Statewide regional news archive to June 2016


Northern NSW

Southern NSW

Greater Western Sydney

Western NSW

Hunter Central Coast

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

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

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



Sutherland Relay just celebrated 15 years!

Sutherland RFL Closing Ceremony, concluding a successful event.

Sutherland RFL Closing Ceremony, concluding a successful event on an exhausted but exuberant, HOPE-celebrating high.

Over the weekend 30 April – 1 May, Sutherland Shire Relay For Life celebrated their 15th year Relay! The volunteer committee of 50+ members worked tirelessly over the last 5 months to put on another successful event, with such pride and passion.

The vibe was better than ever, as the Shire community travelled along a 24 hour journey around the track.

We saw mascots outrunning each other, survivors and carers being treated to rides on Harley Davison motorbikes, the Tradies Miss Relay pageant capturing many eyes, brave people shaving their heads, Anytime Fitness putting on a competitive marathon, a banquet dinner with live entertainment where the committee danced away and celebrated, the entire back straight of the track dedicated to fightback activities, a petting zoo and reptile farm, and many stories being shared amongst survivors, carers, family, friends, neighbours and the people of the Shire.

A big thank you to all our sponsors, volunteers, committee, teams and participants as the event couldn’t happen without you!

Breakthrough Art Festival 2016

BAF-banner-2016_A1From 12 to 15 May, Cancer Council NSW’s inaugural Breakthrough Art Festival will pitch the beauty of art against a brutal and unexpected foe, cancer.

Taking place in the award winning aMBUSH gallery in Chippendale, itself housed within the landmark Central Park Mall, the festival will showcase the creativity of some of Sydney’s most established, emerging and student artists. Handed a blank canvas and issued with the sole instruction that their work be representative of “hope”, an action embodied by the Daffodil that dominates Cancer Council’s iconic logo, hundreds of works have been created for the four day exhibition, and will be sold throughout the duration for $150 each.

Art devotees, bargain hunters and those simply passionate about the work of Cancer Council NSW, can secure their free ticket to the grand opening night on Thursday 12 May (6:30pm – 9:00pm) here. To learn more about Cancer Council NSW’s Breakthrough Art Festival 2016 please visit the event’s website.

Sydney Relay For Life 2016 volunteer success

Sydney RFLOn 5-6 March 2016, Sydney Relay For Life 2016 came alive at King George Park to celebrate hope, remember loved ones, and fight back against cancer.

Currently the fundraising is just over $103,000, and well on its way to reaching the goal of $110,000. This has only been possible because of the amazing 502 participants that ran the track, the committee, and the volunteers.

We couldn’t have done it without the amazing volunteers working on the day and behind the scenes. A lot of hands were working really hard, starting from 6am set up on Saturday, to pack down on Sunday.

We would like to thank the 50+ volunteers that brought your energy, laughter, hard work and smiles, throughout the two days.

It goes without saying that we couldn’t have done it without all the amazing volunteers, so thank you!

Outrun Cancer 2016

Outrun Cancer 2016On Friday 18 March, 400 corporate participants from companies including Macquarie Bank, AMP, CBA and UBS, took part in Outrun Cancer’s corporate treadmill marathon challenge.

This year’s event saw a record number of five gym locations across the Sydney CBD and North Sydney, including Shelley Street, Martin Place, King Street, the AMP Gym at Circular Quay, and North Sydney.

That wasn’t the only record broken. Although funds are still coming in, the event has raised an absolutely incredible $109,000 for Cancer Council NSW. This amount also includes dollar matching from some key corporates who participated on the day.

In 2012, Outrun Cancer founder Luca Turrini started this event at just one gym location in memory of his mum who he sadly lost to pancreatic cancer. In the last five years it has grown it to the scale it is today. Having a particular focus on cancer prevention, proceeds raised from this year’s event will go to funding an Eat It To Beat It ‘Healthy Lunch Box Online Tool’ that will allow the Healthy Lunch Box program to be delivered to more parents across NSW in a more interactive way.

A big thank you to the army of 50 volunteers that helped make the day possible. Volunteers were allocated to a specific team to support throughout every step of the marathon. New friends were made, and there were plenty of high fives all round.

Thank you to the army of orange at each gym – we couldn’t have done it without you!

Pink Ribbon Yoga is here.

Pink YogaThe Pink Ribbon Yoga events have kicked off around Sydney to raise money and awareness of women’s cancers.

We have had some wonderful volunteers help us with the setup, registration and pack down of the event while enjoying the beautiful views around Sydney.

Thank you to all those who have helped out so far, and to those who will be coming to our next events. We look forward to seeing you there.


Volunteer Opportunities in Metro Sydney!

Luca's Treadmill Marathon 2014 at Shelley St

Help us with Outrun Cancer’s Corporate Treadmill Marathon – Friday 18 March

We will be teaming up again with Outrun Cancer for the Corporate Treadmill Marathon! On Friday 18 March, more than 25 corporate teams will be running at various locations in Sydney to complete a marathon with their team and raise funds for cancer prevention, research and support services. We would love your help to have this event run smoothly.

We have various locations in Sydney CBD and in North Sydney. We are looking for volunteers to help between 12.00pm – 5.00pm. You will be in charge of your own treadmill, and help the corporates log their times. Please email , subject line, ‘Outrun Cancer Corporate Treadmill Marathon, Friday 18 March’ if you are interested in helping out.

Our Pink Ribbon Yoga events could use your help!

Pink Ribbon yoga practitioners.

In March, April and May 2016 we will be organising various Pink Ribbon Yoga events around Sydney to raise money and awareness of women’s cancers.

We could really use your help with setting up the event, taking on the day registrations, and packing down.

Please email us on , subject ‘Pink Ribbon Yoga events 2016′ if you can help with any of the following events:

  • Sunday 13 March, Marks Park Bondi Beach, 7.45am – 10.30am
  • Sunday 20 March, Rushcutters Bay Park, 8.15am – 11.00am
  • Wednesday 23 March, Hickson Road Reserve (near Circular Quay), 4.30pm – 7.15pm
  • Sunday 3 April, Mosman Spit Reserve West, 7.45am – 10.30am
  • Sunday 15 May, International College of Management (Manly), 7.45am – 10.30am

Get Involved in the Sydney Relay For Life

RFL Bay Walk Blitzers.

5-6 March 2016, Rozelle

Relay For Life is a unique community festival to raise money and awareness for Cancer Council NSW.

But it’s more than just a fundraising event; it’s a fantastic day with something for everyone and all are welcome!

Come down and enjoy a full program of events at the Sydney Relay For Life 2016: live music and entertainment, kids’ activities and food. How about registering a team and taking turns to walk, jog or run? Your contribution will help beat cancer while you enjoy the amazing atmosphere.

We also have opportunities to volunteer on the day. Help us with event logistics, set up, traffic control, merchandise sales and collection of donations.

For more information visit here , like us on Facebook, or email with the subject line ‘Sydney Relay For Life’, or call 02 9334 1600.

We hope to see you there!

Committee volunteers needed for Sydney Relay for Life 2016

SydneyRelayforLife.120320Do you want to give back to the community and make a difference in the lives of people affected by cancer? Are you looking for a volunteer role that offers you both challenge and reward?

We are seeking dynamic and passionate individuals who can promote, organise, and run the Sydney Relay For Life event to be held on 5-6 March 2016.

Relay For Life is a global phenomenon, and an event like no other. A 24 hour experience of entertainment and activities for all ages and fitness level.

A deeply moving celebration of courage in the face of adversity, and remembrance of those lost.

And an opportunity for individuals and communities to unite for a common cause – to give back and to fight back against cancer.

For more information about these volunteer roles, please contact Becky Dadswell, Community Relations Coordinator at In the email’s subject line: Committee volunteer roles, Sydney Relay For Life.

Alternatively, phone 02 9334 1459. 

The ninth biggest Relay in the world awaits you!

RFLlogo_HopeLivesHere.12055530 April – 1 May, Sylvania Waters

Want to be involved in the ninth largest Relay in the world?

