfolk Island.

A strong partnership has been developed with Bond University Nutrition & Dietetics to support Eat It To Beat It delivery in Northern NSW.

Eight students completed placement across Term 1 in the Byron Bay office and helped us reach a large number of parents. Three lucky students were also given the opportunity to visit Norfolk Island in early April. The students hit the ground running and delivered two Healthy Lunch Box sessions, a Fruit & Veg Sense workshop, Program Facilitator training to five local volunteers, and held a live segment on local radio.

There was also time to visit local farms and meet with community members to understand fruit and veg availability and costs on the Island.

Eat It To Beat It update

The Eat It To Beat It program has had an incredibly strong past few months, most recently with students from Griffith University completing Nutrition & Dietetic placements for six weeks in Tamworth and Coffs Harbour, where they registered a huge 19 new schools to the program.


It’s a bittersweet time for the program however, with the coordinator, Aimee Johnston, leaving Cancer Council NSW. Thanks to the hard work of volunteers and students the program is in a strong position for our new coordinator, Juanita Nantes, to come on board.

EI2BI facilitators will get to meet her soon enough.

Different kind of partnership, equally great results

Cancer Council NSW Northern recently developed its second partnership with Southern Cross University, this time with the School of Health and Sciences. It is the first of a different kind of partnership for the Northern region, seeing Nursing students undertake “Mini Placements”. The first students to be placed with us under this model attended Casino Relay For Life and spent four hours conducting general health assessments and blood pressure checks for patrons, under the supervision of a registered nurse from the university.

The students assessed over 30 people on the day, engaging very well with the clients, and contributing really positively to the event. In turn the students gained valuable hands-on experience and communication skills. They all expressed that as a result they felt much more confident dealing with clients.

Feedback from the supervisor, who is also the coordinator of the placement at Southern Cross University, was extremely positive. He stated that “the students and I gained a lot of experience from this event and felt privileged to contribute to such a fantastic cause in this way.”

We look forward to future Mini Placements with Southern Cross University! 

Happier, healthier, better sleep, too

NOR_volgroupDid you know that volunteers are happier, healthier and sleep better than those who don’t volunteer?

In May, Cancer Council NSW Northern joined the nation in holding events to celebrate the over 6 million volunteers that make Australia a happier place. We also celebrated the 60th  birthday of Cancer Council NSW.

We certainly would not have made it to 60 without the support of our 32,500 plus volunteers and supporters!

In our Northern NSW region it is predicted that by 2016, 2,551 people will be diagnosed with cancer in a single year, with 749 deaths expected.

These sobering numbers challenge Cancer Council NSW to be even more active in beating cancer.

Thanks to our volunteers we are able to provide cancer prevention, advocacy and support programs, run events such as Relay for Life and Daffodil Day, and have invested over $130 million into research over the past ten years.

With your help, we are providing much needed support to those who are touched by cancer. Thank you.

Interns deliver great results

Abigail Villanueva (pictured above left) and Caitlin Anderson.

Abigail Villanueva (pictured above left) and Caitlin Anderson.

In the Northern Region Cancer Council NSW has developed a strong relationship with Bond University’s Master of Nutrition and Dietetics Practice Program.

This partnership has resulted in rolling intern placements from January to April this year, which will see a total of eight students supporting the Eat It to Beat It program.

Abigail Villanueva and Caitlin Anderson recently completed their placement in the Byron Bay office. The girls were an asset to the team, showing great communication, a high level of autonomy, and fantastic organisational skills. They managed to book approximately seven schools and visit around fourteen in their short time with us. The schools were very pleased with the workshops, and one even wrote to us saying, “the girls did a great job of the workshop this morning, all the parents were very happy”.

When asked if they would recommend interning at Cancer Council NSW to others, Abigail and Caitlin enthused, “Yes! It’s a great opportunity to work with an established not-for-profit organisation and to gain experience in public health nutrition. It’s a privilege to be able to share our nutrition knowledge whilst advocating Cancer Council NSW’s Eat It To Beat It’s aim of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption amongst primary school children.”

Chairperson stands up


Namoi Valley Relay For Life Committee members (L-R): Amy Walker, Ash Worldon, Dale Nixon, Trish Lawty, Amanda Wales and Chairperson, Robyn Faber.

Without the support and hard work of our Relay For Life chairpersons, Relay events would not be where they are today. Robyn Faber became the chairperson for the Namoi Valley (Narrabri) Relay back in 2011. At the time she joined the committee she was also the Narrabri Shire Mayor.

Just days after joining, Robyn’s daughter was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer. Robyn says, “I felt I was meant to be involved because of this.”

Robyn has once again taken on the top job for the 2015 Namoi Valley Relay. She says about volunteering with Cancer Council NSW: “Being a volunteer is a commitment which has a very rewarding outcome. It is a great feeling on the weekend of the Relay to watch it all unfold and know you are making a contribution to helping people.

“We can all be touched by cancer, it is the great issue of our time. There is nothing better than to see all the survivors, carers, families and friends walking around that oval, displaying their courage and showing that we can beat cancer.”

Thank you, Robyn, for your hard work, dedication and commitment to the fight against cancer.

Top driving team

john-susan-thompsonWe asked husband and wife team, John and Susan Thomson, who are volunteer Transport to Treatment drivers in Port Macquarie, about their experience volunteering with Cancer Council.

Here is what they had to say.

Why did you decide to volunteer for the transport service?

John – This program provides a necessary service for people who have deep concerns about their health. They do not need the additional worry of transport to and from treatment.

Susan – John has had two brushes with cancer in the past 10 years so I know very well the worries that arise. The concept of the transport service relieves at least one of those worries.

What’s your favorite aspect of your role?

John – Meeting people who in difficult circumstances are always positive about the outcome of treatment.

Susan – I would have to repeat John’s comment above. 

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your role?

John – Being able to eliminate one of the patients’ concerns.

Susan – I’ve meet some wonderful, positive people through the service

Do you volunteer for any other services or organisations within Port Macquarie?

John – Yes, as a member of the set construction crew at the Port Macquarie Players’ Theatre.

Susan – Yes, at the Port Macquarie Neighbourhood Centre

Please provide a brief biography of yourself.

John – I served with the RAAF as an Armament Fitter for six years, then spent most of my working life in the Credit Finance Industry, with occasional detours into other careers – self-employed and bus driver, before finally retiring in 2007.

Susan – Worked as secretary for a criminal lawyer in Sydney for most of my working life before moving to Brisbane. We then decided to set off around Australia in our caravan (which we called home for 14 months), before finally settling in Port Macquarie six years ago.

Thank you John and Susan for sharing your story with us, and for your dedication to volunteering for Cancer Council NSW.

Lower Clarence RFL

Abby 1 - Lower Clarence Valley RFLThe Lower Clarence Relay For Life was held on 14 & 15 March at the Yamba Public School with a total of 498 participants, 53 teams, and 96 survivors and carers!

A whopping $73,590 provisional total was announced on stage at the closing ceremony with the committee turning over large cardboard signs for the big reveal!

Highlights of the event included the opening ceremony with Aboriginal dancers and the Maclean Pipe banding leading the way for the first lap as well as the moving hope ceremony.

Local entertainers ‘Groovy Greg’, ‘Nick and Sam’ and ‘Solstice’ kept the spirits high and activities such as laser skirmish,  jumping castle and big screen movies kept the kids entertained for hours.

Miss Relay was also a huge hit, raising over $1,600 on the night! The final lap following the closing ceremony was a huge highlight with all committee and survivors and carers going one way and the participants going around the other way giving high fives and shouting “Well done!”, “Congratulations!” and “You made it!”.

Cancer Council health and fightback activities included; free blood pressure checks, health passport stamps for applying sunscreen, drinking water, eating free fresh fruit and participating in other healthy activities to win great prizes.

There were plenty of great team fundraising ideas including a hairdresser giving $20 haircuts and a Physiotherapy fundraiser underneath beautiful bamboo yurts.

‘I was so moved by the generosity and great community spirit shown at this event and the total funds raised will go to local support services, programs, and prevention campaigns in the local area plus into ground breaking research’ Abby Wallace, Community Engagement Manager.

Tweed Valley Relay for Life

Survivors and Carers walk with Amy Ludeke Relay ambassadorCancer Council would like to extend a huge “Thank you” to the volunteering committee for Tweed Valley Relay For Life.

Yet again the committee who plan and organise tirelessly and so passionately, succeeded in putting on another great Relay in 2015!

In the last couple years the committee has been instrumental in fostering some really great community partnerships, with the view of building long lasting sustainable relationships.

By fostering such community spirit, the committee has not only succeeded in spreading the word of Relay in the Far North, they have also contributed in raising awareness of Cancer Council NSW and the great work that we do.

The fundraising efforts reflect their hard work and commitment and once again we couldn’t thank you enough. Congratulations!

Southern NSW

Volunteer Profile: Erika Svensen

Eat It To Beat It - Erika (2)As Health Promotion Volunteer, Erika’s role focuses on the health and programs aspects, in particular with Community Programs Coordinator Sally Hudson, across the South West area.

Erika joined our team in April 2015 after promising to start the New Year afresh with the motto, “say ‘yes’ to everything”, and encourages us all to do the same. This mantra has seen Erika work alongside Sally, and coordinate the brand-new Health Expo for Yass Relay for Life, as well as assisting fellow volunteer Mel, on the Goulburn RFL.

