Statewide regional news archive/July to December 2016


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

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

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





Thanks so much! (1)


Regional Manager’s end of year wrap up

As we head towards Christmas and the end of another year, the Metro Sydney Regional team have been reflecting on the significant achievements of our fabulous volunteer workforce.

Volunteers are critical to the success of almost every one of our prevention and support programs and fundraising campaigns in Metro Sydney. 2016 has been a busy and exciting year on the volunteer front. Some of the highlights include:

–        We welcomed and trained a new cohort of Community Ambassadors and Community Speakers to increase our reach into the community. Cancer Council Community Ambassadors share their cancer experience and connect people to Cancer Council’s mission. Our Community Speakers educate the community about a range of cancer topics, including screening and prevention.

–        Our 15 Eat It 2 Beat It volunteer facilitators delivered a record 53 Healthy Lunch box sessions to parents of primary school children from Sutherland to Hornsby, and Narrabeen to Concord. We know that obesity and a poor diet are preventable risk factors for cancer. The program improves parents’ interest and skill in choosing nutritious lunches and snacks for their kids.  

–        After a short break, 2016 saw the Hornsby Relay for Life return to Rofe Park. We welcomed a brand new volunteer organising committee who were an absolute stand out. They got back to grass roots community engagement and really helped the locals own the event and make it something really special.

–        Our advocates came together In November to begin planning our ‘I care for Palliative care’ campaign. The campaign will be in full swing next year, putting pressure on political decision makers to increase the number of Government-funded palliative care physicians and nurses, so that people who wish to die at home can do so with comfort and dignity.

–        Our long standing Cancer Information Service volunteers worked very hard to learn and adopt new technology in their centres this year. We successfully implemented tablets and an online reporting system to better understand and respond to the needs of patients visiting our information services at St George Hospital, Prince of Wales Hospital, and the Northern Cancer Institute at St Leonards. The new process also saves hours of administration time at our head office, which means more time can be spent delivering programs and services to support people affected by cancer.

These are just a few of the vast ways volunteers have made an impact this year in Metro Sydney. We are forever grateful for the time, energy and enthusiasm our volunteers bring to their roles each and every day.

It was lovely to see so many of you at the Volunteer Christmas Party at the Tilbury Hotel in late November. I hope you enjoyed meeting and hearing from our new CEO Jeff Mitchell.

From all of us here in the Metro Sydney team, we wish you a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and a safe and relaxing break.

Warm Regards,
Lauren McAlister
Regional Manager
Metro Sydney


Lady Marmalade – Raising Awareness of Palliative Care


The Northern Sydney Cancer Advocacy Network (NSCAN) got creative this month by marrying their love of marmalade with raising awareness for the palliative care shortage.

As part of Hornsby Relay for Life, the marmalade competition featured entrants from across the state, including one from Bathurst, vying for the number one title and a spot in the prestigious International Marmalade Awards in the UK.

The Marmalade Competition was judged by international marmalade expert and Palliative Care Advocate, Jane Hasell-McCosh, who started the competition in the UK, Jan Young from the Country Women’s Association (CWA), and special guest, Matt Kean MP. Our very own Chair, Liz Hing, was awarded 5th prize with her first ever attempt to make marmalade.

As well as the competition, NSCAN were busy collecting pledges, with a total of 86 being signed, including one from Mr Matt Kean himself. A big thank you to our wonderful advocate Dr Yvonne McMaster (pictured), who put in an amazing effort to organise the competition, judges and publicity for the competition.

Keep up the great work NSCAN!


Seven Bridges Walk – From Volunteer Iman Luu’s Experience

2.7BridgesWalk.114418I had the opportunity to be a Volunteer Village Leader at the 2016 Seven Bridges Walk, which was my first event with Cancer Council NSW. I was the leader of Wollstonecraft Village, which also contained the Cancer Council’s Village of Hope and the VIP Marquee. It was all very new to me and I had no expectations or ideas of what I would encounter on the day.

As I was the morning leader, there wasn’t much foot traffic until later on in the day, so I was able to speak with the volunteers and hear why they were helping out with the cause.

Sunil and his father were standouts on the day. I’ve never seen two people with that much drive and enthusiasm for a cause before, it was truly inspiring. Sunil’s father wore our Dougal Bear costume, all without complaining once about being in the suit or the heat.

Sunil also put in a lot of effort, bringing in a group of his friends from school to volunteer as well. I told him that I thought it was great what he was doing and that I wish I had thought to do this with my friends.

Sunil replied by saying, “what else would you want to be doing with your weekends?” He was so driven and motivated by the cause, had participated in previous years and contributed greatly! It was really amazing to have met someone so young and so motivated to help.

Another highlight of the day was the Village of Hope, where attendees were able to decorate their event bibs with the reason they were doing the walk. This was a good chance for them to reflect with their team or by themselves. I was quite moved by all the nice messages and reasons for participation. It is evident in an event like this that cancer does touch people from all ‘walks’ of life, be it directly or indirectly.

Overall, I had a great day as a Village Leader. I was touched and inspired by those who attended and would love to do it again in the future.


Sydney Cancer Advocacy Network at Seven Bridges Walk


This October, Sydney Cancer Advocacy Network (SCAN) successfully ran an advocacy activity at Seven Bridges Walk.

It was the first time that there was an advocacy presence of any kind at Seven Bridges Walk. The network came together to support Cancer Council NSW’s palliative care campaign and collected more than 100 ‘I care for palliative care’ pledges from participants.

Having a squirt of sunscreen available for a donation enabled making the first contact with the participants and starting the conversation on our palliative care campaign. The network found that running this activity was a good opportunity to hear people’s views and stories on the issue.

All in all, it was a successful day. Well done SCAN!


Eat It To Beat It Success Across Metro Sydney


Pictured is our wonderful intern Andrew delivering an engaging Healthy Lunchbox Session at a Kindergarten Orientation

For the first time, Eat It To Beat It is rolling out across Metro Sydney, and schools cannot get enough of Cancer Council NSW’s flagship nutrition program.

With more than 50 sessions being delivered in primary schools, thousands of parents are receiving practical information about how to eat enough fruit and vegies, and why it is so important to set up young children with healthy eating habits.

The Metro Sydney Program Facilitator Volunteers are passionate about the message and have received great feedback from schools.


MP Jo Haylen’s Pink Ribbon Breakfast

mp breakfast2

During Pink Ribbon month, the MP for Summer Hill, Jo Haylen, hosted a Pink Ribbon breakfast at a local café in her electorate.

This was the second year Ms Haylen hosted a Pink event with more than 40 women and men coming together to share breakfast and show their support for those affected by cancer. We also had our Community Ambassador Keely Bennett share her story at the event. Hearing how cancer has affected Keely and her family had an extremely powerful impact on the audience, including Ms Haylen herself.

The event raised more than $600 and also made it to the front page of the local paper.


Hornsby Relay For Life


Hornsby Relay was a big success this year, with an increase in teams up to 34 from 26 last year.

There was also an increase in our number of participants and fundraising – we have raised $66,285 and are expecting to hit the target of $70,000.

After a hard year in 2015, the driven and dedicated (mostly new) committee were able to turn the event around and pull off an amazing Relay and participant experience. The committee went back to basics and used their learnings from the Relay Summit to focus on the “WHY”.

Our amazing MC, Daniel Milne, was only meant to be at Relay for the Saturday morning but got totally hooked and stayed the full 24 hours, only taking a short nap in the wee hours of the night.

Highlights include a marmalade competition, a full program of entertainment, our annual 24 hour walkers Brad and Matt, who have become Relay icons, and our wonderful community teams like the Hornsby RSL, Westleigh Rural Fire Brigade, the SES and school and youth groups.


Another major highlight of the event was the new Dawn Celebration Breakfast on Sunday where teams took a moment to sit down together with more than 160 seats filled to capacity. Breakfast was kindly provided by our major sponsor, Hornsby RSL Club, and the theme for 2017 was announced – “Hornsby Relay, Growing Hope”. Each team was given a plant to take care of throughout the year to thank them and remind them of Relay. The event finished with group photo at the iconic Hornby Relay HOPE sign.


McAlister Fete in Engadine


On Saturday 19 November, two of our volunteers, Michelle Towns and Paul Soady, attended the McAlister Fete at Engadine with Southern Sydney Community Programs Coordinator, Alex Koukoumas.

The goal was to spread the word about our current Palliative Care Campaign to ask the government to fund an extra 10 palliative physicians, 129 palliative care nurses and culturally-appropriate specialist palliative care services for Aboriginal people.

The day went well, attracting many people to the stall to discuss how important this current issue is, and receiving 20 signed pledges and photographs.

It was unbelievable how many people the volunteers knew there on the day, which was an added bonus and helped us to get more pledges signed!


Stars of the East 2016 Success!

stars of the east

An amazing $160,000 was raised on 5 November when the annual Stars of the East gala was staged at Bondi’s Easts Leagues Club.

With comedian Mikey Robins and radio host Mandi Coolen acting as the Masters of Ceremonies, nine of the Eastern Suburbs’ most daring personalities took to the stage to dance for cancer. Under the microscope of a three person judging panel that included Easts CEO Scott Bennetts, Waverley Mayor Sally Betts and dancer/choreographer Amy Gough, those showing off their moves included property developer Paul Apostoles, police officer Emma Condon, real estate agent Anji Lake and surf school owner Brenda Miley.

Leon Goltsman and Sarah.

Leon Goltsman and Sarah.

Also performing in front of a strong crowd of 300 was Bondi Surf Club President Jacob Waks, Waverley Councillor Leon Goltsman, local physiotherapist Dave Macdonald, and cancer survivors Chrissa Panigiris and Elliott Donazzan.

Paul Apostoles was the night’s big winner with his salsa number seeing him walk away with the audience-decided People’s Choice Award as well as the Highest Fundraiser Award for his solo effort, raising more than $51,000 for Cancer Council NSW.

Performing to Gnarls Barkley hit “Crazy,” Leon Goltsman garnered the approval of the judges, earning him the Judges’ Choice Award, also a well-deserved effort!

Brenda Miley

Brenda Miley

Stars of the East was generously supported by property development group, Longhurst, and Stefan Ippolito from the Oxford Real Estate Agency, each of whom made donations of $10,000.

Bruce Notley-Smith, the Member for Coogee, and the President of the NSW Legislative Council, the honourable Don Harwin, both also attended the gala.

To nominate a Star for the 2017 Stars of the East event, please email

Paul Apostoles and Dalal.

Paul Apostoles and Dalal.

Balmain South Sydney Cricket Club on National TV


On Sunday 20 November, Cancer Council Australia held a press conference at Sydney Park in St Peters to launch National Skin Cancer Action Week (20-26 November) and release new data on sun protection trends.

Balmain South Sydney Cricket Club were also in attendance on the day to highlight the importance of adopting and encouraging sun smart behaviours amongst its players. Club Secretary, Terry Kelly, and young players, Patrick Dinham and Richard Staines, were featured on national TV, encouraging others to protect themselves from the sun

The club has signed up for our Healthy Sports Initiative, which supports clubs in making healthy, cancer-smart environments for cricket members and their families.

Thanks to the Club for helping to spread our Sun Smart message!


8th Annual Breast Cancer Morning Tea – Gurriwal Aboriginal Corporation


On 28 October, three Cancer Council NSW staff members, Margaret Skagias, Kristen Toohey and Margaret Allen, were invited to attend a Breast Cancer Morning Tea to support and remember Koori women. The event was attended by local Aboriginal elders, community members, community organisations, local schools, and Randwick Council Cr Noel D’Souza (Mayor).

Each year local elder Barbara Simms Keeley, known as Aunty Barb, organises this event to raise funds and awareness of breast cancer. Many items were auctioned and sold on the day, and everyone enjoyed a lovely lunch together at the Yarra Bay Sailing Club.

Those in attendance were reminded to keep up to date with their screening and heard stories about the experience of cancer in Aboriginal communities.

In preparation for the event, Aunty Barb created a painting that she kindly donated to Cancer Council NSW. The painting represents the breast cancer journey for Koori women.


Nomads Sydney North Annual Charity Golf Day


On Tuesday 22 November, Nomads Sydney North hosted its 12th annual Charity Golf Day at Long Reef Golf Course, Collaroy.

120 golfers took to the green to raise vital funds for Cancer Council NSW’s children’s leukaemia research, with an amazing $34,159 raised through 18 holes of golf, raffles, auctions and donations on the day. To add to the day’s success, our very own CFO, Peter Taylor, led his team of four to victory as they took out first place in the charity tournament.

Nomads Sydney North was established in 2005, and through the medium of golf the purposes of the Club are to raise funds to assist those less fortunate and encourage participation in the sport by sponsoring promising young Australian players.

Each year since 2011, Nomads Sydney North’s Charity Golf Day raises funds for a worthwhile research project from Cancer Council NSW. Over the last six years, they have raised more than $200,000 for brain, liver, bone, skin, prostate and children’s cancer research.

This year’s funds will directly contribute to the Cancer Council NSW funded research of Professor Murray Norris AM, Deputy Director of Children’s Cancer Institute, and his team, who are extending their work on molecular targeted therapies with the aim of improving treatment options and survival rates for children with leukaemia.

Guests on the night had the privilege of hearing from Professor Norris himself as he highlighted the ways in which the money they raised on the day would be positively impacting children affected by cancer.


Willoughby Community Cares for Palliative Care

Michelle, Liz, Christie, Kathy.

Michelle, Liz, Christie, Kathy.

On 24 September, The North Sydney Advocacy Network (NSCAN) joined the Willoughby community to enjoy the Uniting Churches Fate Day and help spread awareness for Cancer Council NSW’s Palliative Care campaign.

Armed with the ‘I Care for Palliative Care’ pledge signs, the NSCAN members managed to get a number of pledges and new members to our CanAct community. The members also remarked on the amount of personal stories, both good and bad, that community members shared about their experiences with Palliative Care.

As well as the campaign, NSCAN were also promoting our upcoming Hornsby Relay for Life and its special Marmalade Competition which will be judged by leading UK Palliative Care Campaigner, Jane Hasell-McCosh.

Overall it was a very good day and a wonderful opportunity to engage with the communities that NSCAN work so hard to advocate for.


“I care for palliative care” campaign

It has been a busy few months for the Southern Sydney region getting local MP’s on board with the current ‘I Care for Palliative Care’ campaign.

MP Mark and Lillian Birchall MPL

MP for Oatley Mark Coure, and  MP Liaison Volunteer, Lillian Birchall.

A few weeks ago, Lillian Birchall our MPL for Oatley approached Mark Coure to show his support for this campaign. Fortunately, he was happy to show his support by signing the pledge and taking a photo. Lillian has just been out of surgery on her leg and we are grateful to have her back in full swing whilst recovering and advocating for change. We hope you have a speedy recovery Lillian!

Alex , Eleni and Alison

Alex Koukoumas (Community Programs Coordinator) , Eleni Pentinos (MP, Miranda electorate), and  Alison Todd (MP Liaison volunteer).

Similarly, MPL Alison Todd who stepped in for Tony Cain for the Miranda electorate approached Eleni Petinos with the same ask.

Whilst there, she also briefed Eleni on our Eat It to Beat It program which is now rolling out in primary schools throughout the region.

Eleni was very impressed with our healthy eating program for parents and remembers what it was like growing up and not wasting the food that was put in front of her. Eleni was happy to show her support by signing the pledge and taking photos with Alison and CPC Alex Koukoumas.




Concord Carnival puts on a show for the community

concord carnivalSydney Relay For Life hosted a stand at the recent Concord Carnival as a soft launch to promote the upcoming Relay in their community.

The Carnival is a popular event amongst the community with theme park activities, pony rides and a petting zoo. The emergency services attended, displaying a very cool fire truck and police vehicles.

The community and even one of our star team captains were in full force promoting Sydney Relay. The couple who started Relay in the area six years ago paid us a surprise visit and assisted in spreading the word to their family and friends that came along.

Planning is underway with some innovative ideas and activities in the works for Sydney Relay which will be held on 11 and 12 March 2017.


Superstar supporter Rebeca Milanes

rebecca milanesRebeca Milanes is one of our superstar fundraisers this year. She has managed to raise more than $10,000 for Cancer Council NSW throughout the year through a variety of events including The March Charge, Stadium Stomp, Sutherland2Surf, and Blackmores Sydney Running Festival. Rebeca is also hosting a Girls’ Night In at the end of the month.

Rebeca is fundraising because “saying ‘thank you’ to those that were part of our journey doesn’t feel like it’s enough. My husband discovered a ‘lump’ in his thigh that turned out to be a malignant tumor and within three weeks of discovering it and after numerous tests, it had to be removed as soon as possible. Today, I share this story to celebrate the good fortune our family experienced. A year on and my husband is free of the ‘c’ word, playing basketball and most importantly, around to see our kids grow up. This year I have pledged to raise $10,000 for Cancer Council NSW for their help, support and dedication.”

Thank you, Rebeca, for your amazing efforts!


SCAN’s visit to Prince of Wales Cancer Council Information Service

scan at prince of walesThis October, Sydney Cancer Advocacy Network (SCAN) volunteer advocates Amber Reid and Carolyn Neumann, along with Community Programs Coordinator Jeny Gautam, were privileged to visit the Cancer Council Information Service (CCIS) volunteers at Prince of Wales (POW).