Come down and visit the Sutherland Shire Relay For Life being held on 30 April – 1 May 2016 from 9.15am until 10am at Sylvania Waters Athletics Track.

We’ll have a 24-hour program of events, live entertainment, music, food, kids’ activities as well as a marathon for everyone.

In 2015 the Sutherland Shire Relay saw thousands of visitors on the weekend and raised $470,000 for Cancer Council NSW making it one of the biggest fundraising events of its kind.

If you’re interested in volunteering as part of the planning committee or just want to help out on the day, please email , subject line ‘Sutherland Shire Relay For Life’.

For further information on this event please click here.


Northern NSW


It’s Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea month

Australia's Biggest Morning TeaAustralia’s Biggest Morning Tea is held throughout May, with the official day being Thursday 26 May. The event is so important because we know one Aussie is diagnosed with cancer every five minutes – the length of an average tea break.

In our Region, it is predicted that more than 2,500 people will be diagnosed with cancer this year.

However, now, more than ever, we can all do something to beat this thing, with more than 65% of people diagnosed surviving more than five years after diagnosis.

The best part about Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is that anyone can get involved. You can host at home with friends or family, have a simple morning tea with workmates, or organise something for the community. We have amazing people who deliver food to their friends and family because they can’t commit to holding something at home, we have businesses who have themed morning teas, and schools who hold bake sales

To get involved, visit or phone Sarah on 6639 1303. Once you are registered you will receive a free host kit with fun resources inside like decorations, posters to promote your event, and a booklet full of exciting ideas.

If you can’t host yourself, that’s fine. You can jump online and donate via or you can even buy limited edition merchandise.

Meet the ladies behind the Campaign

georgie repardGeorgie Repard

“I began interning as an Events assistant on Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea Far North Coast region in March.

“I have a Bachelor of Journalism, and recently completed a Masters of International Relations. Before this role, I was working as a researcher for the University of Sydney on two different projects; the first involved researching gender military policy, and the second project focused on researching peace and security challenges linked to quantum technologies.

“My recent career-path alteration is owed in large part to a number of people close to me being affected by cancer. I experienced an overwhelming desire to make a contribution through an organisation like Cancer Council NSW that attempts to ‘beat cancer’ through a holistic approach and forward thinking strategies.

“I believe it is really important for Australia to have a strong civil society, and believe NGOs like Cancer Council NSW are important in providing a broader spectrum of views on different issues, and are essential to agenda-setting and policy development.

“In 2014, I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro as part of a fundraising campaign to raise awareness and funds for the Plaster House, a not-for-profit organisation located in Arusha, Tanzania. Although I had been involved with this organisation for a few years prior to my visit, the experience allowed me a raw insight into the public health system in Tanzania. The exposure intensified my passion in promoting human rights and the fundamental rights of all children. It is probably one of my greatest achievements to date.

“My time with Cancer Council NSW has allowed me the opportunity to understand firsthand the time and energy that is required to enable Cancer Council NSW to do all of the amazing things it does. I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of a motivating and dedicated team at the Byron Bay office.”

jannah millerJannah Miller

“My name is Jannah, and I am an events intern here at the Byron Bay Council office working with a bunch of wonderful, talented and passionate ladies. I was first attracted to volunteering at Cancer Council NSW by a desire to do something meaningful with my spare time, in addition to gaining professional experience towards a career in the not-for-profit sector.

“In the past few years I have completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at Monash University in Melbourne, as well as interning at a variety of not-for-profit organisations. When I am not studying I can mostly be found lounging in the many quaint coffee shops or bars of Melbourne, or frequenting the many vegan restaurants of Fitzroy.  I would describe myself as a compulsive traveller, passionate about all things animal-rights related, coffee addict and adventure enthusiast.

“Since completing my degree I have spent a significant chunk of time in Central America and am hoping to make the move to New York City in the next few months to continue my work within the not-for-profit sector.

“If there is one thing that I have learnt and can take away from my time at Cancer Council NSW, it is the overwhelming sense of unity that exists within communities affected by cancer.  It is truly extraordinary to witness the incredible community spirit ignited in the face of such hardship.”

Another successful year for Tweed Valley RELAY FOR LIFE.

tweed valley RFLThe annual Tweed Valley Relay For Life once again drew a stellar crowd in March. More than 300 participants from 31 teams united to raise more than $56,000.

In the Tweed Valley alone, this means we can continue providing practical support and resources in the oncology unit at The Tweed Hospital, assisting nurses to support up to 200 patients and carers a week.

In addition, we will also be expanding this support into the Murwillumbah oncology unit in the near future.  Continued support towards services such as these has only been made possible through the support of such community events.tweed valley RFL2

Thank you to everyone involved who helped make the events such a great success.


Byron Central Hospital and Cancer Council NSW Information Centre to open next month

information centreWe are very excited that the new Byron Central Hospital is almost open to the public. This month we were fortunate to be part of the Open Day where the public was able to take tours, and see the new facilities available to the community- one being the new oncology ward.

Having an oncology ward within the Byron Shire will mean more patients will have better access to treatment, as they currently have to travel approximately 100km to the nearest treatment centre.

We will be implementing a Cancer Council NSW Information Service within the oncology ward, where our volunteers will support nurses treating patients in the four chairs available across three to four days per week.

We are looking forward to the official opening next month.

Sewing to beat cancer

peel sewing groupRecently the Inspired Peel Sewers Group spent a day at Inala House sewing new table clothes for the dining room and placemats that will be used in the guests bedrooms.  Making Inala House feel a little more like the home away from home we strive for.

The day was organised by one of Inala’s regular volunteers, Judy Scott (pictured with finished table clothes), who is a member of the sewing group. The materials were purchased with “Dry July” funding.

A few of the guests enjoyed talking to the sewing group members, not only about the day’s activities, but other sewing queries they had.  The ladies were very impressed with the facilities at Inala House, and hope to come back to work on another project for the house.

Cancer Information Centre Roaming Volunteers, North Coast Cancer Institute Coffs Harbour

cancer information roaming group picFor the last two months our nine Cancer Information Centre roaming volunteers have provided Cancer Council information and support to over 20 patients daily.

This great team of volunteers have full access to the Cancer Institute, and move between the Chemotherapy Unit, Radiotherapy Unit and the Clinics, talking, listening and supporting cancer patients as well as their carers.

Treatment Centre staff and the Nurse Unit Manager report that knowing Cancer Council NSW Volunteers are there to take just that bit more time with patients and their families is reassuring to them.

The Information Centre Volunteers nicely complement our team of Cancer Council NSW volunteer drivers, who ensure that cancer patients can get to and from the Cancer Institute for treatment.

New faces in the Northern Region

Over the past two months the Northern Region has welcomed three new members to the team.

Hannah Brooks joined the team in Byron Bay as the Community Relations Coordinator, while the Coffs Harbor office welcomed Tim Chapman, our new Community Projects Coordinator, and Leanne Coad, who has taken on the role of Regional Administrator.

The first quarter of 2016 has been a busy time for the Northern Region. Over the past three weeks the Northern Region has hosted its first five Relay For Life events for 2016 in Hastings, Grafton, Tweed Valley, Inverell and the Macleay Valley, along with our first Dancing With The Stars in Narrabri.

While we are still waiting for the official figures to come through, already thousands of dollars have been raised to help fund Cancer Council NSW’s research, prevention and support services.

The success of these events would not have been possible without the support of our volunteers who went above and beyond to plan, manage and host the events, and ensure that the teams and community groups participating had a great time. Thank you to everyone involved.

Over the next two months the Northern Region will host another five Relay For Life events, along with three Dancing With The Stars.

If you’re looking for ways to become involved, we’ve put together a list of our event and programs for 2016 which you can view here.

Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea 2016, shaping up to be a simmering success

ABMT_smallOur beautiful Northern NSW Region is gearing up for a fantastic Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea Campaign this year. You can hold an event any time in May and June, and events can be held at home, in the workplace, or at your community organisation.