With previous experience in the IT field, Erika applied her project management knowledge and enthusiasm with learnings from current studies in Nutrition, to create a highly successful Health Expo model.  Over 60% of local businesses were actively involved and saw over 12 stalls at the Relay For Life (RFL) event.

“This was the first Health Expo to be held at a Yass, and it was wonderful to see such a great response from such a small town,” said Erika.

“I really enjoyed getting to know the Yass community, getting involved with local businesses, and meeting the people behind them,” she added.

Erika is busy developing the Health Expo Guide for future use across other Southern RFL events, and will be finishing up in her role at Cancer Council at the end of the year.

Erika is looking forward to other opportunities with Cancer Council, and has a particular interest in research projects, as she continues her Nutrition Degree at University of Wollongong.

On behalf of the Southern Team we wish her all the best for the future!

Affordable accommodation for Southern NSW cancer patients, carers and family members

Cancer Council NSW and AccorHotels partner to provide reduced rate accommodation for those travelling for treatment.

A new partnership was announced on Wednesday 28 October that will provide cancer patients across Southern NSW with reduced rate accommodation options when they are required to travel to Sydney for their cancer treatment.

The partnership between Cancer Council NSW and AccorHotels will help to ease the financial burden by providing cancer patients, carers and their family members access to hundreds of affordable rooms. The service will be available across 62 AccorHotels properties close to treatment facilities in greater Sydney and other locations across NSW.

The partnership will complement the current NSW Government’s Isolated Patients Transport and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS). The overall financial burden of cancer will be reduced for these patients when they claim the commercial IPTAAS rate on these rooms.

Regional Manager Michael Cannon said it’s concerning to hear of patients who have chosen to forfeit vital treatment because of the financial burden and lack of available accommodation options when being treated away from their home region.

“When you are diagnosed with cancer, your time should be spent on getting to your radiation and chemotherapy treatments, eating properly and staying focused on the goal of getting better. This new service will help local cancer patients and their families rest easy knowing accommodation options close to their treatment facility will be available at a cost affordable to them.

“The new service will enhance our range of invaluable accommodation relationships across the state, including the wonderful facilities provided that we currently refer patients to who are being treated closer to home.”

Mr Cannon said, “We are excited to be able to strengthen our pre-existing support services which Cancer Council NSW Southern provides for local patients, carers and their families. These services include our phone line 13 11 20 Information and Support, transport to treatment, in home support, and peer support.

“This unique service will help to further ease the burden of cancer for local patients. Working with AccorHotels and complementing the NSW Government’s IPTAAS will provide accessible accommodation in areas away from home, which is an issue that we know many of our local patients face.”

Hotel staff will be trained to deal with specific dietary and housekeeping requirements. Rooms will have a Cancer Council NSW support pack providing information on other cancer support services, which will aid patients and their families during treatment away from home.

Cancer patients who require accommodation are encouraged to visit or call Cancer Council NSW on
13 11 20 to discuss their options. 

Yass Relay For Life

YassThe Yass Relay For Life Committee once again delivered a perfect country town Relay, showcasing the community and all it has to offer.

The Committee even provided the night time entertainment in a musical stage show not to be missed. No-one was spared as Cancer Council staff were dressed up and put to work singing and dancing.

Goulburn and Surrounds Relay For Life

Goulburn Relay For LifeEntering its twelfth year, Goulburn Relay For Life was struggling to gain the attention and participation of the local community.

However, the passion and drive of the Committee turned this all around.

They launched the event with a gala ball in May, set up regular information stalls at regional markets and engaged with local schools, creating various challenges.

This resulted in the highest participation rate ever for Goulburn. Well done team!

Goulburn Relay For Life Health Expo

Goulburn RFL Health ExpoGoulburn Relay’s Health Expo was a great success. With eleven stall holders and various hands on activities, the Relay teams were encouraged to compete for the Goulburn’s Healthiest Team.

This was a new concept that we hadn’t used before, working with your team mates to win. Mel started working on the Health Expo for Goulburn back in April working closely with the Committee Chair who shared a strong interest in making the Health Expo a success.

We also showcased the Cancer Council 60 years’ timeline around the edge of the track to demonstrate the amazing research and cancer prevention wins we have had over the years.

Goulburn Stall Holder Activities:


1. Australian National University Health Checks

2. Warrigal Community Village

3. Goulburn Physiotherapy Centre (Massage)

4. Men’s Shed 

5. Absolute Fitness (Power lifting demo)

6. Thermomix (Fresh fruit icy demonstrations)

7. Nutrition tent (sugar/alcohol activities) – How much sugar is in your drink? Do you know what a standard drink looks like? This hands on activity surprised most Relay participants

8. Cancer Council nutrition tent – Fruit & Veg activity promoting the local Eat It To Beat It program encouraged kids to identify which lunch box items are good for you and which ones are not so good using ticks and crosses. Both kids and parents found this to be informative.

9. Cancer Council Sun Sound and sun safety key messages

10. Cancer Council Celebrating Research/Advocacy wins

11. Kids in the Kitchen – fresh salads were prepared by kids for kids as a healthy lunch time alternative which was very well received by the participants

Having the support of amazing nutrition volunteers has enabled Cancer Council NSW to not only showcase what we do locally in Goulburn, but engage with the community through conversational based activities.

The team challenge was a great tool, which encouraged participation. We look to evaluate this model over the next couple of weeks and share this concept with other CPC’s.

Thank you Mel for all the work you have put in to make this such a great success.

Milton Ulladulla RFL

Hope Committee ImageThe Fifth annual Milton Ulladulla RFL took place recently on the weekend of 17 and 18 October, and once again the event was very successful.

The volunteer organisers were amazing, and the time that they commit to organising this wonderful event is very much appreciated by Cancer Council NSW.

The event involved more than 500 participants and has once again raised more than $90,000 for local prevention programs, information and support, advocacy, as well as world-class research.

A massive thank you to the committee. Without them Relay would not take place in Milton Ulladulla – Caroline Boland, Sally Day, Hayley Supomo, Kelly Brown, Pauline Kates, Tracey Bindley, Jen Dudman, Bree Dedini, Di Puglisi and Michelle Treeweeke

Kiama Relay For Life – (Team Ash, Highest Fundraising Team)

Kiama RFLThe Sixth annual Kiama RFL took place the weekend of 24 and 25 October and looks like raising more than $100,000 for Cancer Council NSW.

For the first time in five years, the weather was amazing for the Kiama community, as 550 participants took to the track. 

The committee, led by their chairperson, Marie Dalton, were wonderful, and so dedicated to organising an amazing Relay once again.  They did everything possible to ensure that the Kiama community knew that Relay was on in their town.

A BIG thank you to; Marie Dalton, Steve Dalton, Angela Wallace, Bec Home, Robyn Crabb, Michael Innes, Sue Wiecek, Chris Wiecek, Hannah Ragen, Olivia Russell, Lorraine Murray, Kerrilyn Bailey, Barb Mandelson, Coral Barrott, Loretta Stegga, Karen Hamilton, Danielle Dibartolo, Sharon Dibartolo and Linda Long.

Special mention to ‘Team Ash’ who were the highest fundraising team this year, raising more than $28,000.  ‘Team Ash’ were inspirational, and their tribute to their great friend Ash Collins during the Hope Ceremony was moving.

Thank you Kiama.

Pink Ribbon Day

PRD 2015On Friday 23 October we celebrated Pink Ribbon Day with over 100 volunteers and a record number of Pink Ribbon Day sites across our Southern Region.

From stalls in shopping centres, outside shopfronts and by the beach, we fundraised towards helping the countless women affected by breast and gynaecological cancers.

A variety of local businesses also jumped on board to support the fundraising including cafes, florist, doctor surgery and schools, donning PINK t-shirts and decorating to promote the cause.

We held quite a successful PINK cupcake stall over the weekend at Wollongong Bunnings, and both Jen and Phoebe have exhausted their baking skills for the year.

It was wonderful to see all the new and returning volunteers come together to help out on the day – we couldn’t do it without them.

It will be several weeks before we are able to announce the total funds raised through the Pink Ribbon Day campaign, however, we are on our way towards our fundraising goal of $7.2 million nationally. 

Eat It To Beat It – Southern Region

Participants in our Eat It To Beat It training.

Participants in our Eat It To Beat It training.

Cancer Council Southern provided a full day of training for local community speakers, university students and other Cancer Council advocates to learn about our signature nutrition program – the Eat It To Beat It Program.

The training covered some background on the importance of fruit and vegetables, why Cancer Council work in the nutrition space, and ran through the Healthy Lunch Box Presentation. Once the training had been completed our volunteers were assigned to various schools around the region.

Our lead volunteer, Learne, has been the key to the delivery of the program. She organises the program facilitators to deliver Eat It To Beat It, packs all the resources, sends out all communications, and manages the administration of the program.

A new concept was introduced this year, a partnership between the Southern NSW Local Health District and Cancer Council NSW to deliver Eat It To Beat It in their Local Health Districts. This partnership has strengthened ties across Southern and increased staff capacity.

We’re well on our way to reaching our target of 1,000 parents across Southern!

Are you interested in having Eat It To Beat It at your school? Visit our website to find out more!