It was an opportunity for SCAN to share with the CCIS volunteers how they work towards lessening the burden of cancer diagnoses on patients and their families.

Amber and Carolyn touched on local campaigns SCAN is working on and the ways CCIS volunteers can get involved in those or Cancer Council NSW’s current state-wide campaign on palliative care.

The CCIS volunteers kindly shared some of the common challenges patients and carers tend to face, with parking and transport to treatment being noted as the most common issues.

It was a worthwhile meeting as both groups of volunteers walked away with a better understanding of how each group helps Cancer Council NSW’s mission to beat cancer.


genevieve soloRead a profile of one of our volunteers, Genevieve Langron, by clicking here.

Pink Ribbon Day “Thank you”

pink ribbon day thank you picOn Friday 21 October there were pink t-shirts, hats, flower crowns, leis and more, covering the Metro Sydney Region for Pink Ribbon Day. Many Metro Sydney volunteers and staff were involved in raising funds for women’s cancers. There was even an impromptu visit from Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull in Edgecliff – the volunteers were tickled pink to see a famous face!

THANK YOU to all the Metro Sydney volunteers who united in pink with us this Pink Ribbon Day.

Your contribution has made a significant difference to the estimated 17,500 Australian women diagnosed with breast or gynaecological cancer each year in Australia.


Patient Support Volunteer Training at Northern Cancer Institute


Back Row: Adrienne Gorme, Sue Deaves, Jenny Mahon, Sophia Jo, Julie Londero, Louise Edmondson, Britta Huttel, Christian Steiner, Jess Green, Christie Gazal Front Row: Lou Murphy, Michael, Bob Sexty, John Currie

On Tuesday 27 September, Cancer Council NSW and Northern Cancer Institute welcomed seven new and eager Patient Support Volunteers to the fold.

Held at the Northern Cancer Institute, the volunteers enjoyed their training and induction which involved presentations on understanding cancer and chemotherapy, boundaries and self-care, and the practical support services Cancer Council NSW offers.  

The highlight of the session was the ‘meet and greet’ with the pre-existing Patient Support Volunteers, who imparted their insights and enthusiasm for the role. Hearing about the role from those that have experienced it really helped to highlight and solidify the need for these volunteers for those going through cancer treatment. 

The new volunteers come from an array of different backgrounds From having an interest in medical practice or being a cancer survivor themselves, the common thread was their connection to cancer and their desire to give back to the community.

We are very excited to have them on board and look forward to our regular catch-ups.


Why I Relay Night – Hornsby Relay for Life.

Why I Relay Night

Relay for Life is an incredible event that allows communities to recognize and celebrate those who have overcome cancer, are undergoing treatment, and those people who care for them. More poignantly, Relay also provides an opportunity to celebrate the memory of loved ones lost to cancer.

On Wednesday 21 September, enthusiastic relayers attended the “Why I Relay” information night at Hornsby RSL Club. Guests enjoyed light refreshments whilst they heard from special guest speakers on why they relay. Attendees also booked their campsites, picked up their Relay shirts, discovered a few new fundraising ideas, and learnt what was in store for them at the event on Saturday 5 November at Rofe Park, Hornsby Heights.

Relay for Life is a 24 hour community festival, based on the premise of ‘cancer doesn’t sleep, and we won’t rest until we find a cure’.  If you would like to be involved with Hornsby Relay for Life you can register here.


We are currently seeking volunteer event helpers for the event on November 5-6.  To learn more about what will be involved, please check out the job ad here


Healthy Lunchbox Season Kicks Off

Healthy Lunchbox SeasonCancer Council NSW’s flagship nutrition program, Eat It To Beat It has kicked off in Metro Sydney.

For the first time ever, Eat It To Beat It is rolling out across all of NSW with the help of a new Regional Nutrition Project Officer and over 20 new volunteers!

The program will be delivered through 55 Healthy Lunchbox Sessions at primary schools across Metro Sydney. The sessions cover the importance of eating enough fruit and vegetables to reduce your risk of cancer and other lifestyle diseases.

Parents will receive information and support to ensure they can pack a healthy lunchbox every day in the school year that their children will enjoy and set them up for healthy eating habits for life.


NSW Volunteer Awards

Liz HingLiz Hing is a highly committed volunteer who has generously given her time to Cancer Council NSW for over five years. She has contributed in various volunteer roles, including North Shore Dance, Relay for Life, and in her ongoing role as Chair of the Northern Suburbs Cancer Action Network (NSCAN).  

Recently Liz was nominated for the NSW Volunteer Awards to acknowledge her hard work and commitment to volunteering over the years. Liz’s perseverance and commitment to her community has resulted in strong support from the Northern Suburbs community, and big wins like Ku-ring-gai Council going smoke-free in all parks, playgrounds, reserves and bushlands as of 1 November this year. Her ability to engage others, and spark action is something we have coined “the Liz effect”.

Thanks Liz – we greatly appreciate your ongoing support and action.

Jess Green, Community Engagement Manager, Metro Sydney.

Visit our Volunteer Profiles page to read Liz in her own words about volunteering with Cancer Council NSW.


Daffodil Day

On Friday 26 August Cancer Council NSW celebrated 30 years of Daffodil Day.

We would like to say a massive THANK YOU to all the volunteers and staff who generously gave their time to sell merchandise to raise funds to support everyone affected by cancer.

There were 127 sites and over 2,000 volunteers across the Metro Sydney Region.  At every corner, shopping centre and many corporate sites, there was a sea of yellow. Daffodils, bears, and footballs were being sold throughout the community. We have received so many positive stories from volunteers and the public about how well-run and heart-warming the day was.

We had many of our long standing volunteers be involved on the day.

Denise Bockett - Daffodil Day

Denise Bockett in the Daffodil Day spirit.

One such volunteer was Denise Bockett who was a team leader at Sutherland Train Station from 6am to 2pm. Denise first got involved with Cancer Council’s Daffodil Day, 16 years ago. Denise has since volunteered in Cancer Council’s packing room, event support for our Metro Sydney events, Information and Support Centre at St George Hospital, and helping stock our Information and Display Stands.  

Denise said, “It feels great to give back to the community and raise funds for Cancer Council.  The more people who get involved in Daffodil Day, the more we can do to beat this terrible disease.”

We hope everyone involved had a fantastic day. We thank you for all your enthusiasm, dedication and support.

For a pictorial revisit of Daffodil Day 2016 in the Metro Region, click here.

SCAN Social Night

SCAN Social Night Group Photo with Cancer Council CEO Jim L'Estrange

SCAN Social Night group photo with Cancer Council CEO Jim L’Estrange.

On Tuesday 23 August, Sydney Cancer Advocacy Network (SCAN) held its inaugural Social Night at the Republic in Sydney CBD. The Social Night brought together members from neighbouring Cancer Advocacy Networks (CANs), which included Northern Suburbs CAN, Western Sydney CAN, South Western Sydney CAN.

We also had our very own CEO Jim L’Estrange attend as a guest speaker. Jim spoke about the important role CANs play in Cancer Council NSW’s advocacy work, and answered any questions the advocates had.

The social night was a great opportunity to discuss all things advocacy for our passionate CAN members, while getting to know each other a little better. Given the huge success of the night, SCAN looks forward to holding one again next year!

Congratulations to the SCAN leadership team Jamie Seymour, Amber Reid and Vicky Martin on pulling off a great night!



City2 Surf Marquee crew

The marquee volunteer crew welcomed runners when they finished the run.  Photo credit Turbans 4 Australia

We had two groups of volunteers painting the course yellow on the day – one at Heartbreak Hill, and one at the finishing line at Bondi Beach.

The day was filled with yellow costumes, lots of photos and non-stop cheering for all the runners coming through- plus Dougal Bear came along.

Our volunteers also helped out at the VIP marquee to help welcome our Cancer Council NSW runners and give them a true VIP experience. Thank you to all the amazing volunteers who helped paint the course yellow and manage the VIP marquee at the end of the race, we couldn’t have done it without you.



Volunteer Profile

MikeSchoettlerHeadMichael Schoettler‘s volunteer roles include serving as the Opening Master of Ceremonies (MC) at Sutherland Shire’s Relay for Life for 15 years, and Sponsorship manager. He recently answered the following questions about his volunteering with Cancer Council NSW.

What is your background? (Personal/professional)

“I was born and raised in California but was lucky enough to visit Sydney in 1968 on R&R. After I completed my education I came back to Australia for a 2 year assignment and stayed. In 1991 I founded Sales Sense and have been helping people to use the sales and negotiation skills that build profitable relationships ever since.”

What does your volunteer work involve?

“As an MC we work to get the event off to a very positive start and keep the atmosphere exciting. In sponsorship we work to lift the visibility of our sponsors in our community and extend this opportunity to other businesses and organizations. Our sponsors are very generous and we want to make sure our community appreciates their support.”

Why did you choose to volunteer at Cancer Council NSW?

“I was asked to MC the start of the very first Sutherland Shire Relay for Life and loved the event. The people, the atmosphere, the commitment. Everyone is doing their part and people look forward to it all year.”

What message would you like to tell others about cancer?

“We have all lost friends and family to cancer and there is something you can do. Treatments get better every year and local people make it all possible.  Visit your local Relay and you will meet some of the nicest people in the world. I guarantee you will return the following year to support this important event.”

What has been your most fond memory at Relay from your involvement?

“I have met so many fantastic people at Relay over the years. Some of them are no longer with us but they live again when we remember them with friends. We do remember and celebrate their lives. And when you meet one of the researchers who are doing such important work, you know you really are fighting back against this terrible disease.”

What is your number one tip to staying fresh across the 24 hour Relay event?

“Make the effort to keep meeting new people. They will keep the event fresh and exciting for you.  Don’t forget to eat and drink, and power naps are always important.”

What do you do when not volunteering at Cancer Council NSW?

“We now enjoy our travel and I am learning to enjoy golf. But I still run my company, Sales Sense. It is very rewarding to help people produce a better result.”

Can you tell of something you are passionate about?

“Ordinary people have the power to take action and change things. Don’t believe you can just complain and someone else will make things right.  Get involved and you will be surprised how valuable your contribution is. Join one of the Cancer Council teams and you can be a part of beating cancer today.”


Hornsby Relay Committee hit the streets

On Saturday 23 July the volunteer Hornsby Relay For Life Committee hit the streets to raise awareness and funds for the Relay coming up on the weekend 5-6 November at Rofe Park Hornsby.

2016 marks the 20th anniversary of Relay For Life being an international event, and Hornsby has been part of that for an amazing 14 of those 20 years!

Based at the Westfield Hornsby iconic fountain, the committee launched their “Why I Relay” campaign, which was filmed with key community members speaking on why they Relay and calling for support of the event. The committee ran a mini Relay with several fundraising activities such as sausage sizzle, face painting, raffle tickets, bake sale, and a visit from Dougal Bear.

1. Phil CatchpoleCommittee Chair Phil Catchpole led the charge as the committee spoke to the public in the first launch of their “Why I Relay” campaign.

Phil said “I Relay because I’ve watched my Mother fight Breast Cancer and beat it. I Relay because I’ve watched friends bravely fight their cancer but lose the battle. I Relay in the HOPE that, together, we can help find a cure for cancer.”

This year the Hornsby Relay is aiming to raise $70,000 for cancer research, prevention, support and advocacy programs, and have over 500 participants registered.

If you live or work in the Hornsby area you can get involved in this unique community event by joining the organising committee OR entering a team and participating.

Find out more about Hornsby Relay and how you can help by calling 9334 1600 or at or

Eat It To Beat It and Healthy Sports Initiative Rolling Out Across Metro Sydney

We know that up to 4% of all cancers can be prevented by eating the right amount of fruit, vegetables and fibre.

For the first time, Cancer Council NSW has dedicated funding to a Metro Sydney Nutrition Project Officer to expand and deliver the programs Eat It To Beat It and the Healthy Sports Initiative.

2. Eat It To Beat ItEat It To Beat It is our flagship nutrition program where we deliver free sessions and workshops for parents of primary school age children, helping them to understand why fruit and veg are so important.

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

We are looking for Volunteer Project Facilitators to deliver the Eat It To Beat It sessions to parents at schools.

Please head here to apply!

Up up Cronulla!

5.Up up Cronulla (1)

Our Sutherland Shire Relay committee and participants were out in full force over the weekend of Saturday 2 July at Shark Park while the Cronulla Sharks won their 12th game in a row!

Our committee chatted to the Cronulla supporters and shook their buckets, and as a result, the generous community donated an incredible $3,500, which will go towards the 2017 Sutherland Shire Relay.

Cronulla Sutherland Football Club have been extremely supportive towards the Sutherland Shire Relay, and we were lucky enough to be their Charity Game Partner for that weekend.

5. Up up Cronulla (2)The committee, as well as our Survivors and Carers, were involved in a Lap Of Hope before the game kicked off, showing support for all our heroes currently battling cancer and those loved ones lost.


Cancer Council NSW at New Farmers Market in Sutherland

In July, the Sutherland Council requested our long-term volunteer and Sutherland Shire resident, Alison Todd, to have a Cancer Council NSW representation at their new Farmers Market.

6. Sutherland Farmers Market (2)Alison sought support from another long-term volunteer, Tony Cain, to hold a stall at the Farmers Market.

Together, they talked to a number of people who had been through cancer treatment and were finding life difficult, as well as carers. Alison and Todd not only leant their compassionate ears to these patrons but also referred them to relevant Cancer Council NSW programs and services. 6. Sutherland Farmers Market (1)The pair also spent time with the captain of the Bulldogs team, James Graham, and quickly raised his awareness about the association between diet, healthy weight and cancer.

In addition to raising awareness about our programs and services, and cancer risk factors, Alison also managed to fundraise some money by selling our merchandise. Thanks for being such great reps for Cancer Council NSW Alison and Tony. We are lucky to have your support!


Volunteer profile

3. Susan Duric“My name is Susan Duric, and since June of last year I have been a member of the Metro Sydney Fundraising team, occupying the position of Media Intern.

“Intensely curious since I was a young child, at the conclusion of secondary school I embarked on an educational odyssey, the University of New South Wales becoming my second home as I completed degrees in history, international business, politics and journalism.

“Passionate about social justice, I have worked on the National Close the Gap campaign and sought to highlight the need to recognise Indigenous Australians in the Constitution, a move that enjoys support from across the political spectrum.

“In my capacity as a Media Intern, I work alongside Community Relations Coordinator Costeen Sekhas, doing my best to contribute to the success of Stars of the East. A fundraising extravaganza staged within a celebratory atmosphere, it is both vibrant and unique, challenging celebrities and “local heroes” from Sydney’s East to strap on their dancing shoes, master a routine and perform it before a 300 strong paying crowd.

“Committed to working methodically, I complete numerous tasks; composing the event programme, aiding in the construction of short participant-focused videos that are played during the gala, and writing social media posts. I also compose media releases and liaise with journalists.

“I choose to volunteer with Cancer Council NSW because I get to flex my skills in an environment where I am respected, and that by doing so, in a small way, I demonstrate my solidarity with those suffering from disease.

“In the future, I hope to complete a doctorate, work as a journalist and lead a non-governmental organisation.”


Dry July in the dry Outback!

4.Dry July in the dry outbackHamish, a resident from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, raised funds for Cancer Council NSW throughout Dry July, whilst working in the Outback.

Hamish gave the challenge his best nudge and successfully raised over $700 by laying off the booze for the month.

Great work Hamish!

It shows anyone can fundraise, anywhere and at any time.

To find out how you can fundraise, click here.


Winter Wonderland Charity Ball 2016

Frosso Mathews (Andrew’s sister), Andrew Mathews and Mary Mathews (Andrew’s sister in law).

Frosso Mathews (Andrew’s sister), Andrew Mathews and Mary Mathews (Andrew’s sister in law).

In the year 2000 Andrew Mathews lost his beloved Dad, Steven, to brain cancer

Andrew made a promise to himself that when the time was right he would host a charity ball in his father’s honour, and that day came on Saturday 11 June, when Andrew held the Winter Wonderland Charity Ball at the Ivy Ballroom in Sydney.

Supported by his sister Frosso, brother Anthony and mum Helen, over 320 friends, family and colleagues attended the night that consisted of entertainment, live and silent auctions, a raffle and a giant snow globe.

When asked what his motivation was, Andrew responded, “I wanted to generate awareness and assist individuals and their families that are fighting this dreaded illness called cancer. To inspire people to assist when they can, not when they need to”.

The Winter Wonderland Charity Ball raised a remarkable $51,911, and with Frosso being a Macquarie Bank employee, the Macquarie Group Foundation kindly dollar-matched an additional $25,000 to bring the total amount raised for Cancer Council NSW to an amazing $76,911!

With the five year survival rate for brain cancer falling at around only 22%, the Mathews family have chosen to direct the money to Cancer Council NSW’s brain cancer initiatives.

We can’t wait to work with the Mathews family on next year’s event!


#4on4in40 marathon effort to beat cancer

2. Quinn Chow 4on4in40Do It For Cancer fundraiser Quinn Chow will be running four marathons on four continents at 40 years of age in an effort to raise money to beat cancer.