If you have already registered to host an Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, you should have received your official Welcome Pack and Host Kit. You will see by the attached photo that we have been hard at work packing and sending these special goodies to you.ABMT packs

It has been an absolute pleasure talking and registering you all this year, and we are so excited to share in this wonderful event with your family and friends.

As you are well aware, Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is more than just a way to enjoy a delicious morning tea break, it’s also a way to contribute significantly in the fight against cancer. Your donations make it possible for Cancer Council NSW to provide support services, advocacy and prevention programs, and of course research, in which we see incredible breakthroughs all the time.

To find out more about Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea or sign up to host an event visit

To register over the phone, please contact Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea Coordinator Sarah Royall on 6639 1303 or email

janelle bloom foodGet inspired & check out this divine mushroom tart recipe from world renowned Aussie Chef Janelle Bloom by clicking here.

We have three absolutely amazing volunteers supporting us behind the scenes with event administration. One of those volunteers, Zonia, comes to us from Melbourne.. But I’ll let her tell you a little more about herself….

Introducing Zonia – Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea Superstar Volunteer

zonia pic“I was living in Melbourne and was searching for a new way of life, and someone mentioned Byron. I came to visit for a few days in June.. and by the time July came I decided to leave my job in the Casino Industry. Six months later I find myself still loving the Byron beach life. So most days you will either find me on the beach, or dancing. Music inspires me.

“I came across the volunteer position for Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea (ABMT) a couple of months ago, not really knowing what it’s all about, spoke to the lovely Sarah, and she had me at ‘Hello’… OK, it was really after our conversation, but she made it sound encouraging as well as interesting, and I’m all about learning about Life and expanding my skills and abilities, most importantly – giving back to the community.

“I’ve been doing volunteer work with the Girl Guides for two years, and I find it fulfilling to contribute some of the knowledge I’ve acquired throughout my life experiences. Being a volunteer with Cancer Council NSW requires more, I would say, ‘big kids’ work that I equally enjoy. So now here I am. Nice to meet you all”.

Meet Nerrida Dean – Cancer Council NSW volunteer making healthy lunchboxes a staple

nerrida deanWithin the Cancer Council NSW, Nerrida Dean is known for her bright smile and incredible can-do attitude. As one of our valued volunteers, Nerrida volunteers as part of our Community Speaker and Eat It 2 Beat It (EI2BI) programs.

EI2BI Nutrition Project Officer Juanita Nantes had a chat with Nerrida to find out what she enjoys most about her role with the Cancer Council.

How did you become a facilitator?

Nerrida: I have been an EI2BI facilitator for over three years. This is a very valuable program to educate parents what constitutes a healthy lunch box.

My generation was responsible for the ‘sometimes food’ becoming staple inclusions in our children’s lunch boxes. We introduced muesli bars, mini packets of chips/biscuits, fruit drinks and fruit straps. Therefore the parents today learnt this was OK.

Juanita: What do you find beneficial about the Eat It 2 Beat It Program?

Nerrida: This program demonstrates valuable hits on how to include healthy variety into our children’s lunches. The support materials that parents take home are an excellent resource that is appealing to both parents and children to have discussions about lunchbox food.

‘Fruit and Vegetable Sense’ sessions provide valuable information about increasing fruit and vegetables into our diets, economical meals, and fussy eaters.

Juanita: What is a highlight of one of your presentations?

Nerrida: Positive responses from parents after sessions make my continuing volunteering in this program an absolute joy.

Those Tough Enough To Wear Pink Raise $4,000

pink toughIn every direction it was Pink, Pink and more Pink!

The annual Tough Enough to Wear Pink rodeo once again brought in the crowds at the Tamworth Country Music Festival on Friday, January 22.

From cowboys, horses and spectators, everyone and everything was accessorized in Pink, all in the name of Cancer.

Pink bras, streamers and balloons filled the arena which was energetically decorated by our avid volunteers including some of the festivals Country Music Queen Entrants.

Through auctions, sale of merchandise, the famous arena blanket drop and donations, the event raised $4000!

Congratulations to everyone who participated, we can’t wait to do it again next year!

Welcome to the Tamworth team, Shanin

Welcome to Shanin Phillis, who has joined the team in Tamworth for 12 weeks as part of her social work degree.

Shanin is helping the Community Program Coordinators with several ‘Tackling Tobacco’ projects, and is also doing a great job putting together some mission activities for our upcoming Relay For Life events.

Lennons Bro. generosity adds $4000 to Relay For Life fundraising kitty

We’d like to say a big thank you to Lennons Brothers Circus who were approached to donate to the Hastings Relay For Life.

They kindly donated 400 tickets for the committee to do with as they pleased. The committee decided to sell the tickets for $10 each and subsequently raised $4,000 towards the Committee Team fundraising efforts.

The committee did an amazing job in promoting this offer and selling out the tickets within a tight time frame.  Thanks must also go to Inner Vision Surf and Skate for acting as a point of sale to the general public.

lennons circus pic



Dancing in the Streets at Tamworth Country Music Festival

dancing tamworth.jpegNot even a torrential downpour of rain could stop the Stars of Tamworth from dancing in the streets when the 2016 Stars of Tamworth was launched at the Country Music Cavalcade in Tamworth on Saturday 23 January.

The handpicked celebrities for 2016 were revealed in front of thousands of Country Music fans, and included Chris Wall from Prime Television, Rebecca Borsech from Boresch Project Services, Daniel Myer from Community Mutual, and Gayle Webb from the Roads and Maritime Services.

Together with the Australia’s top country stars, they danced their way down the main street of Tamworth!

With the help of Dougal and our friends from Relay For Life, Cancer Council NSW’s float was judged Second out of the 102 floats that participated in the cavalcade.

The team were presented with their award at a special ceremony on Thursday 11 February.

Grafton Woman’s brave head shave for her Dad!

head shave1.jpegGrafton’s Justine Webber raised close to $3,000 for cancer support services in the Clarence Valley when she hosted her very own ‘Shave It For Cancer’ fundraiser in January.

Justine made the decision to lose her locks after the death of her father in August 2015.

“Dad was diagnosed with extensive cancer involving his lungs, liver and oesophagus, in September 2014, and was in denial right up until his final admission in to hospital,” Justine said.

“Dad had been a smoker all his life, so it was not a surprise when he was diagnosed, but it was wrenching to watch Mum go through 11 months of seeing her husband of 50 years deteriorate, suffer and then pass away.

“Cancer happened to everyone in the family, not just Dad.”

Justine was joined by two friends, who showed their support by shaving their heads, too!

It was a great day with lots of support from the community for the three ladies who all had close shaves for a cause close to their hearts.

Ghoulish Girls’ Night In

ghoulish girls.jpegVeteran Girls’ Night In host Angela Bramley held her 10th Annual Girls’ Night In in October 2015.

Angela’s themed parties, held in a massive shed on her rural property in Yarravel, are famous in the Kempsey region.

The theme for this party was Halloween. Revelers got down and ghoulish in support of beating breast cancer, and raised a whopping $5,020.

Tough Enough to Wear Pink

In every direction it was Pink, Pink and more Pink! The annual Tough Enough to Wear Pink rodeo once again brought in the crowds at the Tamworth Country Music Festival on Friday 22 January. Cowboys, horses and spectators, everyone and everything was accessorized in Pink, all in the name of Cancer.

Pink bras, streamers and balloons, filled the arena which was energetically decorated by our avid volunteers, including some of the festival’s Country Music Queen Entrants.

Through auctions, sale of merchandise, the famous arena blanket drop and donations, the event raised $4,000!

Tweed Valley Relay For Life – Making a difference to local lives

2016 Tweed Valley Relay For Life is fast approaching. This year the committee have taken the reins and are driving the Relay from the grass roots up. It is a joy to see the Tweed Valley Committee take ownership of a valuable community event which serves as a flagship event for us to communicate our mission in our local areas.

This year the committee are pushing hard to communicate our local priorities, in particular the practical support we provide at the Oncology Unit at The Tweed Heads Hospital.

Trained Cancer Council NSW volunteers provide practical support to up to 200 patients a week going through treatment. In the future we also hope to roll out this service to the Murwillumbah Hospital. These are examples of many valuable local support services benefiting from fundraising raised at Tweed Valley Relay For Life.