Over head Group ShotBikers band together to beat cancer

For over ten years, the Cancer Research Advocate Bikers (CRAB) have been actively supporting and committed to raising much needed funds for nationwide cancer research initiatives, with over $200,000 raised for Cancer Council NSW in the past five years.

The “Kingies”, who are members of the NSW CRAB club based in Bermagui, have hosted a number of successful fundraising events, including the Bermagui Bike Show held earlier this year. This show alone saw over $15,000 raised for Cancer Council NSW, with an additional $5,000 donated to the local Can Assist. Thanks to enthusiastic groups such as the Kingies, Cancer Council NSW were able to fund 93 research projects in 2014, with specific research undertaken in the prevention, observation and therapy sectors.

Cancer Council NSW is able to work towards a cancer-free community because of the optimism and dedication of volunteer-based groups such as the Cancer Research Advocate Bikers. There is, however, still work to be done, and the Cancer Research Advocate Bikers would love for you to get involved. There are clubs both nation and statewide, so if you’re interested and would like to find your nearest club, or have any queries, contact CRAB founder Rob Grimstone on

Double Cheque Presentation to CC

Wollongong Relay For Life

The Wollongong Relay For Life Volunteer Committee outdid themselves at this year’s event, which was held at Beaton Park on 19 and 20 September.


HOPE lives large in the mission to beat cancer.

HOPE and our RFL committee linked in the mission to beat cancer.

Over 1,600 participants took part in the Relay and have so far banked over $160,000 – taking our fifteen year total to over $2.7 million.

The funds raised from this event assist us in running local support services such as our in-home support and transport service, as well as skin prevention and nutrition workshops in local schools and communities, along with information and access to free financial, legal and emotional support.

The success of Wollongong Relay For Life over the years has also enabled Cancer Council NSW to establish a Cancer Information Centre in Wollongong Hospital.

A huge congratulations and thanks to the Wollongong Committee for making this event possible!

An event of HOPE- Relay For Life Ball

RFL BallOn Saturday 22 August, the Wollongong and Shellharbour Relay For Life Committees joined forces to host this year’s Evening of Hope Relay Ball.

Funds raised go directly back to the Relay, with the profit from tickets sales going towards the teams’ fundraising goals.

Teams were also provided an opportunity to bring along an item to be auctioned off, with the funds raised also going towards their team fundraising goal. The night was a great success and a lot of fun!

Stags Call to Arms

Stags Football Club players.

Stags Football Club players.

For the seventh year, the Goulburn Stags Soccer Club held their annual Call to Arms mid-August to raise awareness for men’s cancer.

From humble beginnings in 2009 with just two teams participating, this year saw 27 sides involved from ‘Under 6’ to ‘senior men and women’. Players purchased a custom one-off shirt and then sold advertising space to local businesses.

The club also hosted a ‘Second Hand Ball’ where outfits were purchased from local second-hand stores. An auction was held along with a game of the popular bra pong at the event.

Stags estimate to have raised over $12,000 to this point, and over $72,000 since 2009.

Southern Region’s dancing stars

Where the Wollongong stars danced to defeat cancer.

Where the Wollongong stars danced to defeat cancer.

Dancer for Cancer has seen a huge success in the Southern region. On Saturday 2 May, ten prominent Wollongong identities dusted off their dancing shoes and took to the stage at a red carpet gala ball event to raise money for cancer research.

The ten local stars paired with a professional dance instructor to perform a two-minute dance routine to compete for the judges’ and audience’s votes at Portofino in Wollongong. It was a night full of glitz, glamour and giggles, as the Wollongong stars took to the stage and raised money for their local Illawarra community. Jai Bernard of Cancer Council NSW reflected on the unique and entertaining night full of laughs by saying, “We were absolutely thrilled to bring Stars of Wollongong Dance for Cancer 2015 to the region”.

The line up of local stars included; personal trainer Lukas Chodat, local artist Kerry Bruce, Kayla Watchorn from Raine & Horne Wollongong, Steph Tobin from Rosa Beauty, WinTV’s Kent Robson, Sonia Forte from Benny’s Joinery, Jason Saladino, Manager of Corporate Sales at St George Illawarra Dragons, Phil Murray from Bevans Corrimal Real Estate, Vickie Giffen from iC, and last but not least, IRT’s Toby Dawson.

The stars did an amazing job of both fundraising and providing a wonderful, successful and memorable night for Cancer Council NSW. This was Southern’s first Dance for Cancer, and we look forward to future success and growth of the event.  

Amazed and inspired

SOU_Terlya2Human Resources Intern at our Southern office, Terlya Hunt, studying a Bachelor of Commerce and International studies at the University of Wollongong, believes interning  with Cancer Council NSW has provided her with an invaluable experience.

She is enthusiastic and passionate about the range of work she engages in. Girls Night in at her Local CWA in Stanwell Park is one of her favorite community events. Terlya believes that interning at the Cancer Council has been the perfect opportunity to align her professional life with her personal ambitions to improve the community and world she lives in, and hopefully beat cancer.

“Every day I am amazed and inspired by the commitment and generosity of the Southern Region’s community workforce, and I feel privileged to be a part of it all,” reflected Terlya. She continued, “I am genuinely motivated to go to work not only because my work is rewarding, but the people you get to work with are truly inspiring and encouraging.”

 2015 National Volunteer Week Morning Tea celebration

Attendees of National Volunteer Week.

Attendees of National Volunteer Week.

In line with 2015 National Volunteer Week and Cancer Councils’ 60th anniversary, the Southern Region held an exciting morning tea for their volunteers.  Hosted on Wednesday 13 May, the rooftop terrace morning tea was the perfect opportunity for volunteers from around the Southern Region to connect, and for Cancer Council NSW to say ‘Thank you’ for the endless support and contributions of our many volunteers.

The event was unique and successful, offering a range of engaging activities over a tasty morning tea. Guest speakers addressed the audience, and an expression board, “Why do I volunteer with Cancer Council NSW”, captured a range of inspiring responses that truly reflect the passionate community workforce of the Southern Region.

Shoalhaven Cancer Care Centre Inaugural Biggest Morning Tea

bigmt (1)

Tammy Johnston (former Community Programs Coordinator Cancer Council NSW), Andrew Simpson, Di Davey, Michele Goetges, Bev Binks, JoAnne Kudor and Frances Matestic.

We started out to have some fun and to raise funds for a worthy cause. At the end of the day we realised we had achieved and received so much more.

Being just a small group of volunteers and discovering that some how our Biggest Morning Tea had been enthusiastically advertised over local radio, we were quite concerned as to whether we would have enough food for all who attended. Any how, after a few nights of broken sleep the big day arrived. We need not have worried.

While we were setting up for the morning tea a cancer patient offered to help so we set her to work pumping up the balloons and helping with the decorating. Another three or four patients, on their way to appointments dropped off cakes and slices they had made. The nurses formed a ‘flash mob’ and surprised us with a spectacular dance performance, much to the delight and appreciation of those enjoying morning tea.

On contacting the wife of a man who had won a raffle prize she said he had been at the morning tea prior to having chemo and added ‘That’s the best news we have had all year’. Another chemo patient won a prize and when she was informed said she would be in the next day for treatment and would collect the prize then, but got so excited she made a special trip back in to the Centre.

Certainly the Cancer Care Centre lived up to its name and the caring came from everywhere –the Cancer Council Volunteers, the patients, the staff, the raffle prize donors and members of the community.

A special thank you to Frances, Joanne, Michelle, Ray, Steve, Ria and Andrew for all your amazing efforts on the day. We are certainly looking forward to holding the event again next year in an even bigger and better way!

Bev Binks and Di Davey, Nowra Cancer Council NSW volunteers.

Great Ocean Pool Crawl

“We’re back, and ready to make our biggest splash yet!sou-pool-crawl

This is the tagline for the 2015 Great Ocean Pool Crawl, a Do It For Cancer event started by Wollongong real estate agent Phil Murray in 2002. This year marks the twelfth for the event, with Phil having helped coordinate over $165,000 in donations.

The event takes advantage of the beautiful Illawarra coastline, delivering participants to swim two laps in seven different ocean pools via a bus, in the style of a traditional pub crawl. It is Phil’s enthusiasm and dedication to his community that has kept the event running and successful.

The launch of the event, held on 5 February, was one of the most successful yet, attracting local MP Ryan Park and Ben Creagh, captain of the Illawarra Dragons NRL team. Amongst others, they helped Phil to swim his 61,000th lap in the Towradgi Ocean Pool in front of local newspaper, television and radio media.

Phil’s 61,000th lap was even more special, coinciding with the release of a recent Cancer Council NSW study, concluding that 61,000 lives have been saved in the last 20 years due to improvements in cancer prevention, screening and treatment.

Phil says, “It could not have worked out more perfectly! A lap for each life saved.”

Greater Western Sydney

An eye-opening internship for Irene

Irene Photo 1My name is Irene Deltetto. I came to Australia from Italy one year ago to do a Master in Public Health at the University of Sydney. I had little experience working in public health, therefore when I received an email from my faculty offering an intern position at Cancer Council NSW, I did not think twice about it and applied for the position. What could have been a better experience in local public health than working for one of the most important not-for-profit organisations aiming to beat cancer in Australia?

This year over 100 schools signed up for a Healthy Lunch Box session in Greater Western Sydney region alone! My primary role was to support the EI2BI Project Officer in Parramatta during this Healthy Lunch Box season – the busiest time of the year!