Quinn started off in May at the Ultra-Trail 50km in the Blue Mountains and will progress to do the Big Five Marathon in Africa, followed by some exciting locations in Asia and North America that are yet to be determined.

This larger than life attitude is what spurred Quinn on to make the last few years of his dad’s battle with cancer the best they could be, going on regular fishing trips and travelling around the world.

“For my 40th birthday and ensuing mid-life crisis, instead of worrying about the legacy I’ll leave on this earth, I decided to run for it. My mum died of complications from breast cancer when I was sixteen years old. My dad died of complications from colon cancer when I was a bit older. The sad truth is you or your loved ones have been affected by cancer too.”

Quinn is encouraging people to show their support by either making a pledge of an amount for every kilometre he runs, or simply donating to Cancer Council NSW.

Quinn himself will be donating 40 cents for every kilometre he runs, which will amount to approximately 1,000 kilometres by the end of the challenge. We wish Quinn all the best in the future marathons to come!


Volunteer Experience


Marianna in her favourite daffodil ‘disguise’.

My name is Marianna Antonis and I am a social work student from Western Sydney University. I have been completing my internship at Cancer Council NSW for the past four months, and what a great experience it has been!

I have had the opportunity to coordinate the Home Help and Transport Program in the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Region, and be a part of the Cancer Council Information Centres in Southern Sydney.

The Metro Sydney Team have embraced me as a volunteer, allowing me to be involved in other events such as Sutherland Shire Relay For Life, Macedonian Women’s Day, and Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea.

My experience at Cancer Council NSW has allowed me to grow, not only as a student but as a person wholeheartedly. With great appreciation for Cancer Council NSW, I am delighted to continue volunteering after my internship!


Patient Support Volunteers Needed for Northern Cancer Institute

NorthernCancerInstituteIn partnership with the Northern Cancer Institute (NCI), Cancer Council NSW is seeking enthusiastic volunteers for the position of Patient Support Volunteer, to work on site at the St Leonards NCI Chemotherapy Clinic.

Reporting to the Nursing Unit Manager at NCI, you will be responsible for helping patients to tea and coffee, linking them in to relevant information, and referring them to appropriate support services. You will also provide social support to cancer patients, and their carers and families, within the treatment clinic setting.

Essentially, you will demonstrate excellent communication and listening skills, a friendly, empathetic attitude, and a willingness to learn about the range of cancer services available. Training will be provided.

To express your interest in the role please email your application to Tracy Mak,

For more information about the role, please contact Jessica Green at Cancer Council NSW on 9334 1799, or Tracy Mak at Northern Cancer Institute on 88037 4100.


Stars of the North dance for cancer

Stars of the NorthOn Saturday 4 June, the inaugural ‘Stars of the North’ event took place at Concourse Theatre in Chatswood, delivering a night to remember. Local heroes of the North, paired with professional dancers, stepped out of their comfort zones and onto the stage. Each hero was hand-picked, having little to no experience, to dance for cancer. With the support of the community, their family and friends, over $100,000 was raised for Cancer Council NSW.

As each pair took the stage the theatre was filled with encouragement, excitement, laughter and ongoing applause. The pairs had been training in the months leading up to the event to perfect a variety of dance styles, including Jazz, Ballet, Salsa and more. We would like to thank both the local heroes and their dance partners for their dedication during these months, and the energy they brought on the night.

For these events to take place, we rely on the support of our dedicated committee and volunteers. A big ‘thank you’ to the committee members who put in the time and effort to deliver such a heart-felt event, and to our volunteers on the night, who greeted participants with a welcoming smile, and ensured the event flowed smoothly from start to finish.

Overall, the hard work from all involved, and the inspiring support from those who donated leading up to and on the night of the event, has contributed greatly in the fight against cancer.

Winners and Categories

Judges’ Choice

  • Winner – Ed Fernon and Stephanie Edmonds
  • Runner up – Clair Dickson and Charles Bartley

Highest Fundraiser

  • Winner – Gail Giles-Gidney $18,127
  • Runner Up – Paula Macleod $13,233

People’s Choice (most funds raised on the night)

  • Winner – Gail Giles-Gidney and Dean Vince $3,529
  • Runner Up – Matt Kean MP and Sophia Anicic $2,535


Meet Mara O’Toole

Mara O'TooleVolunteer Role:  Events and Fundraising Intern

What does your volunteer work involve?

“I work alongside Rashmi Naran, who is a Metro Sydney Community Relations Coordinator.

“Her projects include the Sutherland Shire Relay For Life, and several other beneficiary running events. I assist her with general admin, communications with sponsors, committee members and team captains, sourcing prizes, and lots of other tasks both in the office and out.

Why did you choose to volunteer at Cancer Council NSW?

“I had been looking for an internship in Events for some time, and when I found the opportunity to apply with a charity, in a position that involves actively giving back to the community, I jumped!

“I lost a close friend to cancer last year, so being able to honour her memory whilst learning new skills was a no-brainer.”

Your background (Personal/professional)

“My employment background is in retail, customer service, sales and account management, but I’ve spent most of the last decade studying, covering Architecture, French, Sociology and Teaching.

“I am currently studying my final year of a Music degree at the Australian Institute of Music. I’ve been performing as a singer for the past few years, and I also volunteer at, and help to organize, “Girls Rock!” programs around the country, which are five-day camps aimed at empowering girls between the ages of 10 and 17 through music.”

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

My favourite thing about volunteering with Cancer Council NSW is working within a team of vibrant, committed and caring women.

“The Community Engagement & Program Delivery (CEPD) team is so positive and supportive, actively boosting one another up, and celebrating each other’s achievements, so it’s a great environment to spend my time in.

“I also remember what someone said on my first day – ‘that the work we do as volunteers saves the organisation wages’. That’s really stuck with me, and I’m glad to have been able to help with getting things done to help an event work successfully.”

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

“It’s going to sound boring to most people, but I’ve helped Rashmi with a few spreadsheets and tracking documents that seem to have really helped with project overview. I love Excel, so seeing these used in action is just awesome to me!

“The other most exciting thing was attending the Sutherland Shire Relay For Life, and seeing all of the Events team’s hard work paying off, as people moved around the track with giant smiles from ear to ear.”

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

“Absolutely! Even the most basic admin task feels like it’s contributing to a much bigger picture.”

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

“Definitely. My original goal for interning was to learn career skills, but I’ve learned so much more about community spirit and generosity, which is incredibly rewarding.

“Seeing everything come to fruition with the Shire Relay – and the amount of funds that were raised for cancer research and support! – was the best reward possible.

“On another note, receiving tickets for ‘We Will Rock You!’ in Volunteer Week was a physical reward that was a whole bunch of fun! (Thank you!!)”

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

“I talk frequently about how lucky I am to be interning with a community organization, in such a positive and supportive atmosphere. When I first started I bragged about the Woolloomooloo building (it’s awesome!), but now it’s more about the work that’s done here, the real impact on people’s lives, and how great it feels to be a part of it all.”

What do you do when not at Cancer Council NSW?

“I work in a camera store, study singing at uni, and organise Girls Rock! Camps with friends from around the country (currently we’re planning Brisbane for September and Sydney for April ’17).

“I also write and play music, organise fundraiser gigs, and spend any leftover time partying with my friends, going on adventures to explore Sydney, or practising my French.“

Can you tell of something you are passionate about?

“The Girls Rock! Program is my most passionate endeavour; it’s the program I wish had been around when I was 14!”

“My time at Cancer Council NSW has been so great as it’s allowed me to learn so much about the potential for the Rock Camps, and how to manage them in the best way, so that I can share my love of music with as many young women as possible.”


Northern NSW


Pink Ribbon Gala Ball


To cap off Pink celebrations for 2016 in Tamworth, Pink supporters were treated to a gala evening at the second annual Pink Ribbon Gala ball.

The event saw 90 supporters gather for an evening of fine food, entertainment, and some questionable dance moves to some great music, all to support the Pink Ribbon cause.

The event was hosted by local Real Estate agent and Cancer Council supporter Doug Selems, with guest speaker Dr Jenny May talking about the future of rural medicine and the advancements and impacts of technology on reaching and treating rural cancer patients.


Tamworth Relay for Life Launch

The end of 2016 was a busy time for the Tamworth Relay for Life committee as they launched the 2017 Tamworth Relay for Life with a family fun day at Bicentennial Park.

The fun day included market stalls, jumping castle, a sausage sizzle, demonstrations by the Tamworth fire service, and performances by a variety of local singers and the Tamworth Pipe band.

The Tamworth Relay for Life committee raised just over $1,000 from the event to go toward the Tamworth Relay, and assisted teams and survivors and carers with their relay registrations.





Winner winner, chicken dinner!

best dressed

Northern NSW was all smiles after winning ‘BEST DRESSED’ at the Community Engagement & Program Delivery Christmas party.

The theme was “Jungle rumble”, and our team really took safari to the next level. There were blow up animals, life size safari vehicles, a lion onesie, and too many binoculars to count.

The best part about it, our great team from Byron, Coffs and Tamworth offices managed to pull off a synchronised look, even though everything was organised via Skype. It was quite symbolic of our region, distance always providing its challenges, but the team always managing to make it work!

It was really great to catch up with our regional counterparts too. It’s always a pleasure and we’re looking forward to next year already (where we are in it to win it once again… nothing wrong with a little healthy competition?)


Pink Ribbon Day

pink ribbon day

Breast and gynaecological cancers can have a profound impact on the lives of patients as well as their family and friends.

It is due to the overwhelming support of Northern NSW throughout Pink Ribbon month that those affected by cancer are supported at every stage of the cancer journey. This is especially important given that across Northern NSW it is predicted that in 2016, 2551 people will have been diagnosed with cancer.

Pink Ribbon Day, held on Friday 21 October, raised over a massive $40,000 across Northern NSW, with both small and large communities involved.

We can’t thank people enough for their donations on the day and to our team leaders who gave their time and energy to this wonderful cause (this year and every other year)! Funds are incredibly meaningful to those affected by cancer, supporting local projects such as Transport to Treatment, as well as accommodation facilities like Inala House in Tamworth, Our House in Lismore, and Shearwater Lodge in Port Macquarie, which each provide a home away from home for patients and their families accessing treatment remotely.

This campaign was one of our best yet, and it was a great way to finish up the Pink Ribbon Day era.

In 2017 most team Leaders will be transitioning from Pink Ribbon Day to Pink EVENTS, so it’s not goodbye, just Pink in a new and exciting format!

It has been a pleasure to be involved with such passionate volunteers and we’re looking forward to seeing PINK grow and grow!

pink ribbon day strip


Iluka Girls’ Night In

iluka gni six packIluka resident Jo Kempshall and her sister Tina Webster from Woombah turned the small community pink in October for their second ‘Girls Night In’ event held at the Iluka Bowling Club!

Organiser Jo Kempshall said she organised the event last year with her sister Tina as a celebration of Tina completing her chemo treatment for breast cancer.

The ladies raised a staggering $8,156 this year to help beat women’s cancers and they already have people asking about next year’s event.

On the night, the costumes were wild, pink, and fun and included minions, superheroes, clowns, nuns, jellyfish, butterflies and the “boob busters” bus!

“We want to continue to help with the research of women’s cancers as it is a very important cause and very personal to most of us,” said Ms Kempshall.


The Flaming Marshmallows are on fire for Relay 2017!

flaming marshmallows

Anna Nicholls and her Relay Team ‘The Flaming Marshmallows’ have kick-started their fundraising efforts for the upcoming Tweed Valley Relay For Life.

Having experienced the impact of cancer herself and within her family, Anna sought the help of friends to ensure there is ongoing research and support available for people undergoing a cancer diagnosis and treatment.

“My father died of a brain tumour in 1998 when I was 23. During this time I engaged with some amazing individuals who enabled me to process things with patience and understanding. I want to do something that will help individuals and their families deal with this awful disease,” said Anna.

“For me to be able to do something so small, to give my time is the least I can do in support of the Cancer Council NSW,” explains Anna.

“This year we are busy organising bigger and better fundraising initiatives for Tweed Valley Relay For Life, like pie drives, and selling baked food, raffle tickets and goodies. We are also holding a ‘High Tea’ and an ’80’s Disco’ in the coming months,” said Anna.

Anna is an amazing advocate for Cancer Council NSW, and has now joined the Tweed RFL Committee as the Team Recruitment Coordinator.

When people ask her about what to do at Relay she simply says, “Have fun with it, raise funds doing things you enjoy with people you enjoy spending time with. Your fundraising doesn’t have to be something huge, whatever you feel comfortable with.”


Inala House has been rebloomed

inala house rebloomed

Steph from Rebloom Flower Recyclers paid the guests and volunteers at Inala House a visit recently and surprised them all with bunches and bunches of beautiful flowers.

Steph has recently started up a new concept where she is donated flowers after weddings and events and then painstakingly deconstructs the arrangements so that she can make them up into bunches to redeliver to nursing homes, hospitals and places like Inala House.

This is something that takes many hours of Steph’s and her mother’s time. but they do it just to see the smiles on peoples’ faces.

If you would like to know more about this wonderful concept please visit their facebook page

And to show how much Steph is appreciated she was recently nominated as a local hero and was showcased on Prime news


Moree Relay for Life

moree rfl small3

October 15 and 16 saw around 220 people converge on Moree showground for their biennial relay.

The event was small but mighty, raising around $13,000 for Cancer Council NSW.

The event had a great atmosphere with lots of activities going on throughout the night. It started with a balloon release and finished with a ‘colour throw/lap’ so it was lots of fun too.

moree rfl small1

We set up a mission tent on each side of the track and included health checks with Healthwise New England Northwest, information from Breastscreen, an Eat it to Beat it Healthy lunch box session, and a skin camera that got a workout throughout the afternoon.

We took the opportunity to talk to people about the ‘I care for palliative care’ campaign, and a giant colouring-in also ensured everyone (big kids and little kids alike!) were able to release their inner artist and practice a little mindfulness!

moree rfl small2


Bingara Pink Breakfast

bingara breakfast1

Now in its 9th year, the annual Bingara Pink Breakfast this year saw Bingara school jump on board to host the event, along with Bingara MPS who help organise it each year.

Despite the 6:30am start, it was again a wonderful community event. Next year being its 10th year will be the biggest yet, with plans of inviting one of the breakfast shows on board to film there for the morning!

bingara breakfast2

So far Bingara Pink Breakfast has raised over $30,000!


Warialda breast cancer awareness day

warialda breast awareness

The small town of Warialda in the Northwest of NSW (between Moree and Inverell) has a population of just over 1000, but they always put a big presence forward at any community event.

The annual Breast Cancer Awareness Day, run in October each year and organised by Healthwise, saw around 50 ladies spend the day hearing from speakers including Cancer Council NSW, McGrath, the local dietician, and the local women’s health nurse.

The bowling club was done up in pink (as were the ladies!) and they provided a lovely morning tea and lunch. Attendees provided lots of great feedback and were so grateful of Cancer Council NSW and the work we do!


Guests showing their appreciation for Inala House

guests at inalaAt Inala House we often have guests and their carers wanting to show their appreciation for the wonderful facility by either making a monetary donation or by buying something for the house.

Recently one of the guests who loves to make things presented us with a beautiful fruit bowl/tray to have out in the kitchen/dining room area.

Denis used two different types of wood to make the bowl/tray and it has already become a conversation starter with the other guests.


Michelle Percival raises $24,000 for Stars of Hastings

michele percivalPort Macquarie real estate agent and cancer survivor, Michelle Percival has raised an incredible $24,000 for Stars of Hastings.

“I’m proud to be supporting such a progressive organisation who are really looking at the big picture through funding world class research and providing support programs for patients at a local level” Michelle commented.

Michelle was able to raise such an impressive total by pledging $500 from each house sale her agency, Percival Property, made from September through to November and will get a chance to strut her stuff during her cha cha routine on 25 November with dance partner Joris Meertens.

Michelle has been training three times per week with her instructor and is determined to take out the Judges Choice award too!


It’s All About Palliative Care

all about palliative

Tim Chapman and Rosslyn Dreise from Forster Hospice

Attending the I Care About Palliative Care launch has set the wheels in motion for change and the Lower Mid North Coast is winding up and prepared.

November has been all about building our Palliative care networks. Cancer Council LMNC has networked with Manning Valley Push for Palliative, Great Lakes Hospice, Mayo Private Hospital Taree, Palliative Care Nurses, Port Macquarie and Taree Palliative Care Medical Professionals, Dying to Know Palliative Expo and finally volunteers and members of the public. Palliative care in the LMNC is alive and is becoming a topic we’re willing to discuss.

I recently participated in a Foster Hospice ‘Dying to Know about Palliative Care’ seminar, with medical professionals, NSW ambulance, palliative care nurses, and solicitors. A wide range of topics were covered, including ‘End of Life’ documents & Wills, Ambulance transport, Palliative care in hospitals, and of cause Cancer Councils I care for Palliative Care. it’s great to see people passionate about Palliative Care and it’s a privilege to be advocating for not just the issue of Palliative Care but for the people working within.

In the coming weeks stay tuned for an active Palliative Care Advocacy plan in the Lower Mid North Coast. We’ll be looking for your pledge and stories (positive and challenging).