Huge thank you to the Tweed Valley Committee for helping us at Cancer Council NSW make a difference in our local communities.

View this video of Tweed RFL 2015 – 

Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea

abmt collage.jpegAustralia’s Biggest Morning Tea (ABMT) is well and truly upon us! Across the Northern NSW Region we plan to recruit and manage at least three interns who will support the overall roll out of the Campaign.

These individuals are generally recruited through our Regional University Partnerships and undertake an experience that benefits their degrees. As such, we work with them to provide a fun learning experience that is mutually beneficial to both them and Cancer Council NSW.

We are incredibly excited to see what this year holds for the ABMT Campaign!

It’s going to be a big one for us, supporting nearly 500 VIP Hosts to the value of $262,552 and overall income of $387,554 (to include ‘non-VIP’ donors).

With the overall State Campaign receiving an increase of 38% to registration numbers last year, we will be providing a VIP experience to many first time VIP’s across the Region.

The hope is to provide high quality support to these individuals to ensure we maintain their engagement in the coming years, eventually building our retention to a target of 70% (we are currently sitting at 53%!)

Community, Action & Hope

Craig Beck.

Introducing Craig Beck, the Chairperson of the Lismore & Villages Relay for Life on a mission to make this year’s Relay one of the best

After losing a brother and three close friends to cancer, Chairperson of the 2016 Lismore & Villages Relay for Life Craig Beck had the desire to fundraise to find a cure for cancer.

With the Lismore & Valleys Relay for Life less than three months away, Mr Beck had a chat to our Community Relations Coordinator Abby Wallace about his experiences as Chairperson so far.

What made you get involved with the Relay for Life committee, and how long have you been a committee member?
Through legendary “Relay” member, Don Whitelaw, I was encouraged to take an active role in RFL a few years ago.

What has been the highlight of your journey with Relay for Life?
The knowledge that everything we do for “Relay” makes a positive contribution to the challenge of beating cancer.

What motivates you to participate in Relay for Life?
Since the sad loss of my brother and three close mates to cancer in the past 7 years, I have had a desire to help fund-raise for a cure

When you think of Relay for Life, what comes to mind?
Community, action and hope.

If you could describe yourself as an animal, what would it be and why?
A dolphin, because I love being in the water and I love my family.

If you could go on a holiday anywhere in the world, where would that be?
East Africa, the world’s largest zoo! I’d also like to take our kids to Disneyland, even at their age.

What do you like about being on Relay for Life committee?
Being part of a team with such a vital, common goal. Our fundraising events are great fun as well.

What is your role?
Incredibly, I hold the position of Chairperson for the 2016 Lismore and Villages Relay for Life.

The 2016 Lismore & Villages Relay for Life will be held on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 April 2016 at Southern Cross University Campus in Lismore! To get involved or to find out more go to:

Christmas cheer aplenty within the North West and New England volunteers

Tamworth Christmas partyIt was smiles and laughs all around when volunteers from the North West and New England region gathered at the newly refurbished CH on Peel hotel for a Christmas lunch and catch up in Tamworth.

Accommodation and Support Services Coordinator Shaen Fraser said the volunteers and all those who attended enjoyed the opportunity to catch up and meet the new people who had recently joined the team.

Congratulations and thank you to all our volunteers who helped make 2015 such a great year. We look forward to working with you in 2016!

Eat It to Beat It Volunteers Make Headlines in Tamworth

Over the past two years more than 2700 families in the North West have taken part in the Cancer Council’s flagship nutrition program, Eat It 2 Beat It (EI2BI).

If you watch NBN North West News, you might have caught a special report by journalist Emily Herbert in December talking about how the EI2BI program is helping families improve their diet and cut cancer risk.

Cancer Council-commissioned research shows that 1/3 of all cancers could be prevented if people ate more fruit, vegetables and fibre.

EI2BI collageWe’d like to say a big thank you to our Community Programs Manager Dimity Chaseling and Volunteer EI2BI Program Facilitator Alexandra Tooth for taking part in the interview and helping us raise awareness for the EI2BI program.  

If you missed the news segment, you can view the story online at the NBN News website by clicking on the following link –


Farewell to our Regional Administrator, Lauren Dale

Farewell to Lauren.


Farewell to Lauren Dale, our wonderful Regional Administrator for Northern Region who works from the Coffs Harbour office.

Luckily we will not lose Lauren from Cancer Council NSW as she is relocating to our Charlestown office and joining the Hunter team (near Newcastle).

Lauren worked with many of our Event Volunteers across the region and we wish her every happiness in her new role.


Southern NSW


The Big Three!

Relay For Life at Southern Highlands, Nowra and Eurobodalla.

Relay For Life is a fun and moving overnight experience that raises vital funds for Cancer Council NSW’s research, prevention, information and support services.

Relay is a chance for communities to recognise and celebrate local cancer survivors, patients and their carers, to honour and remember loved ones lost to cancer, and to raise money to help beat cancer.

Hundreds of Relayers took part and joined one of three Relay For Life events, in the Southern Highlands, Nowra and Eurobodalla, on the weekend of 2 and 3 April.

The combined fundraising efforts of all three events totalled over $366,800!

This tremendous result would not have been possible without the ongoing support and dedication of our Relay For Life Committees.


Southern Highlands Relay For Life

SouthernHighlandsRFL compOver the weekend the Southern Highlands celebrated their 10th Relay for Life at the Moss Vale Showgrounds, with a cake cutting and an overall successful event.

Over 200 people attended the event to show support and solidarity to those who have been touched by cancer, and to raise money to save more lives.

Organising committee member, Jodie Iliani, was overwhelmed by the support from people in the Southern Highlands. “We’ve had a fabulous start to fundraising,” Ms Iliani said.

Campsites were well-decorated in order for teams to express their individual themes, and participants got in to the spirit of the event with costumes.

The event showcased the talents of local performers with musical and dance performances, a school choir competition, and gymnastics demonstrations. Popular activities at the event included the Candle Ceremony of Hope, Miss Relay 2016, and the Survivors Lap.

The Southern Highlands Relay For Life has shown how a community can get together to recognise and celebrate those who have overcome cancer.


Shoalhaven Nowra Relay For Life

NowraRFLPhotos compLong-standing Shoalhaven Nowra Relay For Life Committee Member, Kimberly McMahon-Coleman, has been involved in Relay For Life events for the past 12 years. Kimberly first decided to take part in Relay For Life as she wanted to give back to the people who have helped her through her cancer journey.The Shoalhaven Nowra Relay For Life is over for another year, and what a success it has been.

As a cancer survivor, the first lap of the Relay, the Survivors Lap, is a special experience for Kimberly, one she shares with her kids, who are very proud to walk alongside her. “It gives me chills every year,” says Kimberly.

Relay For Life is an important community event, and it is fantastic to see the number of people who get involved each year.

Each year coming up to the event the Shoalhaven Nowra community gets excited to be able to show their support for those who are receiving ongoing treatment, and remember those who have lost the battle.


Eurobodalla Relay For Life

EuroRFLPhotos compEurobodalla had yet again another momentous and successful Relay, all thanks to wonderful volunteers and teams.

The Eurobodalla Relay For Life trialled a new relay format, having the event start at 2pm on Saturday, going through to 10am on Sunday. This was well received by the community.

Our first lap showcasing our survivors and carers was led by Cancer Council NSW’s great supporters, the CRAB Motorcycle Club.

The event had a health priority, with an amazing interactive health expo being the focus from 3pm to 6pm on Saturday. Kate from Bay Active PT managed to coordinate twelve local businesses that had interactive health activities, where you were able to receive anything from a blood pressure check to a BMI testing.

After the health expo, the event focus moved toward the Hope Ceremony, which was very moving. We had the privilege of Dr Tyson Sheenan inspiring the audience with his personal story.

Our entertainment partner, Tomakin Sports & Social, provided two amazing acts that entertained the crowd until late in the night.