Over the six weeks I worked with Cancer Council NSW, we delivered more than 70 Healthy Lunch Box presentations, and I personally facilitated more than ten of them. This was a great experience that allowed me to understand other people’s behaviours and attitudes, and how to relate health information to them. During my internship, I also supported other volunteers to deliver their sessions and liaised with schools to make sure everything ran smoothly on the day.

Before I applied for the internship position I did not have a clear understanding of how a prevention program was run in real life. All I had was university theory. These six weeks with Cancer Council NSW have allowed me to understand that the “behind the scenes” office work represents the backbone of a prevention program. Indeed, a prevention program is not only what is seen from the outside, the campaign, the presentation, or the event. It is much more than this. It is all of building relationships with schools, the administrative work, the preparation of the materials that will be needed, the management of all the people involved. Nothing would be possible without each of these activities working together.

This internship also gave me a chance to volunteer. Being a volunteer means putting your time and energy to the service of others, without expecting anything in return. At Cancer Council NSW this is not true, because volunteering gives you so much in return. For me, it not only gave me an inside look into the inner workings of a prevention program, it also allowed me to understand the great diversity between communities in Australia, giving me the opportunity to influence them to take small steps to improve their families’ lifestyles.

Being a volunteer is a way to donate something back to the world.

This internship was a great experience, and I hope that the same opportunity will be given again during the next Healthy Lunch Box season. This will not only give someone else the possibility to understand how an organisation such as Cancer Council NSW works to make a difference, but also a chance to feel what working for others, and to be part of a change for the next generations, means.

Nothing trivial about celebrating the end of the year

End of year celebrationDo you possess freaky accurate knowledge of the Pixar film ‘Finding Nemo’? Do you know your Cancer Council NSW better than you know your own uncles? Are you totally up to date on movie stars?

Well, you should have come along to the End of the Year Celebration Super yummy, weird and challenging Cancer Council NSW Greater Western Sydney Trivia Night!

After screening the 60 years Cancer Council NSW Video and remembering how and why we were there all reunited to celebrate our 2015 achievements, Rodney Titovs (Community Programs Coordinator) got the microphone and started the game!

It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces and some newies playing together in teams and discussing flag colours, chemical elements and galaxies.

An arsenal of good and abundant food coming over the tables helped to make of the event a success that will not be forgotten for some time, especially if you were trying to lose a couple of kilograms before than Christmas.

Three Trivia rounds went by and with no doubt really clever minds were present, as marking the final scores was a hard task for the judges. The Phoenix Team was the lucky winner with 34 right answers. Well done guys, we are impressed with your knowledge!

Special mention needs to be made also for the Parra-normal Team as it won the “Best Team Name award”.

A big ‘thank you’ also goes to Georgia Cheyne (Community Relations Coordinator), and Rodney Titovs for keeping up the fun and hosting the trivia, and ‘thank you’ to all volunteers who attended and shared their feedback on the event.

Looking forward to see all you coming for next year, and for discovering who would like to be part of the volunteer social committee in Greater Western Sydney and help out in the organisation of the next year’s Celebration party for the End of Year. Contact Eleonora on

Have a wonderful Christmas and End of 2015. See you next Year.

The Greater Western Sydney Team.

Pink Ribbon Day – Highlights

pink bearA big thank you to all the Greater Western Sydney volunteers who helped on 23 October, Pink Ribbon Day, to raise funds in support of the many thousands of Australian women affected by breast and gynaecological cancers.

Great work!

More than 1,800 volunteers helped at stalls selling our merchandise and thanks to each of you Cancer Council NSW was able to reach the $1 million state target.

Thank you, Accor Hotels – cheaper accommodation for cancer patients

accor hotels

Cancer Council NSW’s Jim L’Estrange and Merewyn Partland were joined by Accor Hotels’ Scott Boyes and 7 News Sydney’s Mark Ferguson to launch our new partnership with AccorHotels.

Accor Hotels, and Cancer Council NSW have recently announced their new three-year partnership to provide reduced accommodation rates for cancer patients, carers and immediate family members in NSW who need to travel for treatment.

The reduced rates are up to 30% for over 60 Accor Hotels including Sofitel, Pullman, Quay West, The Sebel, Novotel, Mercure and Ibis hotels across NSW.

To learn more about the agreement visit our website page on accommodation for cancer patients and carers

Liverpool – launching a transport service for cancer patients

driversCancer Council NSW and Liverpool Cancer Therapy Centre are launching a new transport service for cancer patients from Liverpool Hospital. Travelling to and from doctors’ appointments can be difficult for some patients who may live far from the hospital, or may be too ill to drive.

This service will be run by Cancer Council NSW volunteers, and the bus will reside at Liverpool Hospital. To date, 11 volunteers have been trained to provide this service and it will be launching at the end of 2015.

The service is free for patients and is subject to eligibility criteria.

Interested in becoming a driver? Contact Eleonora on

Recognition for GWS Volunteers at 2015 Sydney Outer West Blue Mountains NSW Volunteer of the Year Award Ceremony

Ken, Jenny and Marj.

Ken, Jenny and Marj.

Long term Cancer Council Greater Western Sydney volunteers Jennifer Hamilton and dynamic husband and wife duo Marj and Ken Freeman were recognised for the outstanding contributions to their communities when attending the 2015 Sydney Outer West Blue Mountains NSW Volunteer of the Year Award Ceremony at Penrith Panthers Leagues Club on Thursday 24 September.

Ken and Marj were recognised in the ‘Seniors’ category for their work with the Cancer Council Community Speakers Program in Greater Western Sydney, and their commitment to mentoring and training other volunteer community speakers across NSW. Ken and Marj are also long term supporters of Blacktown Relay For Life, serving a number of years as members of the organising Committee, helping to build strong local networks and relationships in the Blacktown area.

Jennifer Hamilton was recognised in the ‘Adult’ category for her dedication and achievements as Chairperson for Cancer Council Hawkesbury Relay For Life, overseeing a close knit team of dedicated Committee volunteers who over the past nine years have been instrumental in achieving increased visibility for local support groups, facilitating connections with local Allied Health practitioners, and building support for local advocacy networks, with the result hundreds of people in the Hawkesbury are now more informed about, and have better access to, vital cancer information and support services.

Ken commented, “It was a nice ceremony and it was staggering to learn about the variety of different things people just pick up and run with. It’s not all about the Meals on Wheels or Cancer Council.”

When asked why he enjoys volunteering, Ken added: “I like getting out talking to people… I’m a bit of a performer you see. But I also like continuing to be useful. I don’t do it for the people clapping or the awards. It’s good to know that no matter how old you are, you can still be useful.”

According to NSW Centre for Volunteering, it is estimated there are 2.4 million volunteers donating their time and skills in NSW, also contributing $8 billion dollars in services to the state economy. In 2013/14, Cancer Council NSW had 32,681 volunteers who contributed the equivalent of an additional 223 full-time employees in this year, increasing our workforce by 67% across every area of the organisation. This encompasses operational areas, such as information technology and finance, human resources, and mission delivery areas of program development, program delivery and community engagement.

Cancer Council Community Relations Coordinator for Greater Western Sydney Alana Zerek, who also attended the award ceremony last week, added, “Without the support of volunteers it would not be possible for Cancer Council NSW to do the work we do in beating cancer.

“Award ceremonies like this allow us to not only thank individuals and recognise their outstanding contributions, but extend our thanks and recognition to the teams of people who work tirelessly together and alongside them to support each other, and Cancer Council, in achieving better local community health outcomes.”

“From everyone at Cancer Council NSW – we thank you wholeheartedly for your support. Our days and our communities are made better because of you.” 

Celebrating 20 years of service

diane_cohenDiane Cohen in the Greater Western Sydney region recently celebrated her 20 years of service with Cancer Council NSW.

In that time Diane has been an instrumental part of the team and has been involved in so many facets of what we do. From making the ribbons for the survivor’s walk at Relay for Life, her active role on the Blacktown Relay for Life Committee, working the registration desk at several Relay for Life Events, and her tireless fundraising for Daffodil Day and Pink Ribbon Day, Diane certainly is a passionate advocate for Cancer Council NSW and we are lucky to have her.

Diane has also been the face of the Parramatta office for many years. Well done Diane, and thank you so much for your continued support.

Cheryl and Janice

Cheryl and Janice.

Meet Cheryl Ward

Cheryl is our volunteer Liverpool Transport Coordinator, helping to set up and ultimately assist in coordinating and running the Transport to Treatment Program out of Liverpool Hospital Wellness Centre.

She chooses to volunteer at Cancer Council NSW because, “I was feeling unsatisfied with my work life and needed to do something more personally rewarding. I felt that volunteering with Cancer Council would be the perfect opportunity to help others in any way I can.

“I am a mother of four, ranging in age from 21 to 10. I work for a grocery chain in the office of their distribution centre four days a week. I enjoy gardening, camping with my family, visiting wineries and spending time with my kids in my spare time.”

Ask Cheryl what she enjoys about volunteering, and her ‘early days’ response is, “I have only recently started with Cancer Council NSW, but I enjoy being part of a team who appreciates my time and ability. I also love the feeling of helping others out.