Billabong Club house completes Tackling Tobacco

billabong house


Billabong Clubhouse in Tamworth recently completed their Tackling Tobacco project with great success. The small community funded house for people with mental illness is in general a great community success story, getting involved in many community events, fundraising and they always have their front yard beautifully decorated with handmade decorations in line with their monthly focus, be it Pink, Daffodil Day or Women’s Heart health.

The house has around 20 active members but can have anywhere upwards of 100 on their books at any one time.

For their Tackling Tobacco project they held weekly group intervention sessions, improved their signage, and had a great system set up providing Nicotine Replacement Therapy to members. One member said ‘I noticed many health benefits from quitting including more energy, less coughing, I can breathe easier and my food tastes better. The program was excellent and very supportive, I felt very motivated to quit’.

Well done to all the members who managed to either cut down or quit altogether!


Pink Ribbon Day Launch at ‘Our House’

tamworth launch pink stripThe Northern Rivers launched Pink Ribbon on 5th October in Lismore with a morning tea at ‘Our House’, the local cancer patient accommodation facility.

Guests included cancer patients and their families staying at ‘Our House’, VIP Pink Ribbon hosts, the Lismore and District Breast Cancer Support Group, Cancer Council Information Centre volunteers, officer volunteers and ‘Our House’ Staff.

The pink carpet was literally rolled out for the occasion and guests were treated to a high tea. The morning tea was a way to recognise our VIP hosts, Pink Ribbon Day Team Leaders, volunteers and stakeholders in the region while launching pink in the northern rivers region.

This event was held ahead of Pink Ribbon Day, Friday 21 October.

PINK MONTH came around so fast this year, and our amazing team leaders were more excited than ever! It was a wonderful day, with sites spanning much of the Region.

Pink Ribbon Day is such a beautiful reflection of the support we have in our communities, which is truly magic!


Local girl power helping to save lives!

local girl powerIn its 10th year, Kingscliff Girls Night In was held on Saturday 15th October. For its final year, Kim Telling along with twin daughters Taylor and Brittany and best friend Bronte Rowston, set out to once more make a difference to the lives of those impacted by cancer.

Throughout their time supporting Cancer Council NSW they have collectively raised over $92,000 and are aiming to reach $100,000 for the final year.

Money raised from Cancer Council NSW Girls Night In events help 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.


Stars of Coffs Coast Dance 2016

stars of coffsThe 7th Annual Stars of Coffs Coast Dance for Cancer was once again a show stopping night of nights when the ‘Stars’ shone after months of intense training from their many talented dance teachers. It was a live show packed with fun, energy and laughs, hosted by Natalie Bassingthwaighte and ‘Moffee’ from 2CSFM.

Each dance couple was a winner giving a stellar performance and helping to raise a $80,000. The judging panel made up of Jacqui Jarratt Barnett, Jason Winters (one of Australia’s top choreographers) and Coffs Harbour Mayor Denise Knight had a tough choice of selecting a winner but the dynamic power and intensity of the performance by Brendan Greatz from North Coast Power & Water and Sam Ross from Social Concepts, with their urban based, hip hop dance piece won them over to take out the Judge’s Choice Award.

David Bourke from Oosh dancing with Cathie Mackay from Pacific Dance Centre took out the People’s Choice Award with their very theatrical, vampire inspired ballroom segway. The Highest Fundraising Award went to Karen Hacking from C.ex Group who raised a whopping $17,927!! Karen looked beautiful as she danced Zouk with Chris Pemberton-Lewis from Coffs Latin Rhythms.


Paul Mecurio announced as guest Judge for Stars of Hastings

paul mercurioThe Stars of Hastings committee are thrilled to announce the involvement of Paul Mecurio as this year’s special guest judge.

Paul is kindly donating his time to travel to Port Macquarie for Stars of Hastings being held at Rydges Hotel on the 25th of November.

Of course, Paul Mecurio’s name is forever synonymous with ballroom dancing after his starring role in the smash hit Australian movie “Strictly Ballroom”. Paul’s journey with dance has been long after being inspired by Elvis Presley as a nine year old boy, his mother enrolled him into a local ballet school. He then went onto win a scholarship with the Sydney Dance Company before being cast as ‘Scott Hastings’ in the Baz Luhrmann directed epic “Strictly Ballroom” becoming a virtual overnight sensation.

“Having such a high profile judge certainly adds to the prestige of the event. We are really looking forward to Paul bringing his professionalism and knowledge on the night,” added Sarah Rogers, Community Relations Coordinator for the Lower Mid North Coast.


Local Programs on track

Congratulations to Gloucester & Buckets Way Neighbourhood Group on partnering once again with Cancer Council’s Transport to Treatment program, it’s great to have such a wonderful local community group supporting such a reliable program.

Foster and the Great Lakes area continues to develop it’s Cancer Council programs. The local Community Programs Coordinator Tim Chapman has spent time with the Foster Private Hospital discussing their needs and researching for areas to support cancer support areas.

“In October I had the pleasure of meeting with the Biripi Aboriginal Services group who have committed to reducing the incidents of smoking within their community. Partnerships such as this utilise the local contacts and Cancer Council resources to achieve a healthier community,” said Tim Chapman.


Tamworth Pink Month with Penny Bear

tamworth launch pinkTo celebrate the start of Pink Month this October Penny Bear paid a visit to the patients and staff at the North West Cancer Centre, and to the Volunteers at Inala House in Tamworth, giving out flowers and some well needed hugs.

Following our hospital visit Penny went for a walk down the main street of Tamworth handing out pink balloons to children, and Girls Night in registration and recipe cards to encourage Tamworth women to host a girl’s night in and think about women’s health during Pink October.



Eat It To Beat It Volunteer Spotlight: Wendy Beck

wendy beck“I joined the Eat It To Beat It Program at the start of this year as a Facilitator. This program focuses on the importance of fruit and vegetables, and the target audience is parents of primary school children. I have learned much, as this program is something that is important for good health in general, as well as for cancer prevention. I like the fact that these diet changes are do-able, and are something that can be easily fitted into daily life. I now count my own fruit and vegetables each day! As well, it can also be good for the budget.

“Talking to parents is an easy thing to do because they are always interested and indeed passionate about their children’s health.

“Living in the country means that we have fewer opportunities to get direct information about healthy diets in a face to face setting, so I like that aspect too.

“I am a retired university lecturer and I wanted to do something that would use my skills to help people. So giving talks in public is something I feel very comfortable with. I also have a personal debt to Cancer Council NSW as my first husband died of bowel cancer, but during that time he was able to draw on many services provided by the Cancer Council. I have also been a Community Speaker, talking to groups such as Rotary, about types of cancer and the work of Cancer Council in general.

“Eat It To Beat It is a voluntary activity that I find enjoyable and rewarding, and I look forward to doing more talks in the future.”

Wendy Beck, Armidale NSW


Cancer Council Information Centre Volunteers supporting Mid North Coast Cancer Institute

dorothy hayesSince the introduction of Cancer Council Information Service Volunteers in March 2016, on average each volunteer has had daily contact with 23 patients.

Whether it’s providing a listening ear, information on our range of services, or simply a cup of tea and a yarn, our eight amazing volunteers have become valued members of the Mid North Coast Cancer Institute team.

Dorothy Hays has volunteered on and off for Cancer Council NSW for over 15 years, and loves her role within the treatment centre.

With no designated Cancer Council NSW space, our volunteers are free to move throughout the entire facility, which has allowed for greater engagement with cancer patients and their carers.

Taree TAFE cook up a storm for Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea

taree tafe morning tea

A cold winter’s morning didn’t deter Taree TAFE students from cooking up a storm and raising money for Cancer Council’s Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea.

The campus hosted a ‘My Scones Rule’ competition, where students and teachers baked off against each other and sold a variety of scones.

Customer Care Assistant, Leone Hay, who organised the event, was pleased with the result and how engaged the students were.

“We believe it is for a very good cause as nearly everyone you know has a friend, relative or workmate who has been touched by cancer. The ‘My Scones Rule’ provided an excellent opportunity for us to support such a really worthy cause,” said Leone.

“We are extremely grateful for the commitment and fabulous support of the students and teachers who got behind the event, baking and selling some delicious scones. Also a big ‘thank you’ to the ladies from the Taree branch of the Country Women’s Association, who attended as judges of the baking competition.”

Sarah Rogers, Cancer Council NSW Community Relations Coordinator, representing the Lower Mid North Coast, attended the event partaking of some delicious delicacies on offer.

“We are thrilled that Taree TAFE continue to be highly engaged with fundraising for Cancer Council NSW,” said Sarah.


This Team of Drivers Keeps Giving

t to t picIf I can think of the ideal bunch of volunteers to work with, I can’t look past Cancer Council’s Transport to Treatment drivers in Port Macquarie. They average five trips a week, often travelling 50km+ a trip while transporting patients to their cancer treatment.

The work is tiresome but extremely rewarding, they’re at the front of our on the ground services.

Daily they manage time, patients, hospital deadlines; but often come out with a smile. This small group of volunteers greatly appreciate the difference they make, I hear them put their own needs in front of supporting patience on a regular basis.

The Transport to Treatment program could not operate without the involvement and care these dedicated drivers put in.

(Tim Chapman, Community Program Coordinator)


A wonderful community event

LowerClarenceRFLLaunchEvent-Hannah_094022The Lower Clarence Relay For Life Masked Ball was held on 7 May.

The Ball raised over $11,000 which is an amazing effort from the local community!

It was an absolute delight with such a great team of wonderful sponsors, supporters, volunteers and participants.

The money raised at the Masked Ball will go towards the 2017 Lower Clarence Relay For Life fundraising efforts.

The funds raised will go back into the local community to continue running vital services, including free transport to treatment, face to face support through the local Cancer Council Information Centre, and access to free or highly subsidised accommodation during and after treatment through the Our House facility.


Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, looking back

ABMT-3_093559We have wrapped up Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea across Northern NSW for 2016, and what a month May was!! With 1,306 registered events, you could say the Region went cake crazy!

After just two weeks Northern NSW VIP’s had banked $220,000, with 170 hosts still to bank. We can’t believe the generosity of the community and are ecstatic that the Biggest Morning Tea brand is still alive and strong across the Region’s communities.

We’ve had local schools hold bake days, community organisations like the Country Women’s Association and Rotary baking up a storm, big business holding morning teas in their lunch rooms, and everyday Australians putting on community events that raised anything between $400 & $15,000!

We held three Launch events across Northern – in partnership with St Vincent’s Hospital Lismore, Mayor Denise Knight in Coffs Harbour, and with the small community of Somerton just outside Tamworth.ABMT-2_093412

They were all equally beautiful to attend and reflected just how diverse our communities are.

We are already looking forward to next year’s campaign! Bring on the cake.


2016 and some events from our Region

grafton rfl 1

ABOUT 900 people in the Grafton region will be feeling pretty good about themselves after a weekend of fundraising in late March that netted cancer researchers close to $70,000.

Jabour Park, South Grafton, was home to this year’s Relay for Life and was a hive of activity throughout the annual NSW Cancer Council fundraising event.

Northern Rivers Cancer Council NSW community co-ordinator Hannah Brooks said about 900 people had participated in the overnight event, completing laps of the track throughout Saturday night.

“Provisionally we’ve raised about $70,000 so far, which is a fantastic effort,” she said.

“But we still have two weeks of fundraising to go.”

Ms Brooks praised the work of the Grafton Vintage Motor Vehicle Club which had opened up Jabour Park for the event.

“They set up the track beautifully and cleared the grounds to make it ready for us,” Ms Brooks said.

“It’s a lovely venue and I particularly like the outlook. It’s great to be able to look at a beautiful view, not just buildings and cars.”

As the tent city which had been home to hundreds of people overnight was coming down, there were still plenty of smiles.

Grafton’s Sharon Carter, who was helping dismantle a collapsible shade shelter, was among the participants who remained in good spirits.

“I probably look a mess. I only had a half-hour’s sleep last night,” she said.

“I have an uncle who’s just finished chemo so I was doing it for him.”

Story first appeared in The Daily Examiner here


Inverell RFL raises $49 thousand

inverellrfl_mainRelay For Life’s round-the-clock Inverell charity event on March 19-20 for the NSW Cancer Council raised $49,040, and the event looks set to evolve in future.

Though they did not meet the targeted amount, NSW Cancer Council New England community engagement co-ordinator Paul Hobson said the total was in line with the statewide trend.

“The actual income from Relays for Life are not yielding as much as they once did,” he said.

“But we’re now in the process in finding out why this is happening, and whether not the relay itself needs to change a little bit of a format as to how it goes forward, or whether or not we just need to put a little bit more work into making sure people know that it’s on and how they can contribute.”

Paul said at the Inverell May 25 wrap-up meeting, the committee, led by chairwoman Sharon Staader and secretary Heather Hinton, indicated they are ready to plan the next Relay for Life, tentatively set for March 16 and 17, 2018.

Nigel the Toilet, the loveable practical pleasantry which made its way around Inverell’s business houses, added about $1000 toward the total to aid patients and their families across the district.

Of the services funded by Cancer Council, Inverell’s local government area has accessed the resources of Tamworth’s North West Cancer Centre’s Inala House accommodation at the highest rate in the region.

“In 2015, Cancer Council NSW managed accommodation facility provided over $21,600 worth of free accommodation to the 92 cancer patients and carers from Inverell who spent 399 nights in Inala House,” Paul said.

“People who are having radiotherapy, often have to stay between six and eight weeks, in Tamworth.”

The twin-share units offer amenities and television, as well as free-breakfast, and shared kitchen, community television, activities and games.

“They find they enjoy that community aspect of bonding with the other people that are staying there as well,” Paul said.

original Article and photo by Michèle Jedlicka at The Inverell Times


How targeted exercise can help fight cancer

exerciseandcancer_smallBy the time you hit midlife, odds are you or someone close to you will be touched by cancer. Cancer remains a potentially lethal lottery and everyone’s experience is different.

But appropriate exercise under professional supervision – before, during, or after treatment – seems to substantially improve your odds.

ABC television’s health program Catalyst met a group of cancer patients experiencing extraordinary benefits from prescribed targeted exercise programs.


UK researchers take big step forward in understanding breast cancer

The largest-ever study to sequence the whole genomes of breast cancers has uncovered five new genes associated with the disease and 13 new mutational signatures that influence tumour development. The results of two papers published in Nature and Nature Communications also reveal what genetic variations exist in breast cancers and where they occur in the genome.

Dr Serena Nik-Zainal of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute led analysis of 560 breast cancer genomes; 556 from women and four from men. This international collaboration included breast cancer patients from around the world, including the USA, Europe and Asia.

The results reveal more about the causes of breast tumours and provide evidence that breast cancer genomes are highly individual.

Read more here.



Southern NSW


Connecting Communities Volunteer Expo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


End of year celebration dinner.

End of year celebration dinner.

I Care for Palliative Care in the Shoalhaven

Volunteer, Matthew Lloyd.

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

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

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

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

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


Christmas at Shoalhaven Cancer Information Service!

Christmas stall.

Christmas stall bursting with donated items.

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

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

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

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


Relay For life is coming to Narooma!

Eurobodalla RFL Committee.

Narooma Relay For life Committee Members.

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


The 14th Great Ocean Pool Crawl

9. Ocean Crawl

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

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


Spreading the fruit and veg word across Southern


Eat it To Beat It volunteer, Amanda.

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

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


Out to Bat with a Hat

cricket kids

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

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


Volunteer Updates

vol updates

Finance Assistant Volunteers, Alex Batchelor & Victor Moratinos

Volunteer on boarding!

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

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


Pink Ribbon Day Success!

pink ribbon day success

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

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

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

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


Kiama Relay For Life

kiama RFL

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

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

Thank you, Kiama!


Shoalhaven Nowra Relay for Life Launch

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

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

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


Goulburn Relay For Life

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

goulburn RFL small 2.jpg

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

goulburn RFL small 1

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

goulburn RFL small 3

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


Pink Events in the Southern Region

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

pink pair

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


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

we love the t-shirts

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

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

pink events in southern


Corrimal Rotary – Wollongong Relay For Life

corimal rotary

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

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


Thales Skin Presentation

thales skin presentation

Kate Brett travelled to Eden to deliver a presentation on safe sun behaviour to Thales NSW.

Thales in Australia is part of a leading international electronics and systems group serving the defence, aerospace and space, security, and transport markets in Australia and throughout the world. They have 16 staff members based in Eden, Far South Coast NSW just a few kilometres from the Victorian border. They specialise in explosives and working with defence on the harbour in Twofold Bay.

As part of their organisation wide ‘Health Week’ Kate was invited by the managers, Shayne Connaughton and Greg Stroud, to talk to the staff about staying safe in the sun. All of the staff members are outside for long periods of time, in peak UV periods on bright concrete with no shade. All the attendees were aware of staying safe in the sun at work by wearing long sleeves, wide brimmed hats, sun cream and sunglasses. However as the presentation and discussions continued it was a common theme that at the weekend with their families they pay less attention to protecting themselves while in the sun. They all admitted to knowing how to protect themselves and reduce their cancer risk however this was harder to do outside of work. The presentation led into a really interesting and useful discussion for everyone about how best to change their behaviours outside of work.