Information Centre volunteers

Astrid and NannetteAn Information Centre is a space in a hospital, usually close by to a treatment ward, where patients, carers or hospital staff can seek information about cancer. They are staffed by dedicated volunteers who work in pairs, in four hour shifts.

The centres aren’t always a hive of activity, they are often quiet places, and demand for the service is unpredictable. Nanette McCann (left) and Astrid Miranda (right), are amazing volunteers who have an incredibly tough job. Every week they patiently await for that opportunity to help someone, and when they do they are a huge comfort to those seeking their support.

As a cancer survivor, Astrid understands the importance of having the right information and assistance.

“We sit in the Centre, and when a patient approaches seeking information we assist in whatever way we can. Sometimes they need a publication, sometimes they need help to research information on the computer, or sometimes they simply just need to talk, so we listen. I enjoy helping people who are going through what I went through, and meeting new friends,” says Astrid.

Just like Astrid, Nanette loves meeting different people and working with her fellow volunteers. As Information Centre volunteers they have had some touching moments.

“One day a little boy’s grandfather passed away whilst he was accompanying him to his treatment at the hospital. I was the person who consoled the little boy, and I felt honoured to be able to help him. I will never forget that,” says Nanette.

We are very lucky to currently have 35 volunteers like Astrid and Nanette supporting this role in the Southern region. Just like all of our volunteering roles, it is such an integral part of our community spirit, and a vital service to those in need.


A day in the life of a Transport Coordinator

WarrenTravelling to and from cancer treatments and appointments can be challenging for many people affected by cancer. Our Transport Volunteers help to alleviate this challenge by offering patients free, reliable transportation to treatment.

As a Transport Volunteer you offer the patient a safe and supportive environment, provide reassurance, build friendships and create opportunities to share experiences. The service is only made possible by our dedicated and caring volunteer drivers like Warren Britten.

Warren actually fills two roles for the Illawarra Transport to Treatment service. He is both a Transport Volunteer and the Illawarra Transport Coordinator.

In addition to transporting patients, Warren also has various responsibilities as the Coordinator. He coordinates the delivery of the service, manages and recruits volunteers, and supports the Community Programs Coordinator in all aspects of the program.

Warren has been a volunteer for the past 16 years in various organisations, an amazing accomplishment. For Warren, volunteering is about what you can give back to others, which for him brings a sense of fulfilment.

“I’ve had a pretty good life. I was in a good position as a marketing manager for a multi-million dollar company and was able to retire at 53. I then started giving back to the community and I think a lot of people should also consider volunteering for something. If you can give even a little bit back, no matter who for or what you do, you’ll get a sense of achievement,” says Warren.

If you would like to learn more about our Transport to Treatment services, or find out how you can get involved, please contact us on 4223 0200.


13th Great Ocean Pool Crawl! 

sou-pool-crawlWhat a great day we all had March 6, raising $18,000.
Thank you to all who took part, hope to see you all next year.
Great Ocean Pool Crawl 2016Phil gets his troops in line! Our biggest year yet!

Nowra Goes Purple

Nowra Purple 2The Shoalhaven Nowra Relay For Life Committee ensured Nowra received a dose of purple power on Saturday February 20, and the community certainly got into the spirit of things as Nowra was turned purple.

Local business helped by encouraging staff to wear something purple, as well as by putting up many balloons and posters in their shops. 

The aim of “Turn Nowra Purple” was to raise awareness of the upcoming Relay and the positive impact that Cancer Council NSW has within our community.

As a result of funds raised from Relay For Life, Cancer Council NSW is able to provide Transport to Treatment for cancer patients via our ‘Patient Transport’ vehicles and our ‘Bay and Basin’ transport bus.

Thanks to Relay For Life, Cancer Council NSW has also been able to partner with AccorHotels to provide reduced rate hotel rooms for cancer patients, carers and immediate family in the Shoalhaven who need to travel to Sydney for treatment.

Without the community support and participation in Relay For Life this as well as other valuable cancer support services would not be possible.

Nowra Purple (002)The 2016 Shoalhaven Nowra Relay for Life will be taking place at Nowra Showground Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 April.

To get involved, please visit or call 02 4223 0200.

Narooma Golf Club Continues Support

Narooma Golf ClubNarooma Golf Club, on the back of their annual golf day, Girls Night In, and Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, jumped at the opportunity to take part in the Men’s 40+ program which encourages recreational male golfers to improve their long game and use sun protection every time they play. 

The program, aimed at men aged 40 to 64 years, offers free information resources on how to reduce their skin cancer risk, and provides sunscreen pump dispensers along the courses.

The Club recognised the Men’s 40+ program as a fantastic opportunity to meet the need of their 1330 plus male members over 40.  The program will see awareness given to not only their list of male members, but also the wider community that visit the beautiful coastal course.

Jessica Croser, Narooma Golf Club Functions Coordinator, said the feedback has been fantastic and many golfers have commented about both the first and ninth tee having sunscreen and a friendly reminder.

“With our annual golf day fundraiser coming up, this initiative is a great way to showcase just one of the many things Cancer Council NSW does within the local Eurobodalla community.

“We hope the message gets out with all the signage that has also been placed around the club,” Ms Croser said.

Queanbeyan Bush Dance

Bush Dance_Star Wars

The Queanbeyan community was treated to some good old fashioned fun on Saturday, 20 February at the Queanbeyan Relay For Life launch.

While the actual relay has been pushed back this year, to be held on the weekend of October 15 and 16, the Bush Dance was held to thank the community for their previous support and get them excited about the upcoming Relay.

More than 150 people, mostly young families, turned out to the Queanbeyan Showground pavilion where they were entertained with traditional bush dances, band and caller as well as a bush poet.

There were also child-friendly activities like face painting and a special appearance from Star Wars 501 Garrison.

Bush Dance_Hay

Thanks to the work of the Queanbeyan Relay For Life Committee, the night was a great success. 

Great Ocean Pool Crawl 2016

One of Illawarra’s favourite fundraisers is back for its 13th year, with the Great Ocean Pool Crawl set to make its’ biggest splash yet in 2016. 

Event organiser, Phil Murray, launched this year’s event at Towradgi Ocean Pool on Tuesday, 16 February.

The local Bevan’s Real Estate agent is looking to make number 13 his lucky number, and hoping that the event will raise $24,000 this year to total over $200,000 raised in the events’ lifespan.

Founded in 2002, the event supports people living with cancer in the Illawarra community, with the funds raised contributing to a variety of local cancer support services such as in-home help and free transport to cancer treatment, as well as prevention programs (SunSound) and nutrition workshops in local schools and communities, along with information and access to free financial, legal and emotional support.

The money staying local is Phil’s biggest emphasis. He says, ‘It’s great to know that the money raised from this event stays within the community I have grown up with, and the services that we support will be available to people that I know.’

This year’s launch saw local sporting heroes take to the pool for a Standup Paddleboard Race, featuring the Wollongong Wolves First Grade Coach Jacob Timpano, former Illawarra Hawks’s player Glen Saville, event organiser Phil Murray as well as local swimmers who regularly frequent Towradgi Ocean Pool.

The Great Ocean Pool Crawl is a family friendly event where locals can swim, snorkel or paddle their way through two laps in seven ocean pools, from Coalcliff to Towradgi, to raise funds for Cancer Council NSW.

To learn more about the Great Ocean Pool Crawl, visit or find us on Facebook (


Greater Western Sydney


Arabic Healthy Lunch Box sessions take off in Western Sydney

Greater Western Sydney’s Eat It To Beat It team is working with Arabic speaking community members such as local dietitian, Reem Bashour, to provide Arabic communities with bilingual Arabic Healthy Lunch Box sessions.Reem Bashour

The latest Arabic Healthy Lunch Box sessions were held on March 1 and 8 at Maronite College of the Holy Family in Harris Park. Reem received rave reviews from both the college staff and attending parents, who described Reem as “fantastic and very informative”, remarking that they “could have gone all day with this session”.

One of the things that Reem discussed is the importance of getting your daily requirement of fruit and vegetable, and some helpful tips on how to achieve it. To increase your daily intake, Reem advised that you can have a piece of fruit, a carrot or celery sticks that can be consumed with humus or labneh dip. This can be easily made at home and packed for children’s lunchboxes to take to school, and for adults to take to work.