“I’m currently helping Janice Low (South West Sydney Community Programs Coordinator) set up the Transport to Treatment program. It’s very rewarding and nice to know that my skills can be put to good use.”

As to feeling a sense of accomplishment from being involved in Cancer Council NSW’s mission, Cheryl’s reply leaves no doubt. “Absolutely!!! No question about that.”

And when it comes to feeling personally rewarded by her involvement with Cancer Council NSW, her response is just as immediate. “Yes! I love being part of the bigger picture of a large group of volunteers who are going out of their way to assist and help others in the community less fortunate than us.”

Asked what she would tell friends about volunteering at Cancer Council NSW, Cheryl responded, “I’d say if you’re feeling lonely, unappreciated, unrewarded personally or professionally, or just have some time on your hands that you’d like to put to good use, get in touch with Cancer Council NSW and see what’s available. There is always something for you to do.”

When she’s not at Cancer Council NSW, Cheryl says, “I work Tuesday to Friday 5am to 3pm in my job, race home to pick up the kids from school, then usually spend my afternoon doing housework, getting dinner ready, or trying to have a nap in the afternoon! Weekends are all about time with family and friends, either the kids’ sport, BBQs with friends, or getting away for the weekend.

“I am passionate about being happy and making others happy! I enjoy meeting people and making a difference in their lives. I love to put a smile on someone’s face every day.”

A note from Janice.

Cheryl and I are working together on the new transport project that will start in November this year.  Liverpool Hospital patients will have the offer of being picked up and dropped back home again. The service is available for medical appointments within Liverpool Hospital. I am so happy that Cheryl is now on board to assist with the program.  I think it will be a very busy role and Cheryl has agreed to volunteer every Monday. 

A big hooray for Greater Western Sydney!

What an awesome day was had on 28 August where there were splashes of yellow all over Sydney for Daffodil Day.

To date we have received $174,042.70 from Greater Western Sydney sites. We’re still expecting more funds to come in so it doesn’t end there. Go team GWS!

Did you know?

• Parramatta Train Station was the highest fundraising site in Greater Western Sydney, raising $17,364
• Glenbrook Train Station saw the highest percentage increase of 41.1%
• St Mary’s Village was the highest dollar increase of $735 more than 2014.
• St George Parramatta was the best new site, raising $2,525
• There were 71 sites in Greater Western Sydney

Every day there is more reason for hope than ever before. Cancer research is discovering new and better treatments, cancer prevention campaigns are working, and support for those affected by cancer is improving all the time. Every item you sold and every donation made has helped us take another step closer to the defeat of cancer.

For a selection of photos from the day, please click here.

Parramatta was in full swing on Daffodil Day with many of our corporate supporters jumping on board to support us!

The team from CBA.

The team from CBA.






QBEs team.

QBE’s team.






The team from St. George.

The team from St. George.








The AMP team.

The AMP team.








Marking 20 years of cancer services

image007Ten of our wonderful Liverpool Cancer Council Information Centre volunteers were invited to attend the Liverpool Cancer Therapy 20th year celebration. The celebration, held at the Liverpool Catholic Club, marked 20 years of cancer services being provided to cancer patients and carers.

Doctors at Liverpool Cancer Therapy invited the volunteers to be part of the celebrations to acknowledge their role in providing valuable cancer information and emotional support. The volunteers that staff the centre located in Liverpool Hospital donate their time to help others and provide welcomed relief during cancer treatment with a smile and the opportunity for a chat. If you’re interested in volunteering at the Liverpool Cancer Council Information Centre please contact Melissa Biki on 9354 2003 or 

Celebrating NAIDOC Week at Riverstone Neighborhood Centre


Alana Zerek (Community Relations Coordinator), Rod Titovs and Debbie Nguyen (Community Programs Coordinator).

During July GWS staff were out in force in support of NAIDOC Week celebrations, with many team members attending events in both the Riverstone and Penrith communities.

Cancer Council NSW was invited to be part of the Health Tent at the NAIDOC celebrations at Riverstone, a small tight-knit community in the Blacktown LGA with strong ties to Aboriginal history. Many travelled from far and wide to witness celebrations of traditional Aboriginal music, dance, art and performance.

Community Programs Coordinator Rod Titovs commented: “NAIDOC is one of the few days on the Aboriginal calendar that is purely a celebration. It is a time to celebrate Aboriginal culture and people, and an opportunity for Cancer Council NSW to show we want to celebrate with them.”

NAIDOC Week provides a valuable opportunity to build strong relationships with Aboriginal people and their communities so we can continue working toward closing the gap in Aboriginal cancer related health outcomes.

Pink Supporter Darren Phillips ‘Unites In Pink’ 

Photo 6As a passionate supporter of cancer research, first time fundraiser Darren Phillips has united internationally acclaimed musicians to create a one of a kind CD, ‘Unite in Pink with Music’.

The inspiration behind the album came from his best friend who is currently battling breast cancer, and having witnessed the impact this disease had on many of his family and friends.

The CD has been receiving great reviews and was the feature album on local radio station SWRFM. Darren plans to sell the album through out the year, with all proceeds going to Cancer Council NSW.

Darren hopes to become a long time supporter of our cause, so if you are interested in purchasing the CD or the digital copy please visit

Volunteers training volunteers

ke-marj-freemanOn February 19 we organised our first training session for new Community Speakers run by our long-term volunteers Ken and Marjory Freeman.

We asked Ken and Marj some questions about their volunteering with Cancer Council NSW.

Volunteer Roles: ”We have a number of roles – Community Guest Speakers (eight years) in Western Sydney, Relay for Life in Blacktown (12 years) and Blacktown Community Cancer Network (five years).

What does your volunteer work involve?

“Speaking with groups of people (adults as well as children both English speaking and non-English speaking when we work with interpreters); sitting at tables at Festivals to answer questions about the Cancer Council as well as hand out brochures; fundraising, helping with trying to improve transport for people attempting to get to therapy for their cancer treatment. Acting on the organising committee for the Blacktown Relay for Life from 2003 until 2012.”

Why did you choose to volunteer at Cancer Council NSW?

“After Marj had her first experience with breast cancer in 1981, she helped to set up a Breast Cancer Support Group at Westmead Hospital. Once we had retired in 1999, it seemed natural for us to become involved with the Cancer Council as volunteers. Marj also wanted to give something back to the community and Cancer Council NSW for all the help she received throughout her journey with breast cancer.”

Backgrounds (Personal/professional)

Marj was a Science Teachers aide in High Schools for 11 years. Following her first bout of cancer she attained her Science Teaching Diploma after three years at Sydney University. Then taught science at Granville Boys High School for three years, and Blacktown Boys High School for 11 years. She attained the Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching 1997.

Ken enjoyed a long career in corporate accounting, finance and administration, and retired in 1999. Since then has enjoyed volunteer work in the community, and is involved with a number of musical groups.

They married in 1963 and moved to Lalor Park where they are still resident. They have two children and six grand-children, with a first great-grandchild due in May 2015.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

“Because of our long involvement with the Blacktown area, we feel deeply attached to the people, and we wish to get the message across about healthy living and looking after their own bodies, so that there is less illness and more happiness in our community.”

What work have you done at Cancer Council NSW that you are most proud of or excited about?

“Watching the Blacktown Relay for Life grow from a small event in 2003 into a multi-million dollar fundraiser and a wonderful celebration of life today, with more and more younger people becoming involved. They are our future.”

Do you get a sense of accomplishment from being involved in Cancer Council NSW’s mission?

“Everyone needs to feel useful in order to be happy and enjoy living. Marj’s grandmother once said to her, ‘If you do something good for someone you will receive a ten-fold benefit in return.’”

Do you feel personally rewarded by your involvement with Cancer Council NSW? How?

“We feel good when people ask us to come back and speak with them again.”

What would you tell your friends about volunteering at Cancer Council NSW?

“We feel like we are winning the battle against cancer and we recommend to everyone that they would get a lot of benefit from helping spread the word.  Several of our friends have joined us in Relay for Life teams.”

What do you do when not at Cancer Council NSW?

“Committees for Blacktown Hospital and Blacktown Arts Centre. Singing in the Seniors’ choir, playing in a band. Gym and swimming three times a week. Members of a Probus Club. Auditor for many small clubs and societies. Road trips to explore and enjoy our great country.”

Can you tell of something you are passionate about?

“Each other, our family, as well as all of the above.”

Western NSW

 Volunteers Getting Healthy and Halving Waste

getting healthy

Volunteer Ash, and a member of the community.

On Saturday 14 November, two of our dedicated Eat It To Beat It volunteers attended Charles Sturt Universities (CSU) Halve Waste expo. This expo was delivered to the Albury/Wodonga community to engage individuals in the benefits of recycling, eating healthy and clean living.

Our volunteers engaged with over 100 community members whilst also securing some contacts at local schools who would like us to deliver our program. This was a very warm day for our volunteers, but was also a very successful day.

Not only did our volunteers represent our wonderful Eat It To Beat It program, they also got to meet the massive dinosaur that roamed the fields for the day.

All in all such a great day and a great effort by our volunteers!

halving waste dinosaur


Sharon Ross – Amazing SunSound Volunteer

sun sound picWith the beginning of Summer underway it seems fitting that Sharon Ross, Sun Sound volunteer for the Parkes Region, be profiled. Sharon is now into her second year in this role, embracing Parkes, Tullamore, Trundle and Peak Hill Pools.