It was a great opportunity for Cancer Council to explain the support given to the community thanks to funds raised within the community. The presentation was well received and gave Kate an opportunity to promote Cancer Council and in particular Sun Sound which is being delivered in the Bega Valley area for the second year in a row and in particular at Eden outside pool.

It was also a great opportunity for Kate to put herself in the shoes of Cancer Council’s wonderful community speakers and experience the way in which they have a positive impact on the community.

Our nutrition team would have been thrilled to see the vast selection of fruit available to the staff during the presentation in place of less healthy options. Greg was extremely grateful to Cancer Council for taking the time to visit their workplace. Well done, Kate!


Eat It To Beat It

eat it to beat it

Our fantastic Eat It To Beat It volunteers have been busy bees out in the community this month.

They had run 25 Healthy Lunchbox sessions reaching 448 kindy parents when we were only half way through!

They also headed along to Kiama and Goulburn Relay for Life supporting the Health Hub and getting families to think about fun ways to include more fruit and veg each day.


Planning for Change

planning for change

Some fantastic members of the Illawarra, Goulburn and Southern Highlands advocacy communities made their way up to Sydney recently to learn about the upcoming Palliative care campaign.

An inspirational few days indeed! The group agreed that the combination of guest speakers, stories, interactive modules and activities made for one of the best conferences they had been to and have come back to the community ready for change!


Tackling Tobacco

tackling tobaccoNew to the Tackling Tobacco program this year, the Southern Highlands Community Centre have already made great progress in developing new tools and resources to provide Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to their clients.

Suzi Kenney is working tirelessly to imbed changes through the development of a smoking policy for the organisation.


General and Practical Support (GAPS)

general and practical support

It’s been a busy month for the Southern Highlands General and Practical Support Drivers, travelling almost 2,500km’s and volunteering 88 hours. We have recently had some great media coverage – an article a week promoting the service.

We have 7 new recruits who are keen to get involved with Cancer Council NSW. Training will be held early December.

Pictured, GAPS Driver, Judith Brookes


Southern Highlands Men’s Health Month – WHAM

Local medical specialists have presented their thoughts on enhancing the health of men in the Southern Highlands during the month of November.

Joan Harrison, GAPS Volunteer Coordinator, has attended some of these meetings to talk about the GAPS service and the need for drivers, especially men.


Goulburn Relay For Life Health Hub


southern highlands men's support

This year’s Goulburn Relay For Life ran an interactive Health Hub which showcased and supported the Cancer Council’s 1 in 3 Cancers Campaign as well as local businesses that support the Cancer Council’s key messages.

Participant feedback included: “Learning good, helpful information from all stations. Thank you!’ and the most popular take home messages were around sun-safe behaviour “Sally said no sunbaking”, “wear sunglasses” and to “re-apply sun cream”.


Shoalhaven Cancer Care Centre (SCCC)

shoalhaven cancer care centreA large wall graphic has been installed in the SCCC Patient Accommodation Centre located in Nowra.

The graphic was installed as part of the partnership agreement between the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District and Cancer Council NSW to recognise the substantial contribution CCNSW puts towards the management of the centre and the associated support services.

The graphic reflects the services offered by 13 11 20 and acts as a reminder to patients that we are here to help.

shoalhaven cancer care centre extFollowing the overwhelming success of the ‘Daffodil bombing’, the Shoalhaven Cancer Care Centre volunteers decided to re-decorate the centre with pink flowers for the month of October – raising awareness for women’s cancers, concluding with hosting a Pink Ribbon Day Stall.



We have been fortunate to welcome two new volunteers to the Wollongong office in the last couple of weeks. Grace Norton joined to support Terry Deegan and Emma White on project planning and marketing for the autumn Relay for Life season, and Victor Rene Moratinos Marrero joined as the new Finance Assistant Volunteer.



ruby walsh

Ruby Walsh, Health Promotion Volunteer

Ruby started with Cancer Council in November 2015 where she provided support with Tobacco Audits, Sun Sound Audits, Southern Highlands Relay For Life, Daffodil Day and more recently conducted a Needs Assessment for Goulburn around Transport To Treatment. It was very fulfilling experience preparing Ruby for the workforce and we wish her all the best!

Alex Batchelor and Victor Moratinos

Alex Batchelor and Victor Moratinos

Alex Batchelor – Finance Assistant

We will soon bid farewell to our current Finance Assistant Volunteer, Alex Batchelor, who will be taking up a graduate position in the New Year with KPMG in Sydney. Alex has been an asset to the Southern team for the last 12 months and we wish him well in the next step of his career!

Ainsley – Events Assistant

ainsleySadly, all too recently was Ainsley’s last day in our Southern Office.

Anisley volunteered for over a year with us, working across Shoalhaven Nowra and Kiama Relay for Life.

She was a general wiz in the office and a great asset to our team. She will be missed and we wish her luck on her future endeavours.

A few words from Ainsley about her time with Cancer Council.

“What I loved about volunteering with Cancer Council was that I was part of something bigger. Everyone was working towards a common goal, no matter what they were doing. Each week was different, and every person you talk to has a story. I loved the sense of community and knowing that I was making a difference in my own small way.”

Southern Staff Updates

phoebeWelcome, Phoebe Collins – Regional Administrator

Phoebe joined the Southern team as a volunteer in March working on Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, building great relationships with community supporters and hosts. She continued on doing amazing work with Daffodil Day and Pink Ribbon Day. We were quick to snap her up and bring her on board as Southern’s new Regional Administrator in the midst of our Spring Relay season.

What are you looking to gain from working with Cancer Council NSW?

“I am looking forward to connecting with my local community in a new way. I hope to meet lots of new faces and speak with inspiring individuals within the Southern Region.”

What has been a highlight so far at Cancer Council NSW?

“In my short time as an RA, the highlight so far would be the Community Engagement and Program Delivery forum. The forum was a great experience to get to know everyone in the Southern team a little better. Although we didn’t win ‘best dressed’, I was impressed by the teamwork and dedication of the whole team to our survivor costume.

Quirky fun fact:

“Last year I wanted to compete in a local mini-triathlon held in Wollongong, so at the age of 24 I finally learnt how to ride a bike and came 13th on the day!”


Welcome, Emma White – Manager, Community Engagement (Southern NSW) and Volunteer Unit

Emma WhiteEmma has joined the Southern Team (3 days) until March 2017 while Terry Deegan is on secondment in Sydney, assisting the new Campaigns Unit – Community team.

Emma will manage the South Coast, South West & Southern Highlands Communities, and roll out Shoalhaven Nowra Relay For Life.

Emma will also maintain her current role as Volunteer Unit Manager during this time.


Southern Region covered in a sea of PINK

AlbionPark PRD

Albion Park, Pink Ribbon Day

Thank you to all the volunteers who united in pink with us on October 21 for Pink Ribbon Day.

We had 29 sites booked across the Southern region, selling pink merchandise including bears, balls, travel tags, pens, bangles, keyrings and pins. So far funds raised have almost reached $17,000, with more still to be banked!

Wollongong Mall PRD

Wollongong Mall, Pink Ribbon Day

Your contribution has been a significant difference to the estimated 17,500 Australian women diagnosed with breast or gynaecological cancer each year in Australia.

Shellharbour Stockland PRD

Shellharbour Stockland, Pink Ribbon Day

Nowra Stockland PRD

Nowra Stockland, Pink Ribbon Day

Two relays, one weekend!

Goulburn RFL Photo 1

Goulburn Relay stylish visitors

Both the Kiama and Goulburn Relay For Life events took place over the weekend of October 22 and 23.

With almost $60,000 raised so far for the Goulburn event, we are on track to reaching our target of $70,000. We had 36 teams with a total of 422 participants on the day.  

Kiama Relay before the wind struck

Kiama Relay before the wind struck

Unfortunately the wind blew us away at the Kiama event and we had to close the Relay earlier than anticipated. We managed to fundraise over $46,000, and that number is still growing. The windy weather didn’t deter the 252 participants that showed up for Relay.

Thank you to all the volunteer committee members and everyone who was involved with organising the events, those who participated, or showed their support and braved the cold to help out on the day.

Kiama RFL Jack O'Grady Team Photo

Kiama RFL, Jack O’Grady Team.

A special shout out to our top fundraising teams in Goulburn; Committee Fundraising who raised $8186 and the Plungers who raised $5471, and in Kiama; The Minnamurra Mates who raised $6968 and The Real Fight-Ers raising $5710.

The Southern office has some new interns!

“Welcome” to the Southern Region’s new office volunteers, Megan, who will be taking on the role of Sun Sound Campaign Coordinator, and Kerry, our new Wednesday Receptionist.

Our new interns bring a vast range of experiences to their volunteer role and we’re very excited and grateful to welcome them to our team!


Volunteer Profile

Paige Hodson EI2BIEat It To Beat It Facilitator, Paige Hodson, travels to schools in the Illawarra and down the Far South Coast to deliver Healthy Lunchbox Sessions to parents at kindergarten orientation days.

“Generally, these sessions involve an interactive presentation about why it’s important to include fruit and vegies in their child’s lunchbox and gives some handy hints on how to do so,” she explains.

Paige has always tried to participate in Cancer Council fundraising events, but this year decided she wanted to take her involvement one step further. Paige started looking for opportunities that she could relate to and believed in, and she got really excited when she saw Eat It To Beat It needed volunteers!

Paige enjoys meeting new people and says everyone she has met so far is “really friendly and makes you feel a part of a big project.”

“Before I visit a school I get really nervous about stuffing up and embarrassing myself, but every time I leave I feel great and like I definitely helped at least one family in that room understand how they can improve their eating habits.”


Stars of Bega Valley Dance for Cancer


Jess Ryan and Guye Richerds.

On July 1, at Club Sapphire, Merimbula, eight Bega Valley stars and their professional dancing partners took to the floor to raise money for Cancer Council NSW at the inaugural Stars of Bega Valley, Dance for Cancer.

A selection of dances were performed and judged by community figures, Greg Whitby, Jenny Groch and Geoff Willis. All the dancers looked fabulous, having been dressed by Robyn Whitby from Bus Stop Costumes, Pambula.

Mal Barnes and Kerry Lewis.

Mal Barnes and Kerry Lewis.

The dances ranged from Hip hop and Rock n Roll to Flamenco and a theatre performance dance. The auditorium at Club Sapphire was filled to capacity and full of laughter and excitement. Guests enjoyed a three course meal and entertainment from the wonderful King Kong’s Hat. A huge thank you to Chris Miller from 2EC radio who was MC on the night allowing the evening to flow seamlessly.

Glenn Cotter, Amber Little and Geordi Norton.

Glenn Cotter, Amber Little and Geordi Norton.

There were prizes to be won for Best Costume, Judges’ Choice, Peoples’ Choice and Highest Fundraiser and the lovely Jacqui Smith walked away with all 4 prizes! Well done Jacqui!

All the Stars and their dancers did an amazing job and the Southern Team would like to thank everyone involved for their dedication, commitment and enthusiasm which made the night such a huge success. A huge ‘thank you’ also to the guests attending for digging deep and raising almost $15,000.

Winner: Jacqui Smith, Ray McGovern and MC, Chris Miller.

Winner: Jacqui Smith, Ray McGovern and MC, Chris Miller.

Feedback from the community has been amazingly positive and the responses to the ‘Expression of Interest’ forms left on each table, looks like 2017’s event is set to be even better!

Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea

ABMT pic

Judith Warner (centre), and volunteers

Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea has seen another very successful year in Southern NSW. This year saw many new hosts across our region as well as some big increases in fundraising for many long-standing events.

This year our longest standing morning tea event celebrated their 21st Year. The Warner Family began hosting their event in memory of their six-year-old daughter who lost her battle to cancer 22 years ago, as a way to give back and assist with ongoing cancer research. This year over 200 people attended the Burrawang School of Arts Morning Tea, raising $13,875 so far, their biggest year yet.

ABMT pic2In total over the last 21 years, the Warner Family have raised $104,335 for Cancer Council NSW. 


Illawarra Community Cancer Service Directory

July saw the launch of the updated Illawarra Community Cancer Service Directory. This print resource connects local patients with grass root services, ranging from treatment centres, transport options and specialised services right through to support groups and life after cancer.

cancer directory picThe iCAN group, Community Program Coordinator Emma Swords, and some fantastic University Of Wollongong students were behind the update, very pleased to have the hard copy in their hands.

This resource will help patients navigate services throughout the course of their cancer journey and increase access to information and support in a timely manner. The directory will be distributed throughout the Illawarra, Shellharbour and Kiama over the next month.


Southern Highlands Patient Transport Bus

patient bus picOur Patient Transport Bus has travelled over 45,000kms (15/16 financial year) transporting 1,191 passengers to Macarthur Hospital, five days a week for radiation therapy. The local community were very appreciative of the service Cancer Council NSW provides saying;

“This is an excellent community service at a time when you need it most, thank you”, and “Wonderful service, dedicated and sociable drivers. I would have no hesitation in recommending this service to those that may need it.”

Thanks to our wonderful team of volunteer drivers who have committed over 1,000 hours of their time to help their community.

Southern Highlands General and Practical Support

Our General and Practical Support (GAPS) have travelled over 29,000kms (15/16FY) transporting 427 passengers to and from doctor’s appointment and chemotherapy treatments around the Southern Highlands.

The GAPS program also provided 29 home help services to cancer patients in need. Our trained GAPS volunteers have accumulated over 1,400 hours between them which demonstrates their commitment to helping others.


Shoalhaven Cancer Care Centre

cancer care centre picShoalhaven Cancer Care Centre recently held a promotion day for Bowel Cancer Awareness. Red apples, donated by the Nowra Farmer’s Market, were given away to all patients and carers attending the Centre.

The day was a huge success with a combination of Bowel Cancer Support group members, Information Centre Volunteers and health staff involved.


Clare takes our new Online Learning platform for a spin, and loves it!

Clare_trainingWe are very excited to now be able to offer new and improved methods of training volunteers. is an online training platform that hosts thousands of various training courses from how to become a whizz at Microsoft Outlook to Leadership & Marketing training.

Clare, our long standing Tuesday reception volunteer from the Wollongong office, recently completed a training module in Skype for Business and loved it. Clare found it easy to use, and the content is delivered in a very user friendly way. One of the best things about this new training is that it can be accessed anywhere at anytime, so you don’t need to be in a Cancer Council office to complete a course – it is available to all volunteers in all regions.  

If you would like to explore your training options, fine–tune your skills, or take on a leadership or marketing course, then please get in contact with Leah Roodenrys – Volunteering and Partnerships Coordinator on PH:  4223 0225 or email:

This training is open to all Cancer Council NSW volunteers, and we would love to hear from you to connect you to suitable training that will not only support you in your volunteer role, but will also support you in your career and home life.  

Welcome to Amanda and Nicola, Southern Region’ new Wednesday and Friday Wollongong Reception Volunteers

Nicola Acworth

Nicola Acworth

You may hear some new friendly voices if you call the Wollongong office on a Wednesday or Friday, as Amanda and Nicola have started in their new roles as volunteer receptionists.

Amanda Mansell

Amanda Mansell

Both Amanda and Nicola bring a vast range of experiences to their volunteer role, and we are both excited and very grateful to have them as new members of our team.

Congratulations, Milica!

Milica ErakA message from Milica Erak,  a Cancer Council NSW volunteer who has recently been successful in gaining a great job in her chosen field

“Over the past five months I have had an amazing experience volunteering for such an amazing organisation. I have learnt a lot about the Human Resources (HR) discipline, and have gained an invaluable experience which has helped me progress and achieve my goals.

“I also had the chance to meet other volunteers and to work alongside a wonderful group of people who were always friendly and supportive. I am now moving onto a new HR and Marketing Internship with a recruitment company in Sydney.

“I would never have been able to achieve this without the experience, knowledge and confidence I have gained during my time at Cancer Council NSW. I would encourage anyone who has the time to volunteer to support a wonderful organisation.”

Previous months’ news

National Volunteer Week

Shoalhaven National Volunteer Week

Shoalhaven National Volunteer Week attendees.

National Volunteer Week was a great opportunity for us to reflect on the enormous contribution our volunteers make each and every day in their communities.  In the Southern Region alone, 365 volunteers have contributed to over 11,000 hours in the past year to help beat cancer.

We hosted four events throughout the Southern Region for National Volunteer Week in the Eurobodalla, Southern Highlands, Shoalhaven and the Illawarra.  At the events we reflected on the incredible impact our volunteers have in the community in both program delivery and fundraising. We really do have an inspiring bunch of community members who support the work we do.

Each event was a little different throughout the region – the Eurobodalla Event was held at Moruya Golf Club, the Southern Highland’s event was hosted at the Country Women’s Association, Shoalhaven’s event was held in the accommodation facility, and Illawarra’s event was hosted at the Science Centre where volunteers, after an afternoon tea provide by the Country Women’s Association, were treated to a liquid nitrogen science show.

Eurobodalla National Volunteers Week participants.

Eurobodalla National Volunteers Week participants.


Illawarra Science Centre attendees.

Meet Ruby Walsh

Ruby WalshRuby volunteers for Cancer Council NSW in health promotion support.

As a Health Promotion volunteer, Ruby supports Cancer Council NSW in the Southern Region through program implementation and promotion at a local level.

She is involved in rolling out prevention and support programs across the Goulburn, Queanbeyan, Yass and Southern Highlands areas.