Reem has been one of Eat It To Beat It’s biggest ambassadors, engaging the community through interviews on local Arabic radio, and signing up local schools to participate in the program.

arabic story group shotSince June 2015, over 60 parents have been reached through the ‘Arabic Healthy Lunch Box’ session, with more sessions to come.

Reem Bashour is an Accredited Nutritionist and Dietitian. She is the owner, manager and founder of ‘Nutritionally Balanced’, Reem likes to work with community groups, doctors and health centres, and now privately with you and your family too!  She can be reached at 0478 612 228.

Marjorie’s Australia Day Honour

DSC_0332small (2)

Here at the Cancer Council NSW, the generosity of time and spirit of our volunteers never ceases to amaze us.

While the work and contribution of all of our volunteers is deeply appreciated, every now and then a volunteer comes along who provides tireless motivation and reminds us of the reason we dedicate our time to such a great cause.

Marjorie Pettigrew is one such volunteer, and on 26 January, she was presented with the Volunteer of the Year Award at the 2016 Hawkesbury Australia Day Awards.

The awards ceremony is an integral part of the Hawkesbury community’s Australia Day Celebrations, and was attended by the Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Kim Ford, the Hawkesbury Relay For Life Committee, Hawkesbury Cancer Support Network, and Cancer Council GWS’s Community Engagement Manager Programs, Aruni Ratnayake.  

Marjorie is a highly celebrated volunteer, dedicating her time to the Hawkesbury community for more than 10 years, despite her own health struggles.

She has committed an enormous amount of time fundraising for Cancer Council NSW, raising over $30,000 by hosting Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea events, and is the Hawkesbury community’s nominated team leader for Daffodil Day.

She is also a member of the local Volunteer Organising Committee for Hawkesbury Relay For Life on top of co-founding the Hawkesbury Cancer Support Group.

From everyone here at the Cancer Council, “Congratulations Marjorie”!

Hawkesbury Trivia Night

Trivia Night PictureOn Friday 19 February the Hawkesbury community turned out in force for the Hawkesbury Relay Launch Trivia Night, arming their brains with knowledge and their fingers with writing implements (not smartphones).

Over 200 people attended the Trivia Night, making it the biggest Launch event the committee have held. With no more room left in the house, competition was strong and the stakes high.

It was a successful evening thanks to the hard work of the Hawkesbury Relay For Life committee, who brought the event and community together. The importance of continuing to fund Cancer Council NSW and coming together as a community was the central message at the event.

We would like to send our sincere thanks to the committee, who continue to show passion and community spirit in the fight against cancer.

And as a result the committee raised over $3,500 for Hawkesbury Relay For Life at the trivia night.

Come and Relay with us in Greater Western Sydney – RELAY FOR LIFE EVENTS 2016

RFLHey, Cancer Council NSW community, Relay for Life 2016 in your Greater Western Sydney region is just round the corner.

In case you didn’t know, every year over 200 Relay for Life events are run around Australia by Cancer Council in collaboration with local communities to celebrate cancer Survivors and their Carers. No-one should face cancer alone, so whether you’re a Survivor, a Carer, or a Cancer Fighter, getting involved in your local Relay for Life can introduce you to others who are facing similar challenges, and create opportunities for sharing stories, friendship and hope.

We want to start the 2016 RFL season by, firstly, thanking all the people that made the 2014-15 RFL seasons a great success.

THANK YOU to all the Greater Western Sydney committee members, THANK YOU to the on the day volunteers, THANK YOU to the Relayers, THANK YOU to event partners, and THANK YOU to all Cancer Council NSW staff involved in the coordination of the events. “Well done” to you all, and THANK YOU so much on behalf of all the Greater Western Sydney Cancer Council NSW community.

A strong awareness and hope message was shared across the region 2014-15. Many new supporters jumped in the Relay loop and started being involved in the fight against cancer. More than $1,300,000 was raised during the 2014-15 financial year.

We want to do it again, and we want do it together.

Autumn events dates to put down in your calendar are:

  • Penrith (April 2-3)
  • Liverpool (April 30-May 1)
  • Hawkesbury (May 14-15)
  • Hills (May 21-22)

Spring events dates for RFL 2016 at Blacktown, Camden and Fairfield need to be confirmed yet. Stay tuned and regularly check the Newsletter and RFL website if you wish to be involved in any of them.

The Terrific Trio – Chemo Patient Talks at Westmead Hospital

Miriam, Julia, Tracy, Elena

Every week, cancer patients at Westmead Hospital are welcomed by the cheerful faces and understanding ears of Chemo Patient Talk volunteers, Tracy Tran, Elena Cortez and Miriam Moussa. These three women make up a volunteer team responsible for giving practical advice to local cancer suffers by providing Cancer Council NSW information packs, guiding tours of the hospital’s chemo facilities, and facilitating supportive, group talks between patients and pharmacists. 

As a cancer survivor, volunteer Tracy Tran knows first-hand the importance of providing a supportive space where cancer patients and their families can receive quality advice.

“I was so appreciative of the support and information given to me by the Cancer Council that I couldn’t say no to the opportunity to give back and help people who were going through the same thing I went through,” says Tracy.

Between running a business, being a mother and keeping up with her yoga, Tracy facilitates the Chemo Patient Talks at Westmead Hospital weekly, and says that people are always thankful of the work they do and the free information packs they are able to provide.

Tracy’s word of advice for all volunteers, or anyone thinking of volunteering is to just be yourself!

“People are more relaxed when you are able be yourself. I try my best to bring cheer to the people I work with and understanding when they need it too.”

Article by Roseanne Cuschieri.

Tips for managing the side effects of chemotherapy.


Western NSW


Stars of the Border Dance for Cancer

1. Group Photo - Stars of the Border

The 2016 Stars and their Dance Teachers.

On Friday 29 April we had the third ‘Stars of the Border, Dance for Cancer’ take place at the Albury Commercial Club.

A line up of 11 local stars and their teachers, after working tirelessly on their dance routines for eight weeks, took to the dance floor to perform to a sold-out crowd.

The night was a great success with the addition of local dance schools performing a great range of floorshows, and an opening act from the talented singer William Bonnici wowing the crowds. 

This year the support from local businesses and the local stars was remarkable, with Quest Albury coming on board to offer a weekend package that was auctioned during the night, raising $950.


The Judges’ Choice Winners – Tommy Gemmell (representing the Albury Thunder Rugby League Club), and his dance teacher, Angela Jones.

The 11 local stars gave it their all with their fundraising efforts. From abseiling off the top of the tallest building in Albury, hosting trivia and movie premier nights, cooking BBQ’s, organising charity bike rides, auctioning Chris Judd’s signed football boot, and badgering work colleagues and business partners for help in fundraising, there wasn’t much that our 2016 stars didn’t do. With their support we were able to announce a preliminary overall fundraising amount of $54,000 on the night!


Cancer Council Information Centres set for success

CCIC training storyThe Albury and Wagga Wagga Cancer Council Information Centres (CCICs) are set to receive a great new group of volunteers to keep the wheels turning on these great sources of cancer support in the communities.

Quest Wodonga hosted our two day New Volunteer Training program, with Katie Towers and Psychologist Max joining us for the experience.

All the new volunteers agreed how much they learned at the sessions, not just about Cancer Council NSW services, but also about themselves. One volunteer even discovered that a lifelong aversion to role playing was cured!

CCIC training story2

Breaks and lunch offered the volunteers time to mingle and get to know each other whilst enjoying the delectable food offered by Beechworth Bakery (mm mm… Beestings were REALLY popular).

The new volunteers will start working at the CCICs in the coming weeks.

Albury Wodonga CCIC is in the process of moving to a new Cancer Centre over the course of this year, so volunteers could see more and varied opportunities arise to further enrich their volunteering experience with Cancer Council NSW.

Before we know it, we will be gathering again for Refresher Training! Mm mm…more Beestings.

Beechworth Bakery Beestings…for those that have never seen them (where have you been?)