It is a wonderful opportunity for Cancer Council NSW to be rolling out the Sun Sound for the second year in a row with the Parkes Shire Council.

The four sun sound sites populations vary in size.

Take Tullamore for instance – no  matter where you are in the town the Sun Sound can be heard. At the local school, bowling club or hospital, the impact in these small communities is not only for pool users, which is great to hear.

Sharon Ross, Parkes Shire Council, is the Manager of Support Services, which includes Parkes Airport, Council fleet, workshop, store and swimming pool facilities at Parkes, Peak Hill, Trundle and Tullamore, writes…

“Parkes Shire Council has two strategic objectives which are:

  • to promote health and wellbeing, and
  • to enhance recreation and culture.

“Cancer Council’s Sun Sound assists Council to reach these strategic objectives that the community has set.

“I volunteer to support the program to help Cancer Council NSW as these facilities are a fair distance from larger centres, and volunteers in the smaller communities can be hard to attract.

“I regularly visit the sites during the Summer and ask the lifeguards how the SunSound is going. The kids at Tullamore Pool love it, and the lifeguard has noticed they apply sunscreen after hearing the sound. The forming of a habit that will both save their life and stick with them for a lifetime.”

Information Centre Refresher Training

On Friday 27 November, volunteers from Wagga and Albury underwent annual training for the Cancer Council Information Centres. The one day training session was run by Maxine Rosenfield, counsellor and supervisor, to update volunteers on their knowledge of peer support and accidental counselling.

The Information Centre volunteers spend their time in cancer treatment centres and hospitals, and aim to assist people as they navigate their cancer experience, easing their emotional and practical burdens and to provide timely access to credible cancer related information, Cancer Council NSW programs and services.

On Friday a total of 10 volunteers from both centres met in Wagga at The Mercure Motel to go through the training. Throughout the training volunteers were taken through a variety of different activities and information to improve their skills in the centre. Maxine took them through the updated changes to Cancer Council’s information and support services. She also took volunteers through Stroebe and Schut’s model of coping with loss. Their model identifies two types of stressors, loss and restoration, where grieving individuals at times confront and at other times avoid, the different challenges of grieving.

To complete the session volunteers had to work in small groups to identify what services and advice they would give to mock patients in a treatment centre. All volunteers benefitted from this training and were appreciative of the updated information and knowledge they received.

Leeton Relay For Life – LAUNCHED!

Meryl Parker and Nell.

Meryl Parker and Nell.

The Leeton community have really picked up the Relay For Life baton and run with it in the lead up to their first Relay For Life in eight years. After many asks from the community, Leeton Relay For Life will be returning in 2016 stronger than ever, with 14 teams registered already!

It is the Leeton Relay For Life Committee that has been the driving force behind such a positive response from the community. With over 25 members present at the first meeting, the support for this event has been palpable. Meryl Parker, a long-time volunteer for Cancer Council NSW for Daffodil Day and Pink Ribbon Day, was the driving force behind the return of Relay to the Leeton community.

Meryl has been joined by a strong committee and co-Chair Stacey, and the ball is well and truly rolling into the Relay season. It is a testament to the committee in this small town that they have already registered over 90 people across 14 teams and reached 16% of their fundraising goal!

Leeton Relay For Life is set to be held on 5 & 6 March 2016, but the event was launched in a big way a few weeks ago, with the committee out in full force down the main street of Leeton  – they make an unstoppable team!


Thank  you, Parkes Relayers

Over the weekend of 1 and 2 November, a record-breaking 636 locals set up camp and walked around North Parkes Oval for 17 hours straight at the Parkes & District Relay For Life 2014.

Together they proudly raised a preliminary total of $45,930, confident of cracking the $50K mark when the final team fundraising dollars came in.

A wonderful weekend was shared. There was laughter and tears as participants celebrated survivorship, remembered those who have lost their battle with cancer, and made a pledge to fight back against this disease.

There was an amazing atmosphere of community spirit, and Cancer Council NSW would like to thank the participants, donors and local businesses who supported Relay For Life 2014.

Bree Kelly, Community Relations Coordinator for Cancer Council, said, “There were so many highlights throughout the event, but my favourites would have been the moving Hope Ceremony at dusk, seeing the creative fundraising activities out on the track, and experiencing the entire Parkes community coming together for those affected by cancer. I loved being a part of the extraordinary atmosphere that was created over the weekend, supporting and celebrating Parkes Relay For Life.”

A special mention must go to the Volunteer Organising Committee, whose time, energy and skill made the event possible: Wilbur Harris (Chairperson), Renee Rice, Kay Newbigging, Ann-Marie Winter, Donna Payne, Tim Keith, Graeme Williams, and Sharyn Ware.

The success of Relay lies in the shaping hands of these wonderful community members.

The funds raised from Relay For Life help Cancer Council NSW get that much closer to achieving our mission of Relay – to beat cancer. The money raised will go towards world-class research, and will also be reinvested into the Parkes community through cancer prevention and support programs.

Local Lifestyle Village supports Pink

The Grange - Pink ribbon Day

The Grange – Pink ribbon Day

Residents of the lifestyle village ‘The Grange’ in Wagga Wagga united together this October to show their support for Pink Ribbon Day. A community of its own, residents gathered together at the village’s community centre for a lovely afternoon of home-baked goods, raffle prizes, and guessing competitions.

The event was hosted by local ‘Grange’ residents Maureen Dietmann and Pam Robinson, along with the support of other local ladies. Over 70 residents and guests attended the afternoon, including four very brave men, and raised over $1,700 in a few short hours.

The Grange Lifestyle Village is a great supporter of Cancer Council, and often gathers together to hold various events, such as Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea. Three residents of The Grange also volunteered their time on Pink Ribbon Day to assist on stalls, selling merchandise, and helping raise awareness amongst the local community.

No Border for Border Relay for Life

Relay Line Up (photo courtesy of David Gordon)

Relay Line Up (photo courtesy of David Gordon)

Another incredible Relay was held on the border for Albury Wodonga this year, with 2,650 registered participants and $440,000 raised for Cancer Council NSW.

The annual event, now in its thirteenth year, never ceases to amaze as it continues to grow and unite the region for a common cause.

The event has grown in popularity, with the Relay becoming a shining star on the region’s busy event calendar. It is an event that creates cancer awareness within the community, and also provides support and comfort to those suffering.

The enthusiasm of the committee, team captains and participants is unquenchable, and a fabulous vibe fills the community for the four months leading up to the event. The Relay itself then becomes a wonderful celebration of life, a time to remember those we have sadly lost, while also providing a platform to raise money to help others in the future.

Border Relay for Life

8. Opening Ceremony and Survivors and Carers LapThe Border community united together on 24 and 25 October to participate in yet again another amazing and inspiring Relay.

The Committee worked tirelessly for months in advance to produce one of the best Relays the community have ever seen, and the new venue location proved to be a big success. 

The inclusion of an inflatable football pitch, movies on the big screen, the ‘undies and bra competition’, and a range of local performers, kept everyone entertained.

2015 Border RFL Hero Breanne Shaw (centre), pictured with her brother Tyler and Committee member Caroline Shaw

2015 Border RFL Hero Breanne Shaw (centre), pictured with her brother Tyler and Committee member Caroline Sale.

The ‘Border Relay for Life Hero’ was awarded to local cancer survivor Breanne Shaw, who was nominated by her brother via this heartwarming video clip –

Border’s Chairperson, Carl Freidleb, announced a total of $385,000 raised with teams still yet to bank final funds, 158 registered teams, and 2,750 amazing participants.

A special mention to Team SS&A Walking Warriors who won the award of highest team fundraisers, raising a staggering $25,000.


Wagga Wagga Relay For Life  – Spirit of Relay 2015

Go Nuts For Charity Spirit of Relay

Go Nuts For Charity Spirit of Relay

Over the last two year Wagga Wagga RFL has remembered a special member of the Wagga Relay For Life family, Paul Abela, through the Paul Abela Memorial Trophy for “Spirit of Relay”. Paul was a long standing member of the Wagga Wagga Relay For Life Committee, and a much loved member of the Wagga Wagga Community.

Paul used his own experience with cancer to inspire the Wagga Wagga community to Fight Back against cancer, eventually losing his battle with cancer after a second diagnosis.

It is because of Paul’s Fight Back spirit and dedication to the Wagga Wagga community that the Wagga Wagga Relay For Life Committee created the Paul Abela Memorial Trophy for “Spirit of Relay” The winner of this award would encompass the spirit that Paul injected into Relay For Life each year.

In 2015, the “Spirit of Relay” award went to Phillip and Helen Harpley from the Go Nuts For Charity team, who have quite literally turned Relay For Life preparation and team activity into a full-time job. Their Go Nuts For Charity nut bars can be found in a dozen outlets around Wagga Wagga, and even interstate.

Team member Phil has been the driving force behind Go Nuts For Charity – not only producing thousands of nut bars each year, but spending hours and hours planning and executing the team’s activities.

Phil, Helen, and their great kids, have all spent hours out the front of Myer over the last six weeks selling tickets – but their Relay and fundraising efforts have been a 12 month project.

Raising over $15,000 for their Go Nuts For Charity team in 2015, Phillip and Helen are an inspiration to all at Wagga Wagga Relay For Life.