Some of the programs Ruby has been involved in are Sun Sound, Tobacco Retail Project, Goulburn Cancer Services Directory, and the Community Speakers program.

We asked Ruby some questions about her experiences volunteering with us.

What does your volunteer work involve? “Assisting with projects in relation to different programs in the southern region, specifically in the Southern highlands.

“After being here for only three months, I have had experience across a number of different projects, and learnt so many new skills already.”

 Why did you choose to volunteer at Cancer Council NSW? “To gain experience in this field.”

 Background (Personal/professional): “I am a Fourth year Public Health student at the University of Wollongong.”

 What do you enjoy most about volunteering? “It’s a great way to gain experience while being able to give back to the community and meet new people with similar interests to you.”

 What work have you done at Cancer Council NSW that you are most proud of or excited about? “I really enjoyed being a part of this year’s Southern Highlands Relay for Life event. It was interesting contributing to the planning of the event, and thinking of activities that could be used on the day.

“It was a great opportunity to then be a part of Relay on the day, where I could see firsthand the impact Relay has on communities, and how my hard work helped to create the event.”

 Do you get a sense of accomplishment from being involved in Cancer Council NSW’s mission? “Yes, volunteering at Cancer Council NSW helps me feel like I am a part of something that is greatly benefitting people who are in need of help.”

What would you tell your friends about volunteering at Cancer Council NSW? “I would tell them that volunteering at Cancer Council is a great way to get hands-on experience, and it is also a great way to give back to the community.”

What do you do when not at Cancer Council NSW?  “My time outside of Cancer Council involves studying at uni, working and socializing. I also enjoy cooking, exploring, going on bush walks, drinking tea and being at the beach.

“I am very passionate about helping others. One day in the future I would like to establish my own program that helps people in need to reach their full potential (after I have travelled the world of course).

And also meet Kristen Toohey…

Staff photo Kristen Toohey…our new Volunteer & Partnerships Coordinator for Southern Region.

Southern Office is pleased to welcome Kristen Toohey to the team, who is replacing Mia Parsons while she is on maternity leave until the end of the year. Kristen will work alongside Leah Roodenrys as they job share the Volunteer & Partnerships Coordinator role for the Southern region, working five days a fortnight each.

Kristen has a background in Strategic Communications and Event and Volunteer Management across both the corporate and non-profit sectors.

Prior to her role with Cancer Council NSW, Kristen coordinated a team of volunteers working on community development projects in remote Aboriginal communities in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Feel free to ask her more about it – she has many interesting tales to tell from her desert adventures!


Greater Western Sydney


Welcome to our new staff members Kate and Natalia

kate and nataliaThe whole Greater Western Sydney team is very excited to introduce our two newest members – Natalia Atcha and Kate Jesus, who both joined us in September and have since been doing important work in the western Sydney community.

Natalia is stepping into the role of Community Programs Coordinator for the Blacktown, Penrith and Blue Mountains communities and brings with her a wealth of experience in health programs. Her most recent role was at WentWest – the Western Sydney Primary Health Network, where she was the Health Planning and Partnership Coordinator and also previously worked in diabetes prevention and eHealth. She is very familiar with the Blacktown area from these positions, and is excited to continue working with the western Sydney community by implementing Cancer Council NSW programs.

Kate comes to our Greater Western Sydney office from the Skin Cancer Prevention Unit of Cancer Council NSW, where she took lead responsibility for the Healthy Sports Initiative, which has been successfully implemented across the state. She also worked to support prevention program delivery in the Hunter Central Coast and Northern NSW regions. Kate will be working in the same role as Natalia, but with a focus on the Liverpool and Fairfield communities and she will also be playing a key role in our relationship with Liverpool Hospital.

Welcome to Natalia and Kate!


Tackling Tobacco a big success in Campbelltown

tackling tobacco

We are very proud to report that our partnership with Macarthur Disability Services (MDS) on the Tackling Tobacco program is running smoothly and has made great progress since it first began just over a year ago.

MDS offer a range of services and support programs to people of all ages with a disability, their families, carers, the elderly, and people with a mental illness. They joined our Tackling Tobacco program aiming to increase their capacity to support both clients and staff to quit smoking.

Many changes have been happening in the organisation including: a review of their smoking policy, scheduled refresher training for all staff, program posters distributed and regular social media updates. MDS has also reviewed their intake data, and included questions about smoking habits when they interview new clients.

We were also thrilled to hear that one of the organisation’s committee members has taken the positive action to quit smoking himself – saving $5,000 a year, and greatly improving his health. He will be sharing his story around the organisation, and cases like these are wonderful examples of why Tackling Tobacco is such an important program.

We would like to congratulate everyone at Macarthur Disability Services, and especially the working group, for their efforts and commitment to making this program such a success.


Blacktown and Fairfield Relay for Life

blacktown and fairfield RFL

Sunny blue skies and a great turnout from the community made the Blacktown and Fairfield Relay For Life events perfect over the weekend! Both events were held on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 November, meaning double the stress and double the fun for our Greater Western Sydney staff. Blacktown Relay was an exciting time in particular for Leanne, our Community Relations Coordinator for the Blacktown, Penrith and Blue Mountains areas, as it was her first time organising a Cancer Council NSW event. With a rock climbing wall, inflatable obstacle course, Zumba and firework finale, the day was a great success.

About 20 minutes away at Prairiewood High School, Fairfield Relay For Life did just as well, with a fabulous youth turn out this year. Participants enjoyed yummy food trucks, martial arts and dance demonstrations, an outdoor movie screening and more. We are still waiting on the final fundraising count for both the Relays, but have no doubt we’ll reach our targets. Thanks to everyone who joined in with us for making it a wonderful weekend.


Thanks to everyone who helped us paint Greater Western Sydney pink!

GWS Pink thanks

A big ‘Thank you’ to everyone who volunteered with us on Pink Ribbon Day to raise valuable funds to beat women’s cancers.

Our whole Greater Western Sydney office team were out enjoying the sunshine working on stalls, and our region raised a total of $23, 982 at last count.

We also had some of our wonderful Cancer Council Information Service volunteers from Liverpool Hospital help us fundraise – our long-term volunteers Judith, Lorraine and Betty (pictured) all donned pink bows for the occasion.


PartyLite Australia raises $18, 770 for Girls’ Night In

partylite australia

In October and November, many women across Greater Western Sydney took the opportunity to host a Girls’ Night In – the perfect way to catch up with friends while raising money to help beat breast and gynaecological cancers.

Thank you to everyone who held an event, whether it was a movie night at home with a few friends, or a bigger party catering to hundreds of people.

One of our biggest fundraisers in the region was PartyLite Australia, who held a small morning tea at their Head Office based in Arndell Park. They also encouraged other women to get involved by holding a special Girls’ Night In Weekend promotion selling a candle and accessories parcel at in-home parties and donating $3.50 from every purchase to Cancer Council.

Their total contribution was an impressive $18, 770 – thank you to all the PartyLite staff who helped reach this goal!


Berala resident holds Do It for Cancer event

berala residents

Congratulations to Maria Simeone, who raised an amazing $2454.25 at her Do It For Cancer garage sale fundraiser on just oneweekend!

Maria held the event at her local church in Berala, selling a range of donated and pre-loved gems to raise valuable funds for Cancer Council NSW while also boosting her result with a sausage sizzle and lucky dips.

This event was the first that Maria is holding for her recently-created organisation, Tina’s Foundation, named in honour of her mother who passed away from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Maria herself is a cancer survivor, and is passionate about raising funds to support other people affected by the disease.

Thanks for your hard work, Maria, and well done on a successful event!


Men’s Shed lines up to help beat cancer

mens shed

Strathfield Men’s Shed made Blacktown’s Relay for Life stand for the event at Blacktown International Sports Park.

Leanne Langdon, our Community Relations Coordinator thanked them for their handyman skills dovetailing with the mission to beat cancer, and awarded them a certificate of thanks.


Brenda Harrold awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia

brenda harrold

Friday 9 September was a special day for the Hawkesbury community when resident Brenda Harrold was recognised for her service to the area by being awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia. Brenda was introduced to us through her friend Ellen, a long-time Cancer Council volunteer who convinced her to get involved with the ‘Saving Life 2015’ pre-election campaign to end the co-payment for cancer treatment.

Brenda has since volunteered as the chair of the Hawkesbury Cancer Support Network and facilitator of the Cancer Support Group. Brenda is also on the Community Board of Advice for the Hawkesbury District Health Service and chairs the hospital’s forums committee. Beyond her work in health, Brenda has served in many other organisations to benefit the Hawkesbury, where she has lived since 1997. She was President of the Women’s Auxiliary, Richmond Sub-Branch of the Returned and Services League of Australia, President of the Hawkesbury Ladies Probus Club, National President of View Clubs of Australia, and has been a JP since 1980… and that’s only scratching the surface of her impressive resume.

Despite her massive contribution to the community, Brenda remains modest and even told us that she was unsure why she was singled out for the Order of Australia. “I’m still wondering why me, because there’s so many other people who I’m sure do so much more than I do… it was still nice to be recognised, I feel really humbled by it,” she said.

While Brenda herself may be surprised by the award, anyone who has worked with her will know exactly why she received it. Congratulations – you are an inspiration to us all!


Camden Relay For Life raises almost $100,000

camden rfl

The sun was shining down on Onslow Park on Saturday 17 September as the Camden and Districts Rotary Relay For Life kicked off for another year. The event had an impressive turn out of around 1, 000 people over the weekend, with participants walking a combined total of more than 6,500 kilometres around the track to raise funds for Cancer Council NSW.

In between laps, everyone enjoyed food stalls, live music, facepainting, jumping castles, a silent disco and plenty of fun giveaways. At last count, the funds raised by the relay’s participants amounted to more than $95,000 and this figure is expected to increase over the coming weeks as donations are finalised.

We would like to thank everyone in the Macarthur community who contributed towards the event being so successful – in particular, thank you to our friends at Rotary, all our volunteers, team members and anyone who donated valuable funds. Every dollar (and step!) counts in the fight against cancer. See you all in 2017 for another amazing Relay For Life in Camden.


21 new Eat It to Beat It volunteers get trained in Parramatta – Sarah Young

eitbi volunteers

On August 25, I was part of a group of 21 keen volunteers who attended training to become an Eat It to Beat It Program Facilitator in the Greater Western Sydney region. Training was held in Parramatta and was led by Kate Sewell, the Regional Nutrition Project Officer, and Vikki Jayewardene.

We discussed not only how to deliver a Healthy Lunchbox presentation, but also how to hold a Fruit and Veg Sense Workshop with smaller groups of parents. After completing our competency assessment the following week, I can now say that I am extremely excited to get started and begin presenting to parents in schools with upcoming Kindy orientations!


GWS steps out of the office and onto the colourful streets of Cabramatta

streets of cabramatta

The Greater Western Sydney team were lucky enough to get out of the office and into the community for our September monthly meeting, with everyone carpooling down to Cabramatta.

Our tour guides for the day were Pina and Debbie, who arranged an exciting itinerary that showcased the best food and sights in the area. We started with a visit to the beautiful Minh Quang Monastery in Canley Vale, where we were privileged enough to be shown around the amazing temple, learn a bit about Buddhism and meet The Most Venerable Thich Minh Hieu. Our contact at the temple is Thuong Nguyen, who participates in the Fairfield Relay For Life each year, along with the youth group that she teaches. Her team sell delicious Vietnamese food at their fundraising stall at the Relay, and also generously donate breakfast items and fruit for the event. Thuong is a much-appreciated friend of Cancer Council NSW, and we are excited to see her fundraising efforts this year, which she says will include a head shave!

The next stop of the day was Cabramatta Golf Club, which is involved in the sun protection program Improve Your Long Game, for our team meeting.

Afterwards, we enjoyed lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant, checked out some of the shops in Cabramatta, and enjoyed dessert – suggestions courtesy of Debbie. It was a great opportunity to get out and explore one of the vibrant communities that we work in. 


A cancer survivor gives back

SWSCAN collecting parking stories article - Vol VoiceWayne Earle is a penile cancer survivor. Wayne’s wife Tracy was his primary carer, and now they are both advocates fighting for cancer patients in South West Sydney.

Wayne and Tracy are members of the South Western Sydney Cancer Advocacy Network (SWSCAN). They became a part of SWSCAN to help others, “to make sure no one goes through what we did, that period of feeling unsupported and unsure.”

Wayne also runs the website and a Facebook cancer support group for survivors of male-oriented cancers.

“The reason we want this website is to remove that fear – to encourage people to tackle difficult conversations because it could be what saves their life.”


Greater Western Sydney is having a Dry July

tequila mockingbirdsThe Greater Western Sydney team will be booze free for all of July, and raising funds for the much-needed refurbishment of our Parramatta office.

Greater Western Sydney, while being culturally diverse, also has higher rates of alcohol consumption, a lower rate of physical activity and a higher rate of overweight or obesity.

Rory Alcock, our Regional Manager, is leading the charge. “By upgrading our Parramatta community hub we will be able to continue to improve our support provided to the communities in Western Sydney, specifically the 4,095 people in this region who are predicted to be diagnosed with cancer this year alone.”

Join our team the ‘Tequila Mockingbirds’, or throw a few dollars our way here.


Western NSW


Christmas parties

christmas duoIt is that time of the year where we take a moment to reflect and say a very big ‘Thank You’ to all our volunteers for 2016. Western NSW held their Volunteer Christmas Parties in Wagga and Orange offices early December.

christmas crowd


Providing information to our volunteers in relation to funding, allocation of funds, events, and 2017 plans, gives our volunteers an insight to Cancer Council.

Our Orange office was lucky enough to have a visit from Santa himself!


Lilier Lodge – Working Bee

lilier lodge 1


Lilier Lodge, the Cancer Council NSW and CanAssist cancer patient accommodation located in Wagga Wagga, has recently received an internal facelift with extensive refurbishment being completed on the facility throughout the year.

On Monday 28 November, a rag tag group of amateur gardeners dusted off their green thumbs to help with refurbishing the gardens. Volunteers from Cancer Council NSW,  South Wagga Rotary, Job Centre Australia, Cootamundra Can Assist, Wagga Men’s Shed, AIC Plumbing & Earthmoving, Bunnings Warehouse, and Lilier residents and staff, all pulled together to weed ivy, separate agapanthus, and tackle briar!

thumbs upAlong with time donated by volunteers and community groups, it was great to have some local horticulturalists along on the day to keep us on task! All of the equipment and new plants were donated on the day, and the gardens are now set for summer!

verandah working bee story

working bee with rake


Far West Trip


The week of 24 to 28 of October was the week of the Royal Flying Doctors (RFDS) and Cancer Council NSW’s Cancer Awareness Fly-Around Clinic.

Well, what a week! Fiona Markwick, Community Programs Coordinator in the Western Region, had the privilege of taking part in this adventure. Some of you may have seen the presentation in the most recent Keeping In Touch meeting, but for those of you who didn’t, keep reading!

All up seven communities were visited by the RFDS team. Education and cancer awareness sessions were held at pubs and community halls. Topics of discussion included; the five common cancers, cancer risks factors and symptoms, support services, and of course, when and where local community members could access these services via the RFDS services and clinics.

To see the vast areas and remoteness of these communities was astounding, let alone the air strips the flying doctors land on! Rural Resilience as they say.

The response we had from community members was fantastic, word of mouth and working collaboratively with service providers who already have existing relationships was the key!


I Care, You Care, we All Care for Pall Care!

Although our “I Care for Palliative Care” advocacy campaign is a State based adventure, it never hurts to push the boundaries!

2KayleneAntoneandMinisterSussanLey.094859Pictured is Border Advocacy Network Advocate Kaylene Antone, presenting a copy of “Our Stories” to The Honourable Sussan Ley, Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care.

Border Advocates are busy gearing up for the Pall Care Book Launch this Wednesday in Albury, with the book to be included in the Albury City Library loans collection from 7 December.

Camilla Summer Road Trip


Mums at Hargraves Public School Fruit & Veg + Healthy Lunch Box session

Recently, Camilla Thompson, Community Programs Coordinator for our Western Region, went on her regular western NSW summer road trip to visit schools, stakeholders and groups involved in all things cancer prevention, support and advocacy.

Her first stop was Hargraves School, about 2 hours via the beautiful historical village of Hill End, to deliver a combined Fruit & Veg Sense session together with a Healthy Lunch Box session to 9 enthusiastic parents. Given there are only 30 children at the school, this was a very good attendance.

There was lively discussion around serving sizes, meat intake, creative ideas for recipe modification and also strategies for fussy eaters – and the parents were hungry for more ideas that they could access via the Eat It To Beat It website and Facebook page. Like many in Western NSW, some of the major factors that influence the diets of families in this isolated yet lush agricultural area is accessibility to good quality fresh produce, and also the need to be organised and planned for the week ahead – given the nearest market is more than 30 km away.

A lot of discussion revolved around the importance of knowing where your food comes from, growing your own and getting your children to help choose and prepare meals.

Following the session, the parents left feeling inspired to do more for their families by shopping more seasonally, growing and eating more fresh fruit and veg, and being more organised.