Beechworth Bakery Beestings…for those that have never seen them (where have you been?)


Two volunteer snapshots 

rounded_corners Zac“My name is Zac Trengove, and I have been a volunteer with Cancer Council NSW (Orange office) for 18 months.

“My main role has been assisting the Community Relations Coordinators with organising the Relay for Life events in Orange, Bathurst, Cowra, Mudgee, Parkes and Dubbo.

“I am one of the points of contact with Team Captains, and am partially responsible for issuing team kits and welcome/progress calls.

“I volunteer with the Cancer Council NSW because I have had several people close to me diagnosed with various forms of cancer, and felt that this was one way to help make a difference.

Also, because it is so much fun!”


rachel 1“My name is Rachael Herring.  I have only recently commenced volunteering in the Wagga Wagga office.  I have already been involved with contacting hosts for Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea and Relay for Life participants.

“My daughter (now 34, and the mother of two beautiful healthy children) was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of four.

“I am glad to be able to contribute something back the Cancer Council, NSW.”

Look Good, Feel Better workshop

Look Good, Feel Better (LGFB) is a great program that uplifts not only the faces of those being pampered, but the souls of those experiencing cancer and all which that entails.

LGFB selfie

LGFB occurs every six weeks, all over the country, and world!! Bringing together the lipstick smiles and new hairstyles of those attending the group.

I was able to attend the group as a client, where I was treated like a princess – pampered with makeup skills, ‘one on one’ attention, and surrounded by a friendly environment.

As an intern for Cancer Council NSW, this opportunity really showed me that beauty radiates from the inside out. I found a new appreciation and will definitely encourage others to participate in this program!

The ladies were so willing to engage and try new things, I was encouraged by their beauty, both externally and internally as cancer hasn’t beaten them, because together we will beat cancer.

By Kathleen Gaisford – Community Programs Intern

Orange Australia Day 2016 – Community Group of the Year Awards

Nominees – Transport to Treatment Program Volunteers


I cannot think of a better way to recognise the work of the Transport to Treatment volunteers other than by nominating the team for the 2016 Community Group of the Year Award. The Transport to Treatment Program was established in March 2015 in partnership with the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation, who funded two cars for the program.

Twenty three trained volunteers provide administration assistance and transport to and from cancer treatment and cancer related appointments in Orange. The area serviced by the Transport to Treatment program is anywhere within a 200km radius of Orange.

Our volunteers have come from all walks of life including students, retirees and part-time workers. Volunteers offer their skills, time and expertise to help reduce the impact of cancer in Central West communities.

Orange2The Transport to Treatment Program is a vital support program in the Western NSW Cancer Council Region. Transport issues are among the top three key issues facing cancer patients in the Central West.  Volunteers enable Cancer Council NSW to run this program. Without their assistance this program could not run, and therefore we could not help relieve these transport issues.

To date over 35,000 kilometres have been clocked up on our two cars, with over 95 patients and carers transported. The impact of this assistance cannot be measured or summed up in one word. The cancer journey is a rollercoaster for these community members, and I really believe the Transport to Treatment volunteers contribute to the “ups” of the rollercoaster ride.


It is not uncommon for drivers to be on the road by 7.30am in the morning, picking an eligible client up from say Dubbo, bringing them to Orange for Treatment and then taking them back home again.


‘Improve Your Long Game’ a hit in Wagga Wagga.

Wagga Wagga Country Club has enjoyed its recent commitment to the Improve Your Long Game (IYLG) program on Friday 29 January.

Secretary Manager John Turner was quick to jump on board with over 1,000 members calling the scenic course home.

Marty Jones

The course already offers free Cancer Council NSW sunscreen in its club house, and will now offer free Cancer Council NSW sunscreen at the 1st and 10th holes after signing up to the IYLG program.

The Wagga Wagga Country Club used the opportunity to distribute the 50ml Cancer Council NSW clip-on sunscreen bottles to those participating in the veterans competition on Wednesday 10 February. 

Wagga Wagga Country Club indicated that the IYLG program was the talk of the tournament after the newly erected sunscreen stations caught the eye of those participating on the day.

Meet Megan Blunt

Megan Blunt

Megan grew up on a sheep farm east of Orange in Central West NSW before studying Marketing & International Studies at Wollongong University.

Megan volunteered with Cancer Council NSW as a gift wrapper at Myers last Christmas, and is now helping the Western Region team with Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea activities.

Megan spent her first day contacting VIPs, and pitched in to pack team kits for the upcoming Bathurst and Orange Relay For Life. Megan is with us until the 31st of May, when she will start her career with the Australian Air Force as an Air Operational Intelligence Analyst. Welcome to Cancer Council NSW, Megan.

Chiltern Cancer Cruise

CarsBruce Gibbens was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer in August of 2015, and is currently halfway through his treatment. Bruce has had many friends who have also been affected by cancer, so decided that he wanted to help.

This year, Bruce is organising the annual Chiltern Cancer Cruise, which is a unique event dedicated to the memory of local resident, John Jamison. Participants are encouraged to bring their car or bike and display it on the banks of Lake Anderson – just a short stroll from Chiltern’s historic streetscape.

For those who are spectators, bring along a picnic and make a day of it! This day is all about friendship, with the donations going to Cancer Council. Everyone is welcome!

The event is open to everyone on Sunday 10 April 2016, all day, at Martin Park, Chiltern, Victoria

Preparing to Dance for Cancer

The committee for ‘Stars of the Border, Dance for Cancer’ are back in action getting ready for the much anticipated event to be held at the Albury Commercial Club on Friday 29 April 2016.

This year’s committee was fortunate enough to have four members return for another year – Paula and Lisa Thompson, Leanne Bensley and Donna Caroll.  We have also welcomed our newest member – Caitlin Clarke, who brings a wealth of dancing and local knowledge to the team.

Stars of the Border, Dance for Cancer would not be possible without the support and local knowledge of these wonderful ladies, and we can’t thank them enough for their support and time dedicated to putting on the event.

We all look forward to ‘shaking it like a polaroid picture’ on 29 April along with our line-up of 12 local stars and guests!

Mudgee aims even higher in 2016

Committee Photo at LaunchThe town of Mudgee together with the Western Region office is gearing up for what is set to be another huge Mudgee & District Relay For Life on Saturday 30 April at Victoria Park.

The local committee absolutely smashed their fundraising target in 2014, raising over a whopping $165,000 for a town of just around 10,000 people, and did so in some of NSW’s worst weather conditions with freezing winds and driving rain and hail. This simply demonstrates the strength and spirit of the Mudgee community.

Due to the funds raised by the generous Mudgee community, Cancer Council NSW has been able to deliver cancer prevention and support services including Eat It to Beat It at both primary schools, Sun Sound, Sun Smart, the Transport to Treatment program, training of local support group leaders, and coming up on 14 May, Cancer Council NSW will be delivering Living Well After Cancer.

More recently, the Mudgee Golf Club has signed up to the new sun protection campaign – Improve Your Long Game – which will be running through the month of February just in time for the Celebrity Golf Classic competition hosted by NRL legend Peter Stirling on 5 February.

Mudgee is also home to our wonderful MP Liason officer Melanie Trethowan, who works together with Cancer Council NSW to advocate for improved cancer services via NSW Deputy Premier, Troy Grant MP.

So there is a lot happening this year for the Mudgee district, and we wish the Relay For Life volunteer committee all the best in their efforts for this year’s event – helping to ensure that relevant cancer services and programs are continuing to improve local health outcomes for now and into the future.

Giving all year round

Fiona (5)As we know Christmas is about giving – but not just expensive gifts for friends and family. The staff from the Orange team of Western Cancer Council NSW know this “giving” is what their wonderful volunteers do for the team and the broader community all year round.

To celebrate the wonderful work and achievements, an end of year Christmas afternoon tea celebration was held on Monday 21 December.

The afternoon was spent laughing, and interacting with each other – it’s not all that often our volunteers get the opportunity to chat to one another and share their stories.

A huge “Thank you” to all involved, and we look forward to working with our amazing team of volunteers throughout 2016.