Like so many of our fantastic relay teams, Phil and Helen Relay in memory of a dear family friend who lost her battle to cancer. This is something that no doubt resonates with everyone who is involved with Relay For Life. Using this passion, Go Nuts For Charity have shown that they are ready to Fight Back against cancer in our community!

Cancer Council NSW at the ENGAGE GI Cancer Forum, Albury

Alan Pottie speaks at the ENGAGE GI Cancer Community Forum in Albury.

Alan Pottie speaks at the ENGAGE GI Cancer Community Forum in Albury.

Alan Pottie, Volunteer extraordinaire from the Western Office, once again wowed the crowd when he presented at the ENGAGE GI Cancer Community Forum in Albury recently. The Forum was an initiative of the GI Cancer Institute and Cancer Australia, with local support from organisations like Cancer Council NSW and other local health services.

With Gastro-intestinal (GI) cancer being the most common cancer in Australia, the ENGAGE Forum gave many in the Border Community the opportunity to learn more about the impact of a GI cancer diagnosis on a person and their family.

Alan spoke of his experiences as a survivor of a GI cancer and was joined by other speakers addressing issues such as cutting edge GI cancer research, the benefits of clinical trials, support resources available and tips for better living and surviving GI cancer.

By the end of the evening, Mel Nixon, Community Program Coordinator, had to steal Alan away for the trip home to Wagga, so interested were the attendees in Alan’s’ insights!

Bathurst Edgell Jog  

Edgell Jog PhotoSunday 6 September saw community members of Bathurst and surrounds come together to tackle the 7.5km run/walkathon event. 2015 was the 40th year of the annual event and saw event records being smashed.

The Edgell Bathurst Jog is a 7.5km run, touted as “the biggest fun run in country New South Wales” by the event organisers. In partnership with the Edgell Jog committee, our Cancer Council NSW volunteers provided great resources on sun safety and healthy eating for all participants. Even some of our dedicated volunteers entered into the jog.

The Edgell Jog commenced in 1975 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Edgell organisation. The first jog attracted 800 competitors and was called the Jubilee Jog. Over the years the total number of participants has increased, and as in now in excess of 45,000.

Ganmain Show Goes Sun SafeGanmain Show 1

On Saturday 22 August two of our community speakers, Donella and George, trekked out to the Ganmain Show to spread the word of sun safety.

The Ganmain Show draws quite a crowd of around 5,000 people, which is unbelievable as the town itself has a population of 614 people. Being apart of this day was a privilege and a huge success. Many pens, bottles of sunscreen and healthy eating brochures were handed out to parents, grandparents and children.

The day went off without a hitch and was also a great networking opportunity for our volunteers who were successful in securing another expo at another local show.

Healthy lunches Eat It To Beat It style.

Healthy lunches Eat It To Beat It style.

Healthy Eating Kicking off in Western Again

Eat it to Beat Healthy Lunchbox Sessions are in full swing across the Western Region!

Eat It To Beat It is a program for parents of primary aged children provided at Primary School’s by Cancer Council NSW for FREE. The program outlines:

  • The latest nutrition recommendations for a healthy life for your family brought to you by Cancer Council
  • How small changes can make a big difference
  • How many serves of fruit & vegetables are recommended to maintain health and how much is a ‘serve’
  • The reasons why a healthy lunchbox is important
  • How to use the healthy lunch box kit to pack a lunch that your kids will love to eat and much more!

Wattle Flat Public School (near Bathurst) has recently held both a ‘Healthy Lunchbox’ session and a ‘Fruit and Veg Sense’ session. To our delight a surprise healthy lunch feast was provided. 

A huge “thank you” to Walter Reynolds, our Eat it to Beat it Coordinator, staff and parents of Wattle Flat School.


WHAT A CAKE!western cake shot

A big “thank you” goes out to the wonderful staff of The Beechworth Bakery in Albury NSW.

This awesome cake was donated by the bakers to help Mel Nixon (Community Program Coordinator) perform a Random Act of Kindness in the lead up to Daffodil Day for clients of the Oncology Unit at Albury Wodonga Health, and also to recognize the caring upbeat vibe that Oncology Staff and Volunteers bring to the Oncology Unit each and every day.

Clients and Staff of the unit (as well as assembled media!) enjoyed lunch, luscious fruits and cake, with many oncology clients sharing tales of their time spent in the Oncology Unit. Some clients were new to the service, whilst others were coming to grips with the reality that they would likely need treatment for the rest of their lives. What was most inspiring was that the majority of the stories were overwhelming positive.

Ultimately, all in the Oncology Unit agreed that it was the little things, such as a smiling face or hot cup of tea and a chat, that had the power to change the day of someone having chemo. Oh, and of course CAKE! 

The mighty duo from Griffith

deanna-janDeanna Marriott and Jan Newman, organisers of Western NSW’s highest funds-raising Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, undertook another successful morning tea in May this year, to coincide with Cancer Council NSW’s 60 year celebrations.

The mighty duo started hosting their morning tea in Griffith over 20 years ago, and due to their success the event has now turned into an annual event for the Griffith locals. Last year saw their biggest year yet with huge queues, and raised a massive $9,625! There is no stopping Deanna, Jan, and their team of volunteers, as every year they happily put on their aprons and bake thousands of scones, brew copious amounts of tea and coffee, and provide a warm and happy atmosphere for the Griffith community to come together to show their support and contribute towards the cause.

Thank you, ladies, for all of your wonderful work, commitment and support for this great event. You are an inspiration to many!

Zac Trengove, CRC Support Volunteer

Jenn Hayes & Virginia Faucett (Orange RFL Committee) with Zac Trengove

Jenn Hayes & Virginia Faucett (Orange RFL Committee) with Zac Trengove

Zac joined the Orange Western Region office in December 2014 after being referred by a local Relay For Life committee member. We still can’t believe how lucky we were to find him! Since then Zac has been heralded our best up and coming direct-marketer. With an extremely cheerful yet professional phone demeanour, he has been making a noticeable impact on reducing our Relay For Life Team Captain attrition rate. Zac contacts Team Captains from Relays past to encourage their participation for another year, and also makes routine calls to our registered Team Captains, informing and supporting them.

There isn’t a committee member or Team Captain across the Western Region that hasn’t had the pleasure of chatting to Zac, and the feedback we’ve received is glowing. People are going out of their way to tell us all about it. “I’ve just got off the phone to the friendliest guy!”

Zac’s confidence has grown in leaps and bounds, and so have our relationships with our team captains. He even volunteered his time to attend a few Relays and work in the rego tent, finally meeting all those folks he’d been speaking to for months over the phone.

So here’s to another Relay season with Zac, now coming along to committee meetings to liaise with the Teams & Fundraising Coordinators. Thank you, Zac!

Not one, but two!

Mel's picture for VV Story2The Western Office in Wagga Wagga is happy to welcome not one, but two fabulous Community Programs Interns from the Bachelor of Social Work Program at Charles Sturt University (CSU), Ruth Stevens and Kaitlin Maguire.

This is the second year that the Wagga Office has benefitted from having CSU Interns, and the relationship between CSU and Cancer Council NSW seems to be strengthening each time.

“I think both parties (CSU and Cancer Council NSW) get a lot from the Intern program. We share our ‘on the ground’ knowledge, whilst the Interns get to see their years of learnt theory put into practice in real-life situations,” commented Mel Nixon, Community Programs Coordinator (Albury & Communities).

Whilst Interns Ruth and Kaitlin are only at the beginning of their journey with us, already the two have full calendars, and can see that there is so much more to the organization that is Cancer Council NSW.

Says Ruth, “When I was told my Uni placement was with Cancer Council NSW, I wondered what I could possibly be doing there that was relevant to a Social Worker’s field of interest. Now, I am excited to see how community development influences practice, and the importance that this will have in my future work.”

Aside from Programs work, all the Wagga office staff make time to visit with community members for important events.

“I have been to a fair few Biggest Morning Teas so far, and met so many interesting and fun people!” said Kaitlin. “Some have cancer, some have lost someone because of cancer, or just want to help the cancer cause. I didn’t realize what an effect Cancer Council NSW had in the community, or how connected the community felt to the local office. It’s great to see people enjoying themselves, although I don’t think I can eat another scone for quite a while!”

Old Relay Shirt Day

Pictured below, back row (L-R): Denise Hearn, Wendy Mackerras, Nicola Schneller, Allan Johnston, Lindsay Brown. Front row (L-R): Gaynor Castellaro, Gary Workman, Ros Bonomi, Rachel Serafin.

Pictured above, back row (L-R): Denise
Hearn, Wendy Mackerras, Nicola Schneller,
Allan Johnston, Lindsay Brown. Front row
(L-R): Gaynor Castellaro, Gary Workman,
Ros Bonomi, Rachel Serafin.

On Friday 14 February, the Griffith Relay For Life Committee held Old Relay Shirt Day. The day calls for the community to show their support and commitment to Relay by pulling on their Old Relay Shirts, or even just something purple.

Many teams, businesses, schools and local community members look forward to the day, to share in showing Griffith’s long history of Relay For Life events stemming back to 2002 when the first event was held.

The day created a sea of purple amongst the Griffith community and was a fantastic way to get everyone excited as the countdown began to the big Relay.