T2T welcomes new Coordinators

T2T Volunteer Rachael Herrin with Lauren McLurg

The Transport to Treatment (T2T) services in Albury and Griffith just keep growing and to keep up with referrals, the Wagga Wagga Office are pleased to welcome Rachael Herring and Angela Stinson to the Volunteer role of T2T Coordinator.

Both ladies have been receiving instruction, advice and encouragement from Lauren McClurg, Social Work student, who has been working on the T2T project as part of her Internship with Mel Nixon.

“Its so nice to work on a program like T2T that has so much visible impact on Communities in need,” claimed Lauren. She goes on further to suggest that a program like T2T is an ideal project for volunteers because they have immediate knowledge of just what a difference their time and contribution is having.

“It is a program that offers instant gratification to Volunteers, real feel good moments.”

Feedback to date indicates that Rachael and Angela are naturals in the role, and their efforts are being much appreciated by clients, referrers, drivers and, of course, Cancer Council NSW.


Young Junior Cricket Association benefits from the Healthy Sports Initiative

5MathewMcKenzieCPCpresentingKellyMeddingswi.092027Recently, Mathew McKenzie, Community Programs Coordinator at Wagga Wagga, travelled to Young to meet with Kelly Meddings to get the Young Junior Cricket Association signed up to a second year of the Healthy Sports Initiative.

Their club has good knowledge of the benefits of promoting a Sun Safe and Tobacco Free culture for their juniors.

As an added bonus of signing up to the program we were able to provide the club with a branded marquee (pictured) that will be used as further shade during the blistering summer weekends.

The grant was acquired by Camilla Thompson from the Western Team through the “Commbank Staff Community Grant.”


Stars of Dubbo Committee wins community award

stars of dubbo editCongratulations to the Stars of “Dubbo: Dance For Cancer” volunteer committee for receiving the Orana NSW Volunteer Team of the Year Award. Jason, Errin, Caitlin, Ann Maree, Karen & Vanessa all donated their time and skills to organise this professional and entertaining fundraiser.

We are so fortunate to have so many amazing volunteers and they all deserve this kind of recognition!


Glenrock Country Practice gives back

glenrock country practice

After the diagnosis of a staff member with breast cancer last year, the team at Glenrock Country Practice decided it was time to help. glenrock country practice2

On Saturday 8 October, the staff hosted a Car Boot Market and raised $7,000 to go towards research into women’s cancers.


Introducing Kristen Faul, Regional Events Administrator, Orange office

kirsten faulKristen recently joined the Orange team as RA and has been an absolute star assisting with all things events and fundraising.

Where do you hail from?

I grew up in the small town of Eugowra (between Forbes & Orange) and have been living in Orange for the past 22 years. I am looking forward to building my skills in Admin & Event Co-ordination and working with the great team in the Orange office and the wonderful volunteers throughout the region.

What did you do prior to working at Cancer Council NSW?

I have over 25 years’ experience in a customer service role in retail, mainly. 18 years spent working across many operational roles in the Office Supplies industry, including Customer & Sales Support, Purchasing, Retail Management and Logistics. Most recently I have been working in service support at Myer Orange.

Do you have any pets?

Yes, I have a fur child (cavoodle) named Dudley

Favourite food?


What is your idea of the perfect weekend?

Spending quality time with the family

Favourite quote?

‘How people treat you is their Karma; how you react is yours’

What are you most looking forward to working here at Cancer Council NSW?

Meeting new people and learning new skills


Introducing Susie Williams, Administration Volunteer

susie williamsSusie recently joined the Orange team as our ‘Director of First Impressions’ and is doing a sterling job so far.

Susie has done previous volunteer work at the Cancer Council head office – so she comes with a great resume! On a side note, Susie’s daughter and son-in-law own the Union Bank Wine Bar here in Orange – so we look forward to heading down there after a big week in the office for a refreshing local drop and joining Susie and her lovely family!!

Where do you hail from?

I was born at Dunedoo NSW and have lived in Sydney, Dunedin NZ, Melbourne, Brisbane and now Nashdale since June.

What are you up to outside of Cancer Council NSW?

Gardening, quilting and adapting to country after so many years of city living.

Do you have any pets?

Cat – Bill – who has adapted extremely well to country living. He’s 14 and a large, gorgeous ginger.

Favourite food?

Winter casserole with crusty bread and a glass of wine!!

Favourite book/movie?

Any book by Stella Rimington.

Dream holiday destination?

The beach/somewhere warm!!

Favourite quote?

“If a job’s worth doing it’s worth doing well”

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’m loving my volunteer role at Cancer Council NSW. An opportunity to meet new people, learn new skills and revive old ones. It’s a really warm, welcoming place to be.


Border Relay For Life 2016

border relay 1

Border Relay For Life saw 2,800 participants braving the cold and windy conditions to raise a preliminary total of $407,000 for Cancer Council, with a number of teams yet to confirm their ‘on the day’ fundraising figures!

Despite the colder conditions, teams and participants rallied on with a head count of 127 participants still walking the track at 4am.

A special mention must go to the highest fundraising team at this year’s Border Relay For Life – #teamjacka for raising an incredible $65,000 and for having over 100 participants registered. This was the team’s first year participating in Border Relay For Life as well.

Live bands, the kids zone and competitions such as Miss Relay and the newly introduced ‘Miss Genesis Challenge’, which was an obstacle course event created for the ladies, proved a great success and provided plenty of entertainment and laughs for on-lookers.

The Border Committee put together another very successful and enjoyable weekend for the Border Community, with thanks and praise flooding in from participants, sponsors and all those involved.

You can check out more of the action from the weekend via their Facebook page:

border relay 4

border relay 2

border relay 3


Growing, growing, gone!

leigh ryanLeigh Ryan is captaining a Wagga Relay for Life team this year, and aiming to raise over $10,000.

Leigh was touched by cancer when his mother rang and told him she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. As a result of early diagnosis due to regular mammograms, successful surgery, radiotherapy and support from family and friends, she came out the other side with a positive prognosis.

A regular supporter of the Wagga Relay For Life, this year it got personal. Now Leigh relays to raise funds for Cancer Council NSW to generate more positive stories like his mother’s, to support other loved ones who have been touched by cancer, and to create HOPE for all.

Counting down to the Relay, on day 100 Leigh ceased shaving his beard or cutting his hair, and will not do so until the weekend of the Relay (8-9 October) in an attempt to raise these much needed funds.

He is also running regular raffles at The Union Club Hotel in Wagga Wagga, and selling chocolates at various local businesses.

He has also arranged for a charity screening of ‘Star Trek Beyond’ on Thursday 21 July.

To purchase tickets to the screening, raising funds for Leigh’s cause click on this link.

To follow Leigh’s journey, or to help his fundraising, go to his Facebook page.


Transport To Treatment training, Albury/Wodonga

1. Albury T2T Volunteers checking out car cropped

Albury T2T Volunteers checking out car.

There was a great turn up to the training program for drivers volunteering for the Transport to Treatment service.

An enthusiastic, community-minded group of volunteers gathered at the Quest apartments in Wodonga. They were all excited at the prospect of providing a support service to local cancer patients which may help to reduce some of the blocks to accessing treatment.

One of the highlights of the day was when Liam from the Alessi group showed us through the new Renault to be used to transport patients.

Alessi Representative, Liam, happy with his Renault

Alessi Representative, Liam, happy with his Renault.

Over the course of the day this group showed they were exactly the sort of people needed to start and maintain this vital service. They are a great combination of generous and capable individuals, all wanting to give back and assist people who need it.

“You usually find that good people get along well with other good people,” said Cancer Council NSW Western Region Volunteer Manager Bill Wood, “and this group were no exception. It is always impressive when people make a commitment to help people in their community who need the support.

“Transport to Treatment is a great initiative, and the combination of this great team of volunteers and our hardworking Community Program Coordinator, Mel Nixon, will provide great benefits to people with cancer in the Albury Wodonga area.”

Mel is currently establishing a similar service in the Griffith area, and looking at recruiting volunteers. If you or someone you know is based in Griffith, and may be interested in volunteering, please contact Mel on or Bill Wood on


Hunter Central Coast


Relay For Life eclipses 135k

Community groups came together for a common cause. Around 1000 people attended the 2016 Newcastle/Lake Macquarie Relay For Life.

Around 1000 people attended the 2016 Newcastle/Lake Macquarie Relay For Life.

The 2016 Newcastle/Lake Macquarie Relay For Life has been hailed a huge success after raising a provisional total of $136,000 for those affected by cancer in the Hunter.

Some superheroes stopped by Hunter Sports Centre at Glendale to lend their support to this year's Relay For Life.

Some superheroes stopped by Hunter Sports Centre at Glendale to lend their support to this year’s Relay For Life.

The event was staged on the weekend of 5 November and brought together approximately 1,000 participants for a fun-filled day of live entertainment, head-shaves, face-painting, jumping castles, fireworks, as well as superhero visits.

carers and survivors

Carers and cancer survivors turned out in force for this poignant event.

The day remembers loved ones lost to cancer while also celebrating survival and fighting back against cancer.

Funds raised from the event will be put back into research, support and prevention programs funded by Cancer Council NSW in the Hunter.

ribbon rfl

Relay for Life was officially started with an opening ceremony and ribbon cutting.

Richard Finlay, chair of the Newcastle/Lake Macquarie Relay For Life committee, described the day as “incredible”.

This story was originally published in The Newcastle Star here.


NSW research program designed to look at emotional needs of cancer patients

This article was originally published here.

A world-first research program in NSW hopes to improve the treatment of cancer patients by researching their emotional needs.

A series of programs have received $4.5 million in funding from the NSW Cancer Council.

It comes after a research team from the University of Newcastle found one in five people receiving cancer care in hospitals were never asked about their emotional wellbeing.

We’re not talking here about … whether they get the right medications, but whether they receive holistic care.

Those findings referenced six treatment centres across the country, with a sample size of 716 cancer patients.

sanson-fisher cropped

Professor Rob Sanson-Fisher

Laureate Professor Rob Sanson-Fisher had received $2.2 million out of the total funding and saidhe would using the funding to consult with cancer patients on their needs and suggested improvements in four to six hospitals across NSW later this year.

His team will then provide information back to medical oncology and radiation service providers, with hopes of developing a better patient-centred care program.

Professor Sanson-Fisher said his work would be the first of its kind.

“Both nationally or internationally, this is the first such study that’s been undertaken, where there’s an attempt to improve all aspects of care relating to cancer patients – in particular looking at patient-centred care,” he said.

“We’re not talking here about technical care – that is whether they get the right medications, but whether they receive holistic care.

“No one else has done a study of this breadth.”

Research looking at how to support people through cancer

kathy chapman

Kathy Chapman, Cancer Council NSW

Cancer Council NSW cancer programs director Kathy Chapman said cancer patients often experience stress over finances, access to services, and harbour fears over recurrence.

“I think the evidence is building about the importance of looking at how we can be supporting people best through their cancer, in terms of stress and anxiety,” she said.

Ms Chapman added that research over the last 10 to 15 years emphasised not only physical care, such as pain management, but a broader approach to patient care.

She said cancer patients have common unmet needs when receiving treatment in hospitals, and these need to be recognised by a shift in approach.

“This is research that really can look at how we can change the systems in place, not just looking at the gaps that are out there,” she said.

While the funding will be used for research across NSW alone, Professor Sanson-Fisher said he hoped the final suggested changes will be adopted nationally and internationally.


Welcome DAFNEE!

daffneeOver two years ago Central Coast office decided they were tired of lugging around marquees, a trestle table and a bottle of sunscreen to events, often standing around with no real way to really interact and engage our community other than to offer them sunscreen and tell them that we weren’t really qualified to check their moles when they take off their shirts.

With the assistance of Mingara Recreation Club supporting this project to the tune of $40,000, Cancer Care pledging an additional $15,000 towards the fit-out, and our amazing Mingara RFL committee held a black tie dinner to raise the final $12,000 that we needed to get this baby on the road! So it is with much excitement, we announce the arrival of “DAFNEE” – our fabulous Resource Van – bringing Cancer Council NSW to the community


Dafnee will be available for not only Cancer Council NSW events but for schools, community events, expos, corporate events and more, and as Julie Roberts said in Pretty Woman – “this baby corners like it’s on rails”. Actually it doesn’t, that just sounded good.

Dafnee will be fitted out with interactive activities to suit the event – from games and Insta frames for the kids to bowel kits, nutrition tips and cancer information for the older audience. She will have a TV, USB ports, BBQ, kitchen, fridge, brochure racks and more… giving us so many ways to talk to our community about the breadth of what Cancer Council NSW does in our community.

We feel like we are new parents getting to know our baby… and well, it seems there is a lot to learn about her, umm like that time Jayne had to figure out how to change transmission from manual to auto after driving 2 blocks in first gear. Oh the times we will have with our Dafnee.

A huge congratulations and well done to Sarah who worked hard to make this happen and bring this fabulous resource to the Central Coast! We look forward to making more of an impact at events with the ability to properly engage and interact with our community.


Mingara Relay For Life

mingara rfl1

Celebrating sweet sixteen years, Mingara saw another wonderful community event over the weekend of 8/9 October.

Just over 1100 participants joining in the fun, and around 500 day visitors, saw the event creating a great family vibe.

The Relay committee honoured our second “John Millard Community Award” winner – Terrigal Trotters – who have been with Mingara Relay For Life since it started in 2001.

Not only are they a consistent team each year fundraising with raffles and BBQ’s, they also command the inside lane of the track over 18 hours where their runners challenge themselves and have been known to clock over 100km during the event.

mingara rfl2

Another exciting moment was the official launch of our brand new Community Resource Van – Dafnee. Leading the survivors and carers lap, everyone was very impressed with her!


Cessnock Relay kicks goals!

In its 9th year, Cessnock Relay For Life made a come-back not seen since John Farnham’s “Last Time Tour” (all 6 of them).…..raising a whopping $83,000 (18% over target)!

cessnock ttt picThe Cessnock Patient Transport Vehicle was launched with great support from the local community, the car was purchased and sign written locally – a local car, for local patients.

The 12 hour format was well received once again. There was fantastic food, entertainment, ceremonies – with fireworks concluding the night and who doesn’t love cracker night?

Miss Relay was a highlight raising over $1000 proving that men dressing as women for money, never ever gets old.


Singleton Relay weathers the storm!

singleton RFL inside

Crappy weather and lots of mud was on offer at Singleton Relay – only proving that our Relayer’s in the Upper Hunter do not scare easy!

These purple legends brought their own sunshine when there was none, no spirits were dampened and they relayed through the rain to raise over $58,000 – an 8% increase from last year!


Muswellbrook Relay smashes target!

muswellbrook rfl arch

Major props to our Community Relations Coordinators, Pausha Prigent and Clint Ekert, for making the 10th Anniversary Muswellbrook Relay one to remember!

The result (11% over target) is all the more special considering the extremely difficult economic conditions facing the town, with the coal industry reeling from job losses and downturn. Chair Taya Elphinestone has just turned 21 – what a great way to celebrate!.


Beat Cancer @ Work Launched

beat cancer at work logoOur new workplace pilot program, Beat Cancer @ Work, was launched at Demato Constructions last week with the support of local Business Chambers and sponsors KIS Marketing. The program will run for the remainder of the financial year, providing workplace education and toolbox talks, policy advice and resources, information and support for employers and services for employees diagnosed by cancer as well as working carers.

beat cancer at work pic

The launch was very well received with key business partners and sponsors attending.

Workplaces are registering for the program at

Check out some of the media coverage here:

Pink Ribbon Day

pink ribbon day two volsWhile Pink Ribbon Day was quieter than previous years here on the Central Coast, there was still lots of fun to be had! Our friends at STAR1045 had a great time manning our Fountain Plaza site, creating a buzz and making some noise with live crosses from the site that raised over $1000!

We also had our twobrand new volunteer’s Nicola & Melanie (pictured) holding the fort at the Erina Fair site.

Both ladies had a great day talking to our friendly community, listening to people’s stories. They loved their first time volunteering for Cancer Council NSW. Nice work girls! :)


Stars of the Central Coast

We are in the final stages of locking in our line-up of Stars for the next Stars of the Central Coast, which will be held in April 2017. Our first sister-act – Twynette & Raqueal – let us know that they had finally made a decision about whether they would commit to being a STAR on Vimeo!

Check out their video here

We are in the last stages of finalising our Media Launch event which will be held at the end of November which is always a fantastic day with dance family new and old coming along to meet the new dance victims, I mean ‘stars’.

We have some great personalities on board this year and some fun new dance-genres. We also think the best part about STARS is that we get to use words like ‘dance-genres’.


Central Coast CAN working hard for Palliative Care

The Central Coast Cancer Advocacy Network (CCCAN) have been working hard since the group’s first meeting in August of this year. Committed to improving Palliative Care by supporting the state campaign as well as looking at local initiatives that they can support and/or lead.

The CCCAN, led by Ros & Jacinta, recently Campaigned at RFL Mingara with 151 pledges signed. They also walked an advocacy lap which was well supported by the community and recruited two new members.

A few of our advocacy members include: Faith, John, Ros (Chair) and Edna (front).

A few of our advocacy members: Faith, John, Ros (Chair) and Edna (front).

CCCAN have also been working with the Erina Fair team to complete a local palliative care report on what services are available and where the gaps are, which was presented at the last meeting. This report will help inform our Member of Parliament Liaisons when speaking to their MP’s about Palliative Care, especially being able to relate data specifically to the Central Coast.