Fiona (1)


Fiona (3)






Derek Wells  –  Cancer Council NSW Volunteer

Derek WellsI wandered into the Orange Cancer Council Office around August 2014 after it was mentioned at our Prostate Support Group that they were looking for volunteers.

I started with a bit of car cleaning, but quickly got involved with the Orange “Transport to Treatment” (T2T) program in its embryonic stages, and carried that through until the launch in February 2015.

I’m still very much involved with T2T, both driving and behind the scenes, plus I jump in wherever else I can help.

Currently assisting with the “Healthy Sports Initiative” with a Bathurst Junior Cricket Club, and “Improve Your Long Game”, which is about to tee off at Wentworth Golf Club in Orange.

I am also a volunteer with the “Cancer Connect” telephone Peer Support Program out of the Sydney Office.


Hunter Central Coast


Style all the way for our VIPs!

vip carJayne and Sarah, from the Erina Fair office, treated a group of Central Coast volunteers and key stakeholders to a visit to Sydney for an Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea event at Luna Park.

They travelled in style in a fabulous stretched Chrysler, entertained with the latest tunes, disco lights, and a Cancer Council NSW quiz complete with prizes. Central Coast then walked away with most of the lucky door stakes at the event, with six of ten guests taking home prizes.

Overall everyone had a great day out with some fantastic feedback received.

 “Hanging out with you lot, then a motivational opening, was a great experience and I look forward to doing something similar with you soon. Thanks Sarah and Jaynie for spoiling us!” said Alan Phillips, Central Coast Patron


Singleton Volunteers get the VIP treatment

singletonvolunteersA group of our dedicated Upper Hunter volunteers had the VIP tour of Head Office with Glen Parsons last week, and attended the Research Awards at Barangaroo.

They heard from Program Managers at Head Office about the work we do, met with Jim and Merewyn, and even had a sneak peak on the roof at Woolloomooloo!

It was a great way to keep them connected with our broader work across the state, and when Adam Spencer made special mention of our inaugural office volunteer, Margie Mitchell, it made her whole year!


Palliative Care

Our new Palliative Care Volunteer Service, coordinated by Tina Pidcock, is off to a fantastic start with five dedicated volunteers recruited, and a roles-defining Memorandum of Understanding in development with the Calvary Mater Newcastle Palliative Care service and Hospice.

Tina was a star media personality on ABC Radio recently, talking up the benefits of the service. No wonder Hunter New England Local Health District have just committed a further $60,000 funding for the service.

Read more on this story here.


Grants awarded in Newcastle

University of Newcastle (UoN) researchers, as reported in a previous Regional News,  most recently including Professor Xu Dong Zhang, and Professor Philip Hansbro , continue to win funding from Cancer Council NSW.

Christine 175x175Additionally, Associate Professor Christine Paul has been awarded a grant to investigate how to best identify callers to 13 11 20 who are experiencing emotional distress.

UoN is now the second highest funded institute by Cancer Council NSW, and we’re more than a little proud of our local University.

We have Research Breakfasts booked in for July and December to engage our key supporters in this work. Read more here.


Stars of Newcastle officially launched

stars of the east What a line-up of stars this year in Newcastle! Our stars were VERY excited at the official launch this week, and already have a calendar of fundraising events organized.

Check out the NBN News piece here.




Beating Cancer, one event at a time

IMG_7254Event volunteering is an ideal way for busy people to volunteer, with many opportunities offering short-term or one-day commitments. From local community fairs, fun-runs and arts festivals, to glamorous dancing events, there are volunteer opportunities to suit every interest, skill and availability.

Volunteers are involved in many aspects of events, including fundraising, marketing, pre-event administration, participant bag packing, assisting with set up and pack down, registrations, conducting raffles and photography.

Always ready to get their hands working, the Hunter Central Coast Event Volunteers have recently been involved in:

King of the Ranges in Murrurundi. This was Cancer Council NSW’s first time being part of the event with our staff and volunteers running the entry gate for the three days. 

IMG_7175Stars of the Central Coast, with $130,000 raised.




Ambassadors Morning Tea

IMG_1863Central Coast Ambassadors came together recently for a morning tea and an opportunity to learn more about what is involved in working with the media and with Cancer Council NSW as an Ambassador.

Guest speakers were invited from the local radio and newspaper who spoke on what you can expect when interviewed by a print journalist or for the radio. Alan Phillips, Central Coast Patron, then spoke about his involvement with Cancer Council NSW and his role as the local patron.

It was a really great day enjoyed by all that attended, including the speakers. In the future we have training planned on ‘How to Talk About Your Personal Story’ and ‘Presenting to an Audience for the First Time’.


Lake Macquarie Cancer Information Centre

HunterCancerCentreOur new Cancer Council Information Service at Lake Macquarie Private Hospital has been operating since the middle of last year, and is a great local partnership with this cancer treatment hospital.

Our volunteers are based in the Day Oncology Unit on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, where patients have chemotherapy, and they are available by health professional referral to the oncology surgery wards and Genesis Cancer Care where radiation therapy is given.

They work alongside the staff to provide social support to cancer patients and their carers, as well as referrals to our information and supportive care services when appropriate.

Four more volunteers are being trained in early March to allow us to extend the service to a Monday morning as well.

So far the volunteers involved in the service are finding the role to be enjoyable and very rewarding, as they feel their interaction with patients and carers is making a difference in positive ways in their lives.

To find out more about volunteering for this service, please contact Dana Buzinec, Community Programs Coordinator in the Newcastle office, phone 4923 0705.

$4.4 million in funding to improve cancer care and prevention

Two Hunter-based research teams from the University of Newcastle and Hunter New England Health have scored $4.4 million in Cancer Council NSW funding to improve cancer service and prevention delivery.

Prof Rob Sanson-Fisher AOLaureate Professor Rob Sanson-Fisher AO, head of the University of Newcastle’s Health Behaviour Research Group and co-leader of HMRI’s Public Health program, receives $2,234,525 over five years to investigate the quality of care and information that patients receive, aiming to lessen the emotional burden.

Professor John Wiggers from the HNE Population Health unit and the University of Newcastle has been granted $2,203,986, also over five years, to run a community-based study aimed at reducing primary risk factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor nutrition and obesity.

Cancer Council NSW announced the funding during a research forum at Merewether late November 2015 as part of their 2016 program grants, which has provided almost $9 million to NSW researchers.

Laureate Professor Sanson-Fisher believes there is currently a gap between care delivery and patient expectations at cancer clinics around the State.

“Many of the cures we’re currently thinking of might take anywhere from between five to 20 years to be available, so for all those people undergoing cancer treatment we should be trying to make their life, and their quality of life, better,” Laureate Professor Sanson-Fisher said.

“A simple example is whether or not people are being told their diagnosis in a way they can remember and understand, and which gives them a good estimate of how long they’ve got – most patients feel this is important but there’s data suggesting it’s not the information they’re getting.”

The project will bring together a multidisciplinary team from the University of Sydney, Calvary Mater Newcastle and HMRI.

The funding will also allow Professor Wiggers to work with schools, child-care providers, medical practices and sports clubs, along with policymakers from the NSW Government and Cancer Council, to better integrate well-proven prevention programs.

“Our aim is to improve access to interventions which help people reduce their cancer risks,” Professor Wiggers said. “Unfortunately there is little evidence about the best mechanisms to achieve that goal.

“The project builds on extensive research by our group but we’re proposing new initiatives that improve accessibility for the community.”

Read more here.

Surviving tongue cancer

Peter Kempe, cancer survivor.

We all put off that trip to the dentist, but for 54 year old Peter Kempe, that delay was almost fatal.

After three months of feeling a lump on his tongue, Newcastle Dad Peter Kempe finally rang the dentist. Within a week, he was having surgery for tongue cancer at John Hunter Hospital.

It was a major procedure that had complications and he almost died on the operating table.

But Peter survived, and now he is rebuilding his health and his life.

Read the rest of this story where it was originally published, here, where you can also listen to Peter talking about his before and after cancer experiences.