Transport to Treatment

Pictured at the Bathurst Transport to Treatment launch (L-R): Volunteer drivers Jane Cox and Tim Cox; Paul Toole, Minister for Local Government; Fiona Markwick, Community Programs Coordinator; and Michael Slater, Chairman of the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation.

Pictured at the Bathurst Transport to
Treatment launch (L-R): Volunteer drivers
Jane Cox and Tim Cox; Paul Toole, Minister
for Local Government; Fiona Markwick,
Community Programs Coordinator; and
Michael Slater, Chairman of the Newcastle
Permanent Charitable Foundation.

The long awaited Transport to Treatment program has officially been up and running since early March. Two new Cancer Council NSW vehicles have helped to overcome the tyranny of distance for cancer patients living throughout the Central West.

Thanks to a $66,500 grant from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation, the new Transport to Treatment service provides a free shuttle service for eligible cancer patients living across this wide area. Over twenty volunteers from local communities have put their hands up to help out those in need across the Central West.

Cancer Council NSW training for the volunteers took place late January. Then defensive driver training was held in partnership with Panorama Road Safety from Bathurst, which saw the drivers take to the streets and suburbs of Orange to learn some defensive driving techniques.

Three launches of the Transport to Treatment program were held in Orange, Bathurst and Mudgee, with volunteers supporting us all the way. Media channels from across the region were present resulting in new found stardom for our aspiring volunteers. Representatives from Newcastle Permanent’s Charitable Foundation, local cancer service workers, MPs, town mayors, Cancer Council NSW staff and volunteers, were present.

Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers involved as we look forward to the progress of our Transport to Treatment program.


Hunter Central Coast

Community Speakers Program, ready to go.

File 3-11-2015, 6 36 17 PMHunter Central Coast region recently teamed up with the University of Newcastle to conduct “A Needs Assessment for Cancer Council’s Community Speakers Program”.

The aim of the assessment was to review the current program structure and suggest improvements to the program based on the evaluation.

The assessment was completed by students Nicole Lucas and Sarah Williams (pictured), and supervised by Aroha Nisbett, Volunteer & Partnerships Coordinator.

Nicole and Sarah conducted surveys and interviews over a four week period before presenting the final results to staff in the Erina Fair office.

The findings, while not surprising, have gained valuable feedback from key stakeholders whilst also providing great insight into the current structure of the program. Hunter Central Coast will now use this evaluation to improve many aspects of the program over the next six months.

Improving the volunteer experience

IMG_1326During November Volunteer Workshops were held across the Hunter Central Coast to follow up the Volunteer Engagement Survey completed earlier this year.

The workshops were well attended, resulting in greater insight and a broader understanding of how we, both as a region and an organisation, can improve the volunteer experience over the coming year.

Workshops were facilitated by volunteers Phil Williams, from the Regional Advisory Committee, and Gleness Rowe, Chair of Mingara Relay. Having volunteers facilitate the session allowed volunteers to be more open and honest and ensured that improvements are volunteer-led and not organisation-led.

The feedback from participants was really positive and the Hunter Central Coast hopes to hold similar sessions in the future.

Volunteer Award Winner!

cherylCongratulations to Cheryl Cooper, our super volunteer who is part of our Newcastle Relay For Life committee, and was recognised at the Hunter Volunteer Awards recently.

We love your work Cheryl!



Volunteer Administration Team are great achievers

From left to right, BACK: Margie, Katherine, Winsome, Pausha (staff), Sue (staff). FRONT: Nicole, Carol, Debra.

From left to right, BACK: Margie, Katherine, Winsome, Pausha (staff), Sue (staff). FRONT: Nicole, Carol, Debra.

Having been in operation now for a little under three years, the volunteer administration team is a fantastic example of what we can achieve with volunteer support.

We completed volunteer administration training in October, which will strengthen the administration team skills for the Singleton Office.


Wendy Everitt, Raelee Shearer and raffle winners.

Wendy Everitt, Raelee Shearer and raffle winners.

Community Speaker, Wendy Everitt spoke at a Pink Ribbon fundraiser for Raelee Shearer held at the Greyhound Racecourse on the Central Coast.

The event was very successful, raising $11,740.

Packed house for new volunteer drivers.

hunter transport

The Shirley Shuttle Patient Transport service has been in operation on the Central Coast since March 2008 with only one car.

Last financial year we had 40 volunteer drivers transport 2,239 patients to their treatments driving a total distance of 102,240 kms. There are now four cars that we are able to operate through a local partnership with community transport.

The Shirley Shuttle is a valued local service and we are so happy how well it is supported by our local community members. In early September we ran a training session for our newest volunteer drivers, and will be working to ensure that this service continues to help cancer patients on the Central Coast.

QBE and Cancer Council NSW, great teamwork to defeat cancer

Left to right, Leigh Buckland (CCNSW staff) QBE Staff member, QBE Staff member, Elissa Mead (CCNSW Staff).

Left to right, Leigh Buckland (Cancer Council NSW staff) QBE staff member, QBE staff member, Elissa Mead (Cancer Council NSW staff).

The team at QBE Insurance Newcastle are banding together to support Cancer Council by volunteering and fundraising all year long in 2015. This is the second year running that the staff have chosen to devote their community day to Relay For Life, Daffodil Day, Pink Ribbon Day and program delivery in the Hunter.

“The team at QBE found that it was difficult to have all of the staff out of the office for one Cancer Council event such as Daffodil Day, whereas they are able to support multiple events throughout the year without a significant impact on their day-to-day business,” said Shayne Connell, Regional Manager at Cancer Council NSW, Hunter Central Coast.

Since beginning their involvement with Cancer Council NSW, QBE have expanded their involvement to Community Fundraising and other events such as Stars of Newcastle. The team have decided to dedicate their fundraising this year to a local transport service, with the goal of funding a cancer patient transport vehicle for the Lower Hunter.

“It has been fantastic getting to know the QBE team and sharing their passion to give back to the community. They are clearly having a lot of fun with it, and we hope that their involvement with us will not only make them feel good about giving back, but will also help their workplace team culture,” added Shayne.

Know a workplace that would like to get involved in corporate volunteering and have a great time in the process?

Contact your local Cancer Council NSW office at Our Regional Offices

15 Years of Relay

hcc-mingarsMingara Relay For Life, one of Cancer Council NSW’s premier events, has grown from its first year raising $63,000 to a whopping $2.7 million over 14 years of fundraising.

Mingara is unique, being the only Relay in NSW named after a registered club. The support from Mingara, both in providing a safe, well-equipped venue, through to financial support, plays an integral part in the success of this event, and one that we are very thankful for.

Now in its fifteenth year, we take a moment to thank both the volunteer committee and the Central Coast community for their commitment and support for the cancer cause. Over the last decade and a half, we have seen this Relay go from strength to strength, a feat made possible thanks to the dedicated volunteers of the Central Coast who are working behind the scenes year after year.

“Their passion, excitement and desire to join together and beat cancer is the defining factor to this event. I could never thank the volunteers and the community enough for their commitment, whether it be over the past fourteen years or just this last year. The amount that has been raised is phenomenal, but more than that is the role we have all played in beating cancer,” said Sarah Russell, Community Engagement Manager.

Power to the Volunteer

Maureen, Alan, and Ayalah.

Maureen, Alan, and Ayalah.

This year we celebrate three Central Coast volunteers’ commitment to Cancer Council NSW and also volunteering, Maureen Saggus, Ayalah Nesti and Alan Phillips.

Between them they have given 30 years volunteer service and more than 15,000 volunteer hours. Their work has had a huge impact on what we have been able to deliver in our local community.

Some of these have been the establishment of new support groups, a new Relay for Life event, and a regional volunteer program. Most recently the roles include Patron for the Central Coast, Information Centre Coordinator for two centres, and Graphic Design which enables us to produce a number of marketing collateral in-house and administration support to our support group leaders.

“It cannot be said enough how thankful we are for the support of the community through volunteering.

Our work is just not possible without community support and the hard work of volunteers. I am especially thankful for the volunteer service of Maureen, Ayalah and Alan.

They started when we had just opened a new office on the Central Coast, their work has been instrumental in establishing Cancer Council NSW’s reputation in the Central Coast community,” said Aroha Nisbett, Community Coordinator, Volunteering & Partnerships.

“Volunteering is powerful. Volunteers have the ability to affect communities, increase our resources to deliver more programs and add real business value. Let’s make sure we are giving volunteers the opportunity to achieve this.”

Dancing the night away

phil-williamsA keen volunteer has decided to step out of his comfort zone this year. Phil Williams is one of 12 leaders from the community that make up our newest event, A Night out with the Stars of Newcastle. This is a great concept, a dancing event incorporating local celebrities and businesses, with an aim to raise $100,000 to go towards cancer research, support services and information in the Hunter region.

Phil Williams recently retired from full-time work as the Business Manager with the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service. Prior to this position he was a Regional Manager with the Cancer Council NSW, firstly for the Metropolitan Sydney Region and then the Hunter/Central Coast. Phil was responsible for initiating many of the region’s first Relay for Life events as well establishing the Central Coast Office.

In retirement Phil keeps active by participating in ocean swims, teaching adults how to swim, gardening and some part-time work. He is also a member of Cancer Council NSW’s Regional Advisory Committee. Phil is a prostate cancer survivor who used the services of Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 Information and Support program to help his decision-making during that period.