Cup­cakes sweeten a tough load

Ip­swich not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion doing its bit to make life bet­ter for can­cer suf­fer­ers


ONE lo­cal char­ity im­pact­ing the lives of peo­ple in our city who have been di­ag­nosed with can­cer has of­fered QT Mag­a­zine an in­sight into the work of its vol­un­teers.

In 2009, a group of women gath­ered to pro­vide sup­port for a friend who had been di­ag­nosed with ter­mi­nal can­cer. Since then, the women have founded the not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion Shell’s Team Cup­cake.

Those women are cur­rent Team Cup­cake pres­i­dent Janette Cz­er­nia, sec­re­tary Anne Wright, trea­surer San­dra Bay and vice-pres­i­dent Car­men Wo­j­ci­cki.

“It all be­gan when we were try­ing to help our friend Shelly, who had been di­ag­nosed with ter­mi­nal can­cer,” Janette said.

“The goal was to sim­ply make her life a bit more com­fort­able for a mum with young kids and help get some money in the bank for them.

“Sadly, she passed away, and it was dis­cussed about do­ing some­thing to con­tinue the work for other peo­ple in the same sit­u­a­tion across the Ip­swich area. So, Shell’s Team Cup­cake was born.”

From movie nights to bingo games, to golf days and char­ity trivia nights, the women at Team Cup­cake are tire­less in their ef­forts to raise money for peo­ple.

“Ini­tially the goal was to raise money for mums who need help deal­ing with can­cer and to help them con­nect with peo­ple who can help them at such a dif­fi­cult time,” Janette said.

“There is govern­ment help but it’s not im­me­di­ate. Centrelink can take up to 26 weeks to get fund­ing to you and we help fill that gap in be­tween.

“Peo­ple are sick, their life has changed overnight, and they are then fac­ing weeks, months with no job, no money and lit­tle as­sis­tance.

“We’ve had over 100 re­fer­rals since June last year. Each fam­ily has a dif­fer­ent need. Some need a bas­ket of food, oth­ers need help with get­ting to treat­ment, clean­ing, rental con­tri­bu­tions. There are so many ways they need help.”

In recog­ni­tion of the work they do, The Queens­land Times re­cently made a dona­tion of $2500 to as­sist, and it’s money well spent.

“It’s how we re­spond to the call for help that is unique each time,” Janette said.

“A $50 ham­per on the ta­ble can make a world of dif­fer­ence. Just to have a chat and see how they are go­ing. Of­ten peo­ple with an ill­ness just need an out­let.”

San­dra said she had been very lucky in life and this was her way of giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity.

“One of the things we do is cook food for fam­i­lies,” she said.

❛❛ A $50 ham­per on the ta­ble can make a world of dif­fer­ence. Just to have a chat and see how they are go­ing. Of­ten peo­ple with an ill­ness just need an out­let.”

— Janette Cz­er­nia

“I will spend all day cook­ing and my long-suf­fer­ing hus­band will drive me to de­liver them. It’s some­thing I like to do.

“Janette is the pow­er­house, she is or­gan­is­ing fundrais­ers, movie nights and we all do what we can. “We all know some­one we’ve lost to can­cer.”

One of the projects the team is in­volved in is Meal Train, a web­site that be­gan in the US where you can reg­is­ter to de­liver meals to some­one in need.

“I know of peo­ple who have had some­one rock up with meals that they’ve never met,” Janette said.

“It doesn’t have to be a big meal.

“If you’re mak­ing pasta, make some ex­tra and put it in a take­away con­tainer.”

The team also gets sup­port from other lo­cal groups. “We get great sup­port from other com­mu­nity groups like the Swichettes, and what has been so well re­ceived is that hos­pi­tals are now com­ing to us,” Anne said.

“There are peo­ple who need to go to the PA Hos­pi­tal for treat­ment and can’t get there. They can’t af­ford pub­lic trans­port so they miss the treat­ment.

“It’s the def­i­ni­tion of a bro­ken sys­tem that a char­ity has to step in for this.

“There is help, but you have to meet so much cri­te­ria it’s ridicu­lous. The sys­tem is aw­ful, but Team Cup­cake can help where we can.”

■ To vol­un­teer or as­sist, search for Shell’s Team Cup­cake on Face­book or email team­cup­


HELP­ING HANDS: The ladies from Shell's Team Cup­cake ahead of one of their fundrais­ing movie nights.


The team from Shell's Team Cup­cake with So­nia and Kelly (see over the page for their story).

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