Johns: Huge year for foundation
Long-time Horsham and regional advocate Don Johns has described the 28th year of Wimmera Health Care Group Foundation as one of the organisation’s most profound 12 months of operation.
Mr Johns, who has been foundation chairman for every year of its existence, said construction of a $3.5-million Wimmera Cancer Centre in Horsham, scheduled to be finished by the end of this year, represented a combination of community commitment and strategic direction.
He said on his return to the chairman’s position that getting the cancer centre from an idea to reality was Horsham’s greatest project and the foundation was delighted to be at the coalface.
“The foundation has done a brilliant job in the last few years. We are absolutely delighted the cancer centre is on its way and will hopefully be built by the end of the year,” he said.
“The reaction from the general public to the appeal has simply been outstanding. We are delighted and proud.”
The centre was the brainchild of the foundation as a way to improve Wimmera cancersupport services.
The new centre will incorporate oncology, dialysis and community palliative-care services.
Wimmera Health Care Group provides oncology services but demand for cancer services has steadily grown during the past decade, highlighting a need to dramatically improve infrastructure and facilities.
The Wimmera community has raised more than $1-million through a Rachael’s Wish Appeal to match federal and state government funding.
The community figure, still growing, is now $1,163,449.
The health-group foundation, which only uses interest from all capital it generates to fund projects, hopes to have an investment pool of $2-million by 2020. It already has well over $1-million.
The organisation’s strong position has led to it increasing its five-year annual contribution this financial year for the cancer centre from $50,000 to $75,000.
This year’s contribution brings the foundation’s overall centre funding so far to $210,000 – on track to easily surpass a minimum overall commitment of $250,000.
Mr Johns stressed everyone who had supported and continued to support the foundation and the cancer centre project needed to be thanked.
“The amount of community spirit and support has simply been mind-boggling,” he said.