Girls Just Wanna Have Fun! – Girls Night In (GNI)

A group of fabulous mums from the Peninsula started their GNI a few years ago in the school hall. They quickly outgrew the small venue and are now hosting their fabulous event at Ettalong Diggers with around 250 women partying hard and raising just on $20,000 this year alone!

The theme this year was Party in Pompeii and the crowd did not disappoint with their costumes. Hosted by the hilarious Mandy Coolen, an incredibly powerful guest speaker, Dr Kelly Needham, throw in a couple of very, um, interesting props and you have yourself one big fundraiser!

And one thing is for sure, these women know how to throw a party. Sarah Russell is still popping Berocca’s 3 days later! (Amateur).


Tubes 4 Boobs

tubes 4 boobsThe best thing about this event, other than the name, is that it’s held on a Sunday at Dixon Park Beach Newcastle.

Tubes 4 Boobs is a longboard surfing competition organised by young couple Courtney and Marlenn for Pink Ribbon.

The event includes beachside market stalls, entertainment and male surfers wearing bras while competing. The event aims to raise $20,000 this year.

Some TV coverage of the event can be viewed here.


Fight Cancer Home Loans

fight cancer home loansLet your mortgage help fight cancer!

We have announced an amazing partnership with a loan broker to deliver commissions paid by lenders for loans signed up through

The company helps find suitable loans, arranges finance and then donates commission for the life of the loan to Cancer Council (at no cost to the borrower). What a great idea!


Camping For Cancer

camping for cancerWhile we are on the theme of laid back fundraising, Camping For Cancer has it sorted.

This event takes place at Swansea Gardens Holiday Park on the shores of beautiful Lake Macquarie, and is an awesome weekend of camping, games and entertainment.

The family has even branded their beloved speed car with our Cancer Council logo. Awesome!


Corvette for Cancer

corvette for cancerA local racing car enthusiast in Newcastle is building a complete replica Corvette of the famous Dale Ernhart Snr racing car to raise funds for Cancer Council NSW! Stay tuned!


Transport Partnerships cover the region!

transcare 3 stripIn the last two months we have launched transport partnerships at Muswellbrook, Dungog and Merriwa.

Our Muswellbrook service was launched at Muswellbrook Relay For Life in partnership with Transcare and funded over the next 3 years by Scone Race Club, Muswellbrook Race Club, Upper Hunter Council and Muswellbrook Council.

The Dungog Partnership is funded by Dungog Relay For Life and our Merriwa partnership provides a service to the far reaches of the Upper Hunter, funded by Merriwa Relay For Life. The local RSL has even given our resource stand pride of place at the front entrance!


Endeavour Group Go Sun Smart

Endeavour Group Australia support disabled clients and recently requested toolbox talks for their workplace. The talks were so well received that the organisation sought sponsorship from Billabong, developed broad brim hats and are now selling them across the Hunter to raise money for Cancer Council! What a great partnership!


Farewell Pausha!

farewell paushaOur amazing Community Relations Coordinator in Singleton, Pausha Prigent (pictured left), is leaving us soon for Perth with her partner Adam, who has been relocated there with the Air Force.

Pausha is leaving in style, fresh off a stellar Spring Relay Season where she has exceeded her event targets over four Relays in six weeks! You’re a star Pausha – we will miss you!

Look back when Pausha joined Cancer Council NSW here.


Daffodil Day

We ran over 90 sites in the Hunter this year, including a couple of successful roadside sites and a pub run on Friday night to sell off our leftover daffodils.

daffodil day beach picWe also ran a localised “For Someone I Know” campaign and plastered these cuties on bus shelters and in newspapers across the region to encourage more people to buy their daffodils.

We’re on track to reach our local fundraising target!

daff day djs

Daffodil Day DJs.

Daffodil Day was way TOO MUCH FUN to be considered work here on the Central Coast.

We had our awesome volunteers manning sites in shopping centres and shop front sites, we also had a fun roadside site on the main road into Terrigal which was manned by STAR1045’s breakfast team, Rabbit and Julie Goodwin.

Volunteer and veteran Daffodil Day legend, Helen Waterhouse celebrated 21 years of Daffodil Day at her beloved Kincumber Shopping Centre site. In her 80’s Helen runs her site like a well-oiled machine and is another inspiring reason that we love Daffodil Day!     

daff day judy moyLocal cancer patient Judy Moy (who had just finished raising over $3,000 for Rally for a Remedy) shared her story with us to help raise awareness for Daffodil Day and got some great coverage on the DailyTelegraph.


Girls’ Night In

We officially launched our Girls’ Night In campaign last week with an exclusive screening of “Bridget Jones’s Baby” last week.

girls night in specs trioThe event was a great success with our supporters enjoying a glass of sparkling and nibbles before settling in to hear more about the work of Cancer Council and watch Bridget hopefully get her happily ever after.


Media Training

media training

Our staff and volunteers recently enjoyed a great day of media training with Jaimie Abbott. We picked up some great tips and ideas and the team feels confident and excited about working more closely with our local media to get our messages out there and help the community understand more about all the amazing work we do!


Central Coast MPs show their support for Palliative Care initiative and Daffodil Day

Daffodil Day 2016 was the thirtieth year the flagship event of the Cancer Council has run. Though it is mainly a fundraising day, it also aims to promote community engagement with people affected by cancer, and this year, Cancer Council NSW ran #Icare4Pallcare, and asked for support for the Palliative Care pledge from local Members of Parliament, and the wider community, to send the message to the Health Minister about the importance of palliative care. central coast mpsDaffodil Day sites across the Central Coast were privileged to host three local MPs and representatives of a fourth.

Labor MP Adam Crouch (Terrigal) attended two sites – Kincumber in the morning, and Erina Fair in the afternoon. Staffers from Kathy Smith’s office attended Deepwater Plaza in the morning, David Harris was at Lake Haven and David Mehan attended a site at The Entrance. During their visits, these MPs took the Palliative Care Pledge.

adam crouchEngagement with local MPs on Daffodil Day and in relation to the Palliative Care Pledge is crucial to Cancer Council NSW’s goals to increase palliative care services as it shows the public and the government that there is increased support and needs for an increase in palliative care services across NSW hospitals for everyone affected by cancer.

The benefits of this engagement also show the community and those affected by cancer that their elected representatives are not ignoring the needs of their constituents.


Rally For A Remedy

rally for a remedyRally For a Remedy is a Car Rally Treasure Hunt where registered participants follow clues to find 10 check-points across the coast, they complete a challenge at each check point to receive their next clue.

Our Rallyers got into the spirit of this year’s ‘circus’ theme and dressed their cars and their teams up so that there was no missing them as they drove around the coast. The event started and finished at The Hive @ Erina Fair and there was a circus party at the finish line with circus activities and entertainment.

rally for a remedy crowdIt was a fantastic day with lots of families getting involved in the fun, and $8,000 raised!

Maitland Relay For Life

maitland bagpipes RFLIt may have been too windy to put a jumping castle up and it was definitely too windy for anyone to escape a very bad hair day – but it was not too windy for the Maitland community to come out in their droves and walk against that wind to fight against cancer and raise over $91,000.

maitland rfl dougal

The box car derby was a hit and Miss Relay is always something to be seen at Maitland, you know, given the natural beauty that men dressing as women brings.

HOPE jumpCongratulations to Pausha and the awesome committee on a fantastic community event!

We heart Maitland Relay For Life!


Singleton Welcomes New Intern

new internWelcome to our new volunteer Gina Rodgers who is currently completing a Bachelor of Science degree in health promotion with Curtin University in Western Australia, as an external student. To finalise her studies, Gina is fulfilling her practical requirements with a fieldwork placement at the Cancer Council NSW office in our Singleton office.

Gina has been interested in health and wellbeing for many years with the completion of a Bachelor of Health Science degree in Nutritional Medicine. Her passion for all facets surrounding health and wellbeing are also demonstrated through volunteering with the Eat it to Beat it campaign.


Palliative Care spoken about in Parliament

jenny in parliamentJenny Aitchison (MP for Maitland) speaks on the need to have access to 24 hr palliative care nursing.

She speaks about the case of a Rutherford woman, Fiona Murphy, who wished to die at home. Her family converted their lounge room into a makeshift hospice, installing a specialist bed and supported by palliative care nurses visiting to administer pain relief between 8.30 and 5pm. Her husband, James Murphy, attended the CAN meeting on Tuesday night. He wants to support the state wide campaign for better access to palliative care. You can see the speech here


Hunter Nurse Education Day – Breast Cancer Care

This education event for nurses in the Hunter has been running for 10 years now, twice a year and is sponsored by PKF Accountants in Newcastle. The topics covered on 12 September included the role of mindfulness and the mind-body relationship for breast cancer and lifestyle guidelines for managing breast cancer.

breast cancer care

Dr Craig Hassed, GP and Senior Lecturer at Monash University, specialising in integrative and mind-body medicine presented these topics which were very valued by the 76 nurses attending the day.

Dana, CPC in Newcastle also provided an update of Cancer Council’s support services and our current advocacy campaign to the State Government to increase the number of palliative care health professionals across the state.

Mary Shearer, a local physiotherapist also presented on lymphoedema management.


Catch up with the last couple of months’ news.

Welcome Sue.

A big welcome to Sue McLennan, who joins us as a volunteer in our Singleton office. Sue’s focus will be on Relay For Life registrations in the Upper Hunter, and she conquered our computer system and databases in just a few weeks!

Sue’s background is in teaching, and she is an expert with all things baby-related. She still works as a nanny, and assists families adjusting to life with a new little addition.

This work takes her all over Australia and beyond. In fact, Sue is off to London after the Spring Relay season

We’re delighted to have Sue on board as part of the Singleton team. Welcome Sue and thank you for your support!


Unleashing our inner bogan!

bogans1Maitland Relay For Life held an adults-only launch at Berro Bowlo (that’s Beresfield Bowling Club) with Bogan Bingo.

This is an hilarious (and easy) fundraiser for any committee looking for something different.

bogans2We had prizes for Biggest Bogan (Miss Relay Style).

Air guitar was a big hit, with the champion being an amazing rocking granny. Plus, the event raised $4,300!


Muswellbrook Relay for Life 10-year Ball

Muswellbrook Relay For Life committee held an amazing fundraiser to launch this year’s 10-year anniversary Relay, raising $9,000 in the process.

muswellbrook RFL ballTaya Elphinestone, chairperson, did an amazing job and remains one of the youngest Relay For Life chairs in NSW.

Great work!

muswellbrook RFL ball composite


Steel Magnolia Awards

gvanOur Maitland Relay For Life chair, Gyan Gaiter, was nominated for the prestigious Steel Magnolia award in the Hunter Region, recognising women who have overcome adversity to inspire others.

Gyan has spoken at previous Relay For Life conferences and is an inspirational young lady.

Congratulations Gyan! To view more on this Steel Magnolias story click here and here.


Regional Board Visit

regional board visitOn 6 July, we welcomed Cancer Council NSW Board members Toby Heap and Melanie Trethowan to the region.

They attended our Research Breakfast by the Beach, visited the Kotara Shop, Charlestown office and Lake Macquarie Cancer Council Information Service.

They even found time to visit Hunter Water and present a plaque in recognition of our charitable partnership. Now that’s a productive day!


Central Coast Mariners partner with Cancer Council NSW

central coast marinersThe Mariners A-League team are partnering with Cancer Council NSW on the Central Coast for the Pink Ribbon round, to be held for the game against Brisbane Roar on 18 December.

The team will wear a special Cancer Council Pink kit, and there will be plenty of fundraising and support on the day.


Daffodil Day Night Market

market nightThe Newcastle Relay For Life team held a Daffodil Day night market in partnership with the Edwards restaurant in town on Sunday 14 August.

The market featured specialty stalls and entertainment and was a great way to raise funds and awareness of Cancer Council NSW!

Palliative Care Service is Launched

palliative care1We recently held a launch of the new Palliative Care service with our partners and the first 12 volunteers of the service.

Our first referral will be coming through shortly and service coordinator, Tina Pidcock, could not be happier!palliative care2


Hunter Regional Advisory Committee going strong

It was great to have Merewyn Partland, Director, Community Engagement and Program Delivery, visit the recent Hunter Regional Advisory Committee meeting, where the group discussed the Hunter strategy, program delivery and Aboriginal engagement.

hunter regional advisory committeeThe committee have each taken on lead roles relating to the priority areas in the Hunter, and they are all very passionate advocates for Cancer Council NSW.

For more news and volunteers activity reports, including coverage of the Stars of Newcastle, visit here.


Meet Daffodil Day Team Leader Helen Waterhouse

HelenThis year will mark 21 years since Helen started volunteering for Daffodil Day.

Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993, Helen knew, with 2 daughters of her own, that she wanted to do something for hers and other families touched by cancer.

She just didn’t know what that was until she read the words ‘contribute to a brighter, cancer-free future by volunteering, donating or selling merchandise on Daffodil Day’.

“As soon as I found out Cancer Council conducts and funds research into cancer, I rang immediately and offered my volunteer services,” Helen said.

Twenty one years on Helen is still passionate about volunteering and continues to get her whole community involved.

“Each year I try to introduce at least one new person to what Daffodil Day is, and who Cancer Council is – every single time they are amazed”.

This year Cancer Council NSW is asking people to get involved ‘For someone you love’.

For Helen that is “My daughters, my community, and every family who is touched by cancer.

“That’s why I started and that’s why I still do it”.


NAIDOC Week celebration


Irene Eves at our information stall.

Record numbers flocked to celebrate the Central Coast Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Gosford on 5 July.

In a first for the annual Central Coast NAIDOC Community Day, the free event was held at Gosford Racecourse, and featured live entertainment, about 50 community stallholders, food and cultural demonstrations.

As well as improving health awareness and management among indigenous people, this year’s event also focused on education and employment opportunities.

Cancer Council NSW were in attendance to give out information, chat about services available locally. Community Programs Coordinator, Sandra Shorrock said it was fantastic to see so many people at the NAIDOC event.


Stars of the Central Coast

stars6_085159The 3rd Stars of the Central Coast took to the stage at Laycock Street Theatre in April for another fantastic night. Our 10 community stars performed routines which included salsa, street, hip hop and Bollywood to a sold out crowd who cheered rowdily for their favourites.

Local GP, Dr Georgia Page took out the judges trophy and the people’s choice award for her incredible ‘Street’ routine with H&H Catering’s Kerry Harman taking home Highest Fundraiser having raised over $40,000 in her stars campaign.

The night was hosted by STAR 1045’s Phil Brandel, with country music star Gina Jeffreys in the Green Room. Our judging panel featured Gosford City Mayor Lawrie McKinna, Julie Goodwin and our very own cancer researcher (and former winner of Stars of Newcastle) – Nikki Verrills.

stars7_085045Stars included The Block’s Kyal Demmrich (wife Kara took out the title last year), STAR1045’s breakfast presenter ‘Rabbit’, politicians Lucy Wicks and David Harris, business owners Kerry Harman and Mick Ostini, occupational therapist Jodie Myers, Senior Detective Kylie Bagnall, and Mingara Recreation Club’s Sarah Ferman.

The event raised over $130,000 and is always way too much fun to be considered work.


… and the Wrap Party

WRAPPARTY1_085615Our stars and sponsors got a chance to let their hair down at the brand new, uber trendy warehouse venue ‘Neon Garage’ – owned by one of our former stars who kindly donated the space for the night to party with us.

Our dance family past and present came along and we ate, we drank, we laughed, we celebrated, we watched the Stars of the Central Coast DVD and cheered everyone on all over again!

We woke with headaches. Must have been something in the canapés!?


Rocking it in Sydney

we will rock pic.jpeg

Pictured L to R: Gleness , Makaylah, Jen, Sarah (staff member), Myf.

Central Coast volunteers were treated to the show ‘We Will Rock You’ at the Sydney Lyric Theatre last month, thanks to Cancer Council NSW.

‘We Will Rock You’, featuring the music of the band Queen, is a futurist adventure set in the year 2350, a time when live music is banned on Earth. But the kids are in rebellion, fighting against a diet of synthesized pop.

It had a fantastic cast including Brian Mannix, the lead singer of 1980’s band Uncanny X-Men, as Buddy. Killer Queen was played by the extraordinary Casey Donovan (as seen on Australian Idol)

A fantastic night was had by all, and it was a great way to say ‘thank you’ to volunteers for all their hard work throughout the year.


5,500kms by a short, old bloke – Cape to Cape for Cancer!

CC Greg Brown FB Cover ImageOur ‘short fat bloke’, Greg Brown,  has officially started his quest to run from Tasmania to Cape York QLD – a massive 5500kms over 90 days (approx. 62km per day for anyone playing at home).

Kicking off with a healthy $20,000K in the fundraising kitty, his aim is to raise $100K for Palliative Care services on the Central Coast.

If you see him out and about, give him a wave (and some cash)!

Excerpt from Greg’s ‘diary’:

“Day 1. Started at Cockle Creek on the South East Cape in Tasmania. The time was 6.00AM, it was dark, cold and raining…”

Greg’s Facebook page is accessible here.

For more media coverage on Greg’s epic run, click